Notes from Windward: #70


Moving Honey Bees


      In mid October three hives of Italian honey bees were moved from Renton, Wa to Windward. I am an apprentice bee keeper and have been caring for honey bees for 4 years in a suburb of Seattle. Moving the bees to Windward was my first experience with moving hives.

Matt and Carina carry a hive to the truck

     Waiting until the bees had decreased their activity with the onset of cold weather was the least stressful time to move them.

Carina secures the hives for the trip

     The first step was to staple screen over the entrances. The screen keeps the bees inside and allows air circulation to the hive during transportation. This was easily accomplished in the evening when all of the bees had entered the hive for the night.

     With the help of Carina and Matt the hives were secured with cinch straps to hold the various parts of the hive together. A lift bar designed to fit into handholds on the hive box allows 2 people to easily lift the hive. A hive with 2 boxes full of bees and honey can weigh between 90-120 pounds.

     The hives were carefully loaded and secured in the back of the pick up truck. This is one load you don't want to fall over!

     All went well during the 250 mile drive to Windward. A level place to set the hives had been prepared in advance. The hives were moved into place.

the hives arrive safely

     After all of this moving the bees were buzzing and agitated. The bees were allowed to settle quietly for awhile. Once the sound of the hives had changed to a gentle hum, the screens were removed from the entrances. The bees were free to explore their new home.

MaryLou removes the screening to open the hives

     When bees first leave their hive they take an orientation flight. This flight aids the bee in knowing where the hive is. The bee leaves the hive in a series of concentric circles. The ever widening circle allows the bee to view the hive from progressively distant points. Once bees are oriented they will begin searching for nectar and pollen.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70