New hive stand

Well, not new in design 🙂 It’s a carbon copy of the hive stand my husband already built for the first 2 hives. I didn’t want the new hives in front of the old ones and the best solution was what you see below. The layout of our yard, which is essentially a rectangle, dictated the set-up. I just love having the stand as it makes every hive inspection so much easier.

The pink hive was literally moved a couple feet back onto the hive stand. However, the teal hive was far enough away (~ 6′) from its final location that if I were to try and just move that teal hive onto the new stand, it may confuse the bees. Bees use a variety of celestial and topographical cues to orient themselves to their home and as you can see the teal hive was to the left of the purple hive. The new location will place it to the right of the orange hive; the returning workers would be very confused trying to figure out where their home went.

In a similar vein, my friend needs to move a hive she has from the front of her house to the back onto the hive stand but the distance is a good bit more than 40′. If you haven’t heard this by now, beekeeping lore states you can move a hive either less than 2 feet or more than 2 miles. There a few tricks to get around this: close up the hive for about 3 days and then open it, this would force the confined bees to reorient themselves to their surroundings, the other option is to place a leafy branch in front of the entrance to force the bees to reorient, the idea being the bees would think a big branch had fallen and the topography had changed (but really, who knows what bees think?). This next idea is the one I tried: a few days before the move place a white board in front of the hive. When you are ready to move the hive, make sure that you replace the white board as it was and the bees will use it to help them orient to their new location. The idea came from an email sent to Rusty: Runway lights

Here’s my set up:

Runway lights for the hive I want to move.
Runway lights for the hive I want to move.

After the move, I left the runway in place for a few days before removing it. When I moved the hive in the late morning, there were a few bees that came back to the old spot and were clearly wondering where there home went. By the end of the day, there were no lost bees; they either found the new home or joined the purple one that was close to home. The "lost" bees would have been carrying either water, nectar, pollen or propolis and so they would have been accepted into a new hive. Robbers do not come bearing gifts.
After the move, I left the runway in place for a few days before removing it. When I moved the hive in the late morning, there were a few bees that came back to the old spot and were clearly wondering where there home went. By the end of the day, there were no lost bees; they either found the new home or joined the purple one that was close to home. The “lost” bees would have been carrying either water, nectar, pollen or propolis and so they would have been accepted into a new hive. Robbers do not come bearing gifts.
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