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Bees | Essex Honey Blog Page

E S S E X - H O N E Y

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Moving Bees in Winter

On these colder winter days it is a good time to move bees . The bees are not flying and are clustering tightly together in the hive to keep themselves and the queen warm. If you seal the entrance up and strap the hive together securely you can move anytime during the day. There will not be any flying bees out so they will not fly back to an empty space where the hive was. During the warmer days of spring and summer the bees are usually moved early morning or after they have stopped flying in the evening. When moving bees in winter you have make sure you do not break up the cluster by rough handling. On the next flying day the bees in the re-sited hive will need to re-orient themselves when they leave the unsealed hive. To assist this, leaves or branches are put in front of the entrance so the bees notice something different when they go out. If the hive was not moved far enough away ( 3 miles ) from the original site some bees may return to their original home. If moved a smaller distance the bees may cross old flight lines and return to old hive site. A beekeeper can leave a box at the original site to collect up any returning bees and then re-home them. If bees do return to the original site (summer or spring time) and find their home gone they can go to another hive in the apiary. They are usually let in by the guard bees especially if they are bringing in nectar or pollen. There might be the odd scuffle though !

The old beekeeping adage is to move bees a distance of under 3 feet or 3 miles.

Moving bees during the summer is another story.

fir branches in front of beehive entrance

Flowering autumn ivy for bees

Honey bee collecting pollen from Autumn Ivy flower

Worker bee foraging on Ivy flowers. The Ivy is one of the important autumn flowering plants providing forage for bees. The stores will help them through the winter months. images © Robert Clare 2015