Moving a settled swarm in winter

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New Bee
Jun 24, 2010
Reaction score
Hive Type
Due to my inattention I have found that a swarm has moved in - some months ago - into a stack of stored supers. They're about 150m from the apiary.

I've never moved bees in winter, rehoming them too. I wondered if, since they are clustered, whether they can be moved ignoring the 3m/3mile rule, I guess adding some syrup which is added whenever there is any doubt?

Annoyingly there is a lure hive all set up about 1m from the super-stack and they decided against.

So, they need to go into a hove and for the hive to move.

Is the fist step to get them into the lure hive which is nice and nearby? I haven't moved an established swarm into a nice hive before - so not sure where the swarm-supers need to be put to get the bees to move into the deep frames.

A bit messy - what's the best approach?


If we get a prolonged spell of cold you could gently move them into your desired position without breaking up boxes. Then in spring transfer, try and seal up for the move so none come out and get lost!
moving them into a new hive (especially as you will also be changing from shallow frames to deep) is something best left until the spring when the bees are once again active.
The only thing I would do now is perhaps move the stack of supers to the final location of the colony - but only if you can move it without breaking up the stack.
As above, maybe move (very gently) if a long cold spell, so they reorientate when they become active again.
Do you know where in the stack the cluster is? If at the bottom of a large stack you might remove empty supers from the top until you get to stores or cluster, then add a crown board (maybe some fondant if stores uncertain) & some insulation on top.
If a large stack this might make moving them during a cold spell more practicable.
If able it may be better to wait until spring, especially if you can move them several miles for a while & then back to the apiary.
I would leave them well alone until the warmer weather arrives then work out what they are actually occupying and take it from there. If you search the forum myself and others have successfully moved colonies short distances so it's not the biggie some of the books make out.


Latest posts