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.
A branch obstructs the entrances to the hive and thus reorients the bees to the new hive location. (April 09, 2016, Flatrock, Newfoundland, 12°C.)
The general rule for moving a hive is move it either “3 feet or 3 miles” but nothing in between. Otherwise the bees can’t re-orient to the new location. Sometimes that rule is true. Sometimes it isn’t. I know beekeepers who move their hives 50 feet without any concern. They just pick up the hives and move them. It’s argued that if some of the bees go back to their old location, they’ll eventually find their way back home or will find shelter in the nearest hive, easily mixing in with a new colony. I’m not 100% behind that argument. It’s also argued, “Forget about the distance. As long as an obstruction is put in front of the hive entrance, the bees will automatically re-orient to the hive.” That’s true in my experience, but again, none of these rules seem absolute. Generally, though, when I move a hive, I wait for a cold day when the bees aren’t flying around much, preferable just before some bad weather that will keep the bees stuck in the hive for a few days, and I always (unless I forgot) place an obstruction in front of the entrances so the bees will re-orient to the new location. I emphasize “generally” because every time I move a hive, my method and the conditions under which I move the hive are slightly different.