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Moving a Top Bar Hive

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New Bee

Joined: 04 May 2016
Posts: 3
Location: Canada/BC/Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:54 pm    Post subject: Moving a Top Bar Hive Reply with quote

We are located in Vancouver Canada and have our hive (newly installed 1 kg package on March 5th) located in the back yard, east-facing with a raised brick patio behind it....perfect so far. Very nice warm spring and summer so far with no pests (our wasp traps are working perfectly) or diseases.

Our first year 48" Chandler TBH is doing great. The bees have expanded to the full 28 bars and have put up about 3-4 full combs of mostly capped honey so far. The last few weeks we have noticed the bees getting more "defensive" compared to earlier in the season when they were in their building stage and we've been stung a couple times just walking around in the back yard during the day when over 20 feet away from the hive.

Here is my question: we have a toddler and guests coming to visit in 10 days and we are worried about their safety and we are thinking of moving the hive about 25 feet to the east so that most of the yard will be behind the hive (the bees don't seem to go behind for some reason). Will this be enough of a move or should we move the hive (carefully of course) into the front yard which will be totally removed from any visitors?

We have been told to do this move in the evening with the entrances plugged till the morning, suits on and place a branch, etc. in front of the hive's new location to help the bees with their move.

Good advice is most welcome.... thanks in advance Smile
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Nurse Bee

Joined: 09 Jul 2014
Posts: 32
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Move it (if you can) no more than 3ft at a time over a period of days and they'll work it out for themselves.

Alternatively if you have to do it in one go, the method you've be given should work. I've done it a few times like that
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Sorry to hear your bees are being less neighbourly. I sometimes find that mine have a change of disposition like this when they are getting ready to swarm. If your bees have filled their hive, even though it is latish in the swarming season, they may have set the process in motion. Have you inspected the brood nest recently and if so, did you see any queen cells or lots of drone brood.

Rather than move the hive as it is clearly in a good spot from the bees point of view, could you possibly screen it from the patio/garden. Guard bees are usually at the entrance to the hive and attack things they perceive to be a problem. If they do not have a direct view of the area that people are using, then it should help prevent these attacks.

This hive is going to be pretty heavy and moving it short distances and levelling it each time ia lot of work. If you decide that moving is necessary, I would move all in one go, at night as you have outlined but I would probably leave them blocked in for a whole day before letting them out again and as you have suggested, placing a leafy branch or two across the entrance, so that they have to crawl through the leaves will cause them to re-orientate. If you do decide to keep them blocked in all day, do make sure they don't overheat and have plenty of ventilation. The reason I suggest keeping them in is that it will help to ensure they re-orientate along with the foliage. It may also be necessary to place a bait hive or similar at the old location to house those that didn't pay attention when they left the hive and then tip them onto the landing board on an evening.

Good luck with it whichever you decide and keep us posted on the outcome.


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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

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