New beekeeper looking for advice on transporting bees....

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AlexF

New Bee
Joined
May 3, 2024
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Location
South Wales
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Hello,

I am a long-time 'might-get-bees'er, finally getting my first hives and bees this week after completing a course with my local association here in Wales.

Another member of the association is looking to sell their two hives as they're giving up beekeeping, and I've jumped at the chance. However, I am concerned about how best to transport the bees. They're two healthy, established colonies and the current plan is that they will close the entrances at night and I will collect them first thing in the morning to move.

However, I'm not sure whether I should be trying to rent a van/borrow a trailer, or whether I will be okay with two WBC hives in the boot of my car...! Size isn't the issue as I can fit them, I'm more concerned about whether this is a safe method of transport for both myself and the bees.

How have others moved established colonies before? Am I overthinking this? :rolleyes:

Thanks in advance!
 
The vital thing is that they should be tightly strapped, preferably using two of the ratchet-type straps in parallel rather than at right angles to each other. Check the entrances are securely closed (I use foam strips). I'm assuming the above is practicable with WBCs (my hives are Nationals). Wear your bee suit in the car!!
Years ago my two hives travelled safely in a removal van from Hampshire to Cheshire!
Good luck.
 
hives should be placed in the car so that the frames are aligned with direction of travel (not perpendicular). This reduces frame movement and the chance to squash bees. don't move with the lifts on and strap brood / supers to base directly. they are bulky and will allow boxes to move during transit, so releasing bees if used to secure directly. Assuming picked up first thing, a short journey, the weather is not hot and they are on an open mesh floor they should be fine. even without an OMF, if other conditions are OK should be fine.
 
Also make sure they have ventilation. An open mesh floor sat on a soft surface which conforms around it does not count. Have it on a hard surface. If they're on solid floors then you need some sort of mesh over the top box instead of a cover board and lid.
 
Also make sure they have ventilation. An open mesh floor sat on a soft surface which conforms around it does not count. Have it on a hard surface. If they're on solid floors then you need some sort of mesh over the top box instead of a cover board and lid.
WBCs bases have legs
 
I reckon whoever originally said that hives should be placed in the vehicle with frames aligned in the direction of travel had never seen they way people take corners around here.

James
some people have no consideration for passengers :LOL:
 
two WBC hives in the boot of my car
Not a chance.

1 How many boxes for each hive?
Remove the roof and measure the hives.
2 Are the WBCs on open mesh floors?
If on OMF, half an hour early in the morning should be fine.
If on solid floors, travel screens will be needed no matter the length of journey.
3 How long is the journey?
4 Strap the hives to the vehicle, or wedge with spare boxes, small pallets or similar.
5 Drive with windows open; hire a small van through which air can flow.
6 Prep the day before: remove roof & lifts, put on the travel screen, strap the lot to the floor; put the roof back on loosely overnight, but travel with it off the hive.
7 Block the entrance first thing; what will you use? Duck tape is no good because damp will not allow it to stick; if it does stick, bees will glue to it. I use grass: fold it so that it expands when wedged in the entrance. Work quietly to prevent investigation by bees.
8 Bees may have clung to the underside of the floor; ignore them.
9 When driving, bees may fly about; ignore them. They will go for the light and ignore you.
 
WBCs bases have legs
When I moved a WBC I removed the lifts and roof and transported them separately. There was a glass quilt, two brood boxes but no supers - I replaced the quilt with a travel screen but the floor was a pain - it was an old WBC and there were gaps in the solid floor the bees could get out of ! I ended up putting a solid crownboard under the stack and strapping it together. At least I didn't have to worry about blocking up the entrance and it was a lot easier to move the boxes without the stand/floor. I'd probably do that now if I was doing it again - they are a bit of an ungainly lump to move about.

Best advice - strap them up more than you think is necessary ... if you have a second pair of hands to help and a trolley or barrow it's going to be a lot easier. If you are not happy with how it's going then step away and postpone until another day - perhaps do one hive at a time to see how it goes.

I'm a little concerned about the comment that ' "They" will close the entrance up'. I'd want to be there and to do things my way - it's going to be you in the firing line if what they envisage for transporting them all goes South ...

