I moved one of my hives yesterday. More accurately, I cracked off the top deep and placed it on a new bottom board about 10 metres away (around 30 feet). Here’s the video:
I should have mentioned the “3 feet or 3 miles” rule for moving hives, but I forgot. Check out my How to Move a Hive for more on that.
Leaving behind a super with some frames in the old location is a smart way to catch any stragglers who keep going back to the old location, but I’ve never done that. Just a personal preference. I’d rather not give the bees any reason to home in on their old location. I want them to completely say, “What the…?”, when they go to the old location so their re-orientation instincts kick in instead. If the hive isn’t too far away and there are other bees flying around anyway, the stragglers will pick up the scent of the other bees and find their way home.
Another trick is to move the bees to the new location, and then shake a frame of bees in front of the hive (hopefully not a frame of brood) — shake the bees off the frame and dump them in front of the hive so they all land on the bottom board where they usually come in for a landing. These suddenly-disoriented bees will begin scenting and that scenting will, with luck, waft over to the old location and the stragglers will find their way home to the new location. Sometimes the shaking of the bees in front of the hive doesn’t do anything. The bees fall on the bottom board and just march right into the hive like it was nothing. But most of the time there is a fair bit of scenting afterwards.
But when in doubt, I stick to the “3 feet or 3 miles” rule. Everything else can get a little complicated, which isn’t really the name of the game for most backyard hobbyist beekeepers.