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Moving 2 WBC hives this weekend - a plan

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RoseCottage 

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So I have a plan for the next weekend, when we intend to move our girls...All comments on the plan are welcome (we all know about best laid plans)

Tuesday to Thursday

Remove Supers and spin all honey.
There are 3 on one and 2 on the other hive.
Replace a single Super onto each hive so that the girls can sit comfortably.

Friday afternoon

Replace Crown Boards with Travel Screens and secure these down with Gaffa tape.
The travel screens have been bought from Thornes and are meshes to allow ventilation.

Friday evening around 8 pm

Visit the hive and remove all the lifts including the lift with the porch

Install a wood entrance block and gaffa tape this in place to the floor and the Brood Box.

Saturday Morning

Arrive early (for me that's around 8.30 - I know I am a lightweight!)

Strap up the hives as securely and with Wife and friends manhandle the hive floor, Brood Box and additional Super onto a trailer.

Carefully take the hives the mile or so to their new location.

Place an obstacle in front of each hive about 2 feet away (at the moment this is likely to be some old fencing or branches

Open the hives up and replace the lifts on them, add an additional Super for sitting space and replace the crown boards

From the stronger colony Remove two drawn frames (probably just with stores on) from the Brood Chamber and place these into the third hive which is sitting where the other two hives originally sat.

Place an entrance block in the new hive to reduce the chance of unwanted store thefts.

Leave them alone for 24 hours

Sunday Morning
Check the third hive to see how many bees have returned to the old site.

If necessary move all returned bees into the weaker of the two colonies (not sure how yet..?)

Repeat this each evening for two or three days.


So there you have my plan, is it OK?

All the best,
Sam.
 
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You might find them still flying at 8 pm if it is a warm evening. I would prefer to block them up in the morning. As they are in the garden have a look at say 7:30 tomorrow morning and see if there is any activity. I suspect they will still be a-bed but if not you'll know to get up earlier the next day!
 

admin 

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My tip from experience of moving WBC hives is to put the straps on the day before,do them up hand tight,dont worry about the one going across the entrance front to back the bees will ignore it.

That way all you have to do is tighten the straps down on the day of the move rather than tip the hives to get the straps under,the girls will thank you for it.

I use a piece of foam pipe laggin from B&Q to block the entrances.

Remember to face the hive so frames don't swing when you brake and accelerate.

Have a large sheet available under the hives in the car incase they escape,you can then just wrap the hive up.

Travel with your suit on if you can as it gives confidence(Dont forget to unzip the hood LOL).
 

Adam 

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Carefully take the hives the mile or so to their new location.
Even with your best endeavours on a nuc on the original site, the distance is too short. I'd move them to another location, greater than 3 miles for 4 weeks until they "forget" their old location, then move them to the new location.

This time of year is close to the peak hive numbers, with a huge number of foragers and it not the time to try and do moves within foraging distance. I'd suggest thousands of bees will return, and taking the remnants for weeks is no answer. You'd be better off finding a beekeeper in your club that can temporarily host them. I've done this myself for friends hives. I strongly suggest you don't try a move under 3 miles at this time of year.

Adam
 

Onge 

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Poly Hive 

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I am not going to comment on the distance aspect but I DO think that your shut in time is unrealistic. I would either shut them it after flying finished at night, say 11pm. I kid not yes.

Or get out of bed at 2am and shut in then. I kid not.

With ventilation above they will be fine, I have sent hives to Shetland before with travel screens and they arrived none the worse for three days shut in.

PH
 

Adam 

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I'd suggest thousands of bees will return, and taking the remnants for weeks is no answer.
Worse still, if you are trying to dump thousands of bees daily, or weekly back into the original hives, they'll be in danger of considering themselves queenless and may go on to kill the queen in which ever hive you dump them into. Sorry, but I think your plan is fundamentally flawed. The securing for transportation bit looks OK, although I'd do it earlier ~5.30am. Bees will be actively flying at this time of year by 8.30

If early morning is difficult, I'd do it in the late evening.

Adam
 

tonybloke 

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some bees start flying about 6-ish in the mornings, so go with PH's early-o-clock advice!
 

RoseCottage 

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Thanks for your comments on my plan (I wish it was cunning). There seem to be two main views coming through...

