A beehive full of honeybees can be either a nuisance or a delightful source of honey. In either case, if you find it necessary to move a beehive, here are 6 steps to keep in mind.
Step 1 – Choosing the Right Spot for Your Beehive
Selecting the right spot for your hive is important. If you're only relocating it on your property, you will need to place the hive in a location that doesn't require its bees to cross places in your yard that people are likely to be using. Also, if you want your bees to be productive, place their hive where the morning sun will warm the hive and where the bees are more likely to be cooler during the hotter part of the day.
Step 2 – Choosing the Distance to Move Your Beehive
If you are moving the hive because you want to get rid of the bees, you'll need to move them more than 3 miles away. Bees normally operate within 3 miles of their hive and are familiar with landmarks within that 3-mile radius. If you want your bees to produce honey, do not move their hive more than 3 feet from its original spot. Doing so, will likely result in some of them dying.
Step 3 – Closing Bees Inside Their Hive
You will need to close the bees inside their hive before you move it. The best time of the day to do this is in the early evening hours when bees have stopped flying. In closing them in their hive you will need to be sure it has ventilation. One way to do this is to use a screen to cover the hive's entrance.
Step 4 - Securing Hive Parts
Any shifting of hive boards will likely aggravate the bees and may cause them to be aggressive. For this reason, it will be advisable for you to secure hive boards enough to keep them from shifting or falling away from the hive. A good way to keep hive boards together is to use 2 nylon straps. One of them should include a ratchet lock that will allow you to tighten the strap.
Step 5 – Transporting the Hive
If you will be moving the hive by yourself, or if you plan on moving it in a car rather than a truck, separate the hive into individual boxes that will be lightweight enough that you can lift them by yourself. Place a screen on the top of the separated boxes with bees inside. This will give the bees ventilation and will act as a cover to keep them from leaving the box.
Step 6 - Unloading and Opening the Hive at the New Location
To avoid getting stung when you open the hive boxes, open them after dark when the bees are less active. When you have your bottom box in place, remove the screen as you are moving away from the box. You can return the following day, remove the remaining screens between components, and restore the normal configuration of the hive.