Good luck ...
 
Well, I've moved many thousands of hives into apples or amongst my apiaries. I like to move in the early morning after they have cooled off overnight. Early on, I took over-the-top precautions to confine the bees to their hive so I could "safely" move them. I found rather soon that once you screen the bees in, they only want to find an exit. I finally stopped screening them in. Instead, I smoke the hive entrance, load the hive on the truck, smoke, move into position, smoke. Leave the vehicle running...the vibrations help keep the bees in. Repeat with each hive until load is full, or the few hives are on the truck/trailer. Smoke the hives and tie down. Unloading is the same in reverse.
 
Well, I've moved many thousands of hives into apples or amongst my apiaries. I like to move in the early morning after they have cooled off overnight. Early on, I took over-the-top precautions to confine the bees to their hive so I could "safely" move them. I found rather soon that once you screen the bees in, they only want to find an exit. I finally stopped screening them in. Instead, I smoke the hive entrance, load the hive on the truck, smoke, move into position, smoke. Leave the vehicle running...the vibrations help keep the bees in. Repeat with each hive until load is full, or the few hives are on the truck/trailer. Smoke the hives and tie down. Unloading is the same in reverse.
Let's hope our new beekeeper, with two WBC hives, to move leaves it a few years before he does it your way Mike !! :)
 
When I moved a WBC I removed the lifts and roof and transported them separately. There was a glass quilt, two brood boxes but no supers - I replaced the quilt with a travel screen but the floor was a pain - it was an old WBC and there were gaps in the solid floor the bees could get out of ! I ended up putting a solid crownboard under the stack and strapping it together. At least I didn't have to worry about blocking up the entrance and it was a lot easier to move the boxes without the stand/floor. I'd probably do that now if I was doing it again - they are a bit of an ungainly lump to move about.

Best advice - strap them up more than you think is necessary ... if you have a second pair of hands to help and a trolley or barrow it's going to be a lot easier. If you are not happy with how it's going then step away and postpone until another day - perhaps do one hive at a time to see how it goes.

I'm a little concerned about the comment that ' "They" will close the entrance up'. I'd want to be there and to do things my way - it's going to be you in the firing line if what they envisage for transporting them all goes South ...

Good luck ...
I agree entirely. Moving WBCs is a PITA
 
Well, I've moved many thousands of hives into apples or amongst my apiaries. I like to move in the early morning after they have cooled off overnight. Early on, I took over-the-top precautions to confine the bees to their hive so I could "safely" move them. I found rather soon that once you screen the bees in, they only want to find an exit. I finally stopped screening them in. Instead, I smoke the hive entrance, load the hive on the truck, smoke, move into position, smoke. Leave the vehicle running...the vibrations help keep the bees in. Repeat with each hive until load is full, or the few hives are on the truck/trailer. Smoke the hives and tie down. Unloading is the same in reverse.
I'm moving a few lately at night with open entrances. No one lives here, so it makes it easier with lights at night.
Agree with others about ventilation if they are locked in. Hive screens and emlock straps necessary.
 

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I have had four colonies: (brood plus 2 super,no roof) in a Honda Jazz..
Edit: entrance and exit required a degree of tilting - all gaffer taped together.
 
I have had four colonies: (brood plus 2 super,no roof) in a Honda Jazz..
Edit: entrance and exit required a degree of tilting - all gaffer taped together.
Last week I had five poly nucs (four occupied), two brood boxes, three roofs, four shallows, a selection of cover boards and QEs, plus me, in the Jazz. It was snug!
 
Last week I had five poly nucs (four occupied), two brood boxes, three roofs, four shallows, a selection of cover boards and QEs, plus me, in the Jazz. It was snug!
You are braver than me.....
 
Using a masonry cleaning sponge (ask at the construction hardware store) covering the drain and securing the roof is enough for a short distance. If the trip is going to last more than 2 hours, you should buy a veil or mosquito netting and wrap the hive, leaving some space in the front where the spout is located so that the bees can cool the interior. It will also be convenient to stop to check that everything is fine and freshen the air in case you place them in a trunk.
It is better to make the transfer at night, wait until the activity in the piquera is zero. Always dealing with a single drawer.
 
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