1. I am lazy (I need to set my alarm to get up waaaayyy before the girls) ;)
2. I am lazy and stupid for wanting to move without doing a 3mile plus month away intermediate step.:redface:

Well not exactly as forthright as that but in the general direction..:willy_nilly:

You are probably right on both sets of views...but this was my logic:

1. I thought that the girls didn't really start flying till mid morning (someone told me that the tempreature needed to be about 12-15 degrees and the sun hitting the hive).

So thank you I will be taking this onboard and closing them in much earlier say 5.30am


2. The distance of the move.
I was talking to my association chairman yesterday about placing the girls in the Association apiary on Saturday and we got talking about doing the direct move...what conditions, what negative effects, and the like.

He told me of a member who regularly moves his hives around his large garden without too much trouble. He described how the girls would be moved, some return to a nuc on the old site, be moved again, and then in a few days all would have re-orientated themselves. After discussion he recommended that I do the 1 mile move and see how it went.

In my favour I have a third perfectly formed but empty hive. He said put a couple of drawn brood frames in this on the old site and it would be a gathering point for any girls who made it home. Then shake them into the weaker of the two hives (treating them like a swarm).

Between the two locations are about 600 yards of woods, 3 large fields, a smaller spinney, and the orientation of the hive is 180 degrees from the old hive. He thought if we put some obstacle in-front that we could force most girls to re-orientate and that the travellers would likely be quite small.

So it was on that basis that I thought I would try the move. I am still undecided at the moment.

What do you think is the worst possible outcome, and how likely do you feel it will be?

Again thanks for your thoughts and especially those other tips of how to do the move (in suit, with sheet, etc)

All the best,
Sam.
 

RoseCottage 

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Well we executed the plan today. Hard work. Not moving the WBC hives but all the associated equipment we had at the hive location - 12foot heavy bench etc.

Prepped them yesterday evening by taping up supers and brood together, putting on the travel screens, and removing lifts.

This morning at 5 closed them in with foam. Removed the roof and then went home for a couple of hours so as not to disturb the Orchard owner.

Then it started raining! So we had to race back up to them and put the roofs back on for an hour or so.


About 10 we put them into the trailer along with all the other equipment and drove them real slow to their new position.

Prepared the site and disocovered that there is a 5 metre 300 yard strip of large 'daisies' just about to flower outside their front door. Soooh happy with that. They may actually be out tomorrow or the next day.

Placed the girls on their bench and started to remove the various bits of tape intending to leave the girls in for a couple of hours to let them calm down. Sadly some tape came off and one of the hives exploded out. We had to run! But we were quicker than Usain Bolt and didn't take any stings to the skin - about 10 on the gloves and hat/veil though.

Left them a couple of hours and went and finished the job when they were calmer. When we let them out they were fine and non aggressive.

We cut some leaf laden branches and placed them away from the hive but leaning against the top of the front so that the girls have to navigate through them to fly and hopefully this will push them up and help to re-orientate them.

Placed a nuc box on one old position and an empty hive in the other. At the end of the day there were around 100 bees around the old box but most of these were bees that had been there all day. They had been under the hive over night.

Tomorrow is a big day. This is when we see just how many (tens, hundreds, or thousands) return to the original position. Luckily I am working from home.
I intend to improve the obstacle in-front of th girls to force them higher and also to give them a quick weekly inspection.

If there are thousands and thousands then we will come up with plan B which is a little unsure just at the moment (but may include a second move to a location 3+ miles away).


Anyway, thanks for your thoughts I will let people know what happens in-case our experience helps inform somebody else's approach.

All the best,
a very tired,
Sam.
 

RoseCottage 

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Early Results of the move are in...
AFTER 24 HOURS
At the old hive location:
One hive has between 500-600 bees in empty hive
One hive has about 60 bees

New hive location:
Two docile colonies of bees and all appearing normal and busy.

So do people think that new foragers numbers should decline in the coming days?
We are planning to deal with the holidaymakers at the end of the week by running them.into their hives on the new site, or shaking them if numbers stay low.

All the best,
Sam
 

RoseCottage 

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So I have left off returning the bees each night as there are so few of them. I am a week on and have about 600 to move this weekend. A success. So thank you for your help everybody,
Sam
 

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