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How to move beehives

 If you must move beehives, there are rules you should know to avoid disturbing the colonies during transport. They are linked to the biology of the bee. To learn all about moving beehives, read the following article.

Sometimes you have to move your colonies temporarily or permanently. In order not to disturb the bees too much, here are the points to be observed during this operation.

Move a hive a few meters within the apiary

The movement of a hive within the apiary must be gradual because the bee will be disoriented when it returns to the fold. Lateral displacement should be limited to 50 cm per day. From front to back, it may be larger but not exceed one meter per day.

In winter, when the weather prevents the bee from flying, you can move the hive a greater distance.

CAUTION: Never move the hive when it is freezing: you risk breaking the cluster.


To locate itself in relation to the hive, the bee uses the polarization of the sun. It is for this reason that during his first outings, we attend a particular ballet in front of the hive. The bees circle in front of the hive first near the exit and then higher and higher to find their way and find the hive according to the sun. This is called orientation flight.

Another way to find the bee's path to the hive is to memorize the places it hovers over.

If we take for granted that a bee moves away in high season up to two and a half mile from the hive, it is necessary to plan a distance of at least three miles to prevent the bees from flying over a known place again. .

These 3 miles constitute the minimum distance in high season. If you make the transfer early in the spring or in the fall when it is colder, a shorter distance between the two locations can be chosen because at this season the bee moves less from the hive.

At what time of the day to make the transfer?

The evening when the bees have returned seems to be the best time. It is also possible to close the hives in the evening and move them early in the morning.

When closing the hive, it is best to leave a good ventilation to avoid overheating inside the hive. In practice, this means that the hive has a clear mesh bottom. Remove the drawer so that air penetrates as much as possible during the journey.

If you do not move all the hives and a few bees have not returned, it is only a lesser evil because they will be accepted in other hives.


It is quite easy to transport by car either in the trunk or in a trailer.

The conditions to be respected are:

  • Avoid hot hours
  • Place the beehives with the frames in the direction of travel of the vehicle to avoid crushing bees between the frames
  • Secure the hives to prevent them from moving
  • Keep a coverall, gloves, smoker, sprayer full of water and a lifter close by.
  • If you are transporting after dark, a flashlight is recommended.