The Aftermath of Moving a Hive

February 2019 Introduction: I makes mistakes all the time, so I feel confident in passing on this pro tip. Here’s my pro tip: After moving a hive to a new spot, remove all signs of the old hive so that any returning bees have no visual cues that their hive was ever there. In other words, don’t do what I did in this video. It’s an enlightening video in that it demonstrates how honey bees summon all their siblings to the location of their new home by fanny pheromones into the air after a major disturbance (which I admit is a very cool thing that honey bees do). But the bees in the video probably would have found the location of their new home much faster and with much less effort if I’d simply removed all signs of their old hive. I should have shaken all the stragglers off the old hive components in front of the new hive. Then I should have removed the old hive stand, the boxes, everything, from the old location, so that nothing that looked like their old hive or smelled like their old hive was there to confuse them.

Honey bees are impressive little navigators. They can continually find their way back to a small patch of flowers miles from their hive, and then give detailed directions to any other bee willing to listen. Honey bees can find their way back home like nobody’s business. It’s amazing. On the other hand, they easily become disoriented to their hive when it’s moved only a couple of feet. A hive can be moved using various techniques designed to help the bees reorient themselves to the new location. I won’t go into that now. I just want to show how cool the bees are. They can deal with just about anything we throw at them. Today after I moved one of my hives, I stood back and watched the bees gradually reorient themselves to the exact location of the new hive. It took a few hours for all of them to get the message, but eventually they homed in on the new location. When half the colony starts cranking out the Nasonov pheromone, it’s hard to miss. Check it out:

This is part 2 of Inspecting and Moving a Hive.

P.S.: I wasn’t wearing any protective clothing during this portion of the video. Not a single sting. Some of the bees became more defensive an hour or so later when plenty of foragers were still coming back to the old spot. I was probably messing up the orientation pheromones with my stinky human smell.

3 thoughts on “The Aftermath of Moving a Hive

  1. I just removed the entrance reducer on Hive #1 for a second. It’s cool today and the bees are inside. Now that all the bees are in the bottom box, all I see are bees holding onto the bottom frames. Loads of ’em.

    I also briefly heard the queen piping.

    The queen pipes or squeaks for various reasons. Sometimes when she’s in distress. Other times a new queen in her cell will pipe when she’s emerging. I didn’t see any queen cells during the inspection.

    I don’t know what I heard or why I heard it, but it sounded like the tinny piping from a queen that I’ve seen on various YouTube videos.

  2. Funny I was in my hive yesterday and I didn;t see the queen. I can see signs of the queen with fresh eggs but no queen and I assume that she is there. I really do not think that I squished her. By teh way thigns are looking I will have to move to the bottom box soon. The top brood box will soon be full of pollen,honey (sugar syrup), brood, and eggs. I assume she will move down but I cannot guarentee that she will. I cannot risk swarming as there are no drones on the go yet.

    They are such maazing little creatures.

  3. Great video! The sound of an entire colony is fabulous. I got my nucs last Sunday and the buzzing is quiet compared to your hives. Looks like your winter wasn’t too hard on your hives.

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