Moving a Colony

A honey bee colony can be moved to a new location. You may need to change the hive location in your yard or move the colony to another distant bee yard.

A colony can be moved a short distance to relocate it near the original location. When a colony is moved more than two miles from its location, the field age bees will reorient to the new hive location within a few days.

Remove the surplus supers of honey down to the brood chamber and one empty super before moving a hive.

Staple all the outside parts of a beehive with the hive staples. Drive the staples in at the four corners fastening each part to the part above and below. This can be done during the day in preparation for moving in the evening after dark.

Remove the inner cover and nail a screened cooling board over the top to close and ventilate the top of the hive. A cooling board is a plywood panel the size of an inner cover with a large screened window.

Construct a frame with 1 ½ inch by one-half inch pieces of wood that will fit between the bottom board cleats, against the front of the hive body to cover the entrance. The bottom of the frame is made with a three-fourths inch piece to cover without blocking the entrance. The frame is covered with screen wire. The screened frame encloses a screened porch on the front of the hive. Air will circulate through the entrance and out the top to keep the bees cool in transit.

The bees will return to the hive at dusk or a little later. Have everything in place except the entrance screen. Attach the entrance screen with a nail through the two end bars and load the colony for moving to a new location.

Place the colony on a base at the new location. Smoke the entrance and remove the screen. Place the inner and outer cover on the hive. The cooling board can be removed when you inspect the bees.