How To Move A Swarm? Some Wonderful Tips

Moving a hive with style!

If you want to move a swarm to a new location, there are some precautions you will need to take. First of all, follow the instructions on our “Catching a swarm” lessons, which will show you how to get a swarm into a hive.

The next step is to move the hive with the bees inside.

  • It’s best to move a hive early in the morning or late in the evening, when most of the bees will be inside. You can use your smoker to encourage any on the hive to go inside before you seal the entrance.
  • Bees orient to where their hive is located. If the swarm you have caught has been in the new hive for more than three hours, they will be oriented to that location. When you move the hive, you will want to ensure that the bees will get used to their new home, and not return to their original hive location.
  • The distance you want to move your hive will determine the method you should use. If you’re going more than four miles (6.5km), then the bees won’t recognize the new area and are unlikely to return to the old spot. If you’re moving a shorter distance than that, you’ll have to take some steps to ensure the bees can find the hive at the new location.
  • If you want to move the hive less than 30ft (10m), you can do it incrementally by moving the hive less than 6ft (2m) per day until it is in the new spot. If using this method, you don’t need to seal the hive entrance (but do strap the hive together before moving it, and of course wear your protective gear!)
  • If you want to move a hive more than a few metres but less than four miles (6.5km), you can either:

A) Move them more than four miles away and leave them there for a couple of days so that they re-orient themselves, then move them again to where you want to locate your hive; or

B) Move them directly to their new location and temporarily hang a light towel over the entrance or place a branch directly in front of it. This encourages the bees to ‘reset’ and orient themselves to their new location. If some bees still return to the old location, you can collect them in a box and take them back to the hive.

move a swarm


    • Bees can get agitated if their hive is being moved, so wear your bee suit, face-veil and gloves. Keep your smoker at hand during the move.
    • It is very important that the hive stays together during the move! Secure the baseboard and top cover to the brood box using straps, preferably ratchet straps.
    • Seal the hive entrance before moving, you can block the entrance with steel wool, or tape some mesh across the entrance.
    • Ensure the inner cover is also securely sealed.
    • Beehives can heat up very quickly, so ventilation is very important. If using a Flow Hive, make sure the air vents are open. Be careful not to leave the hive in direct sunlight for too long.

      TIP: Transporting a beehive inside a vehicle is dangerous – use a trailer, pickup truck or ute.

    • When placing the hive on the trailer, make sure it is well balanced and steady.
    • Strap the hive down tightly using strong straps.
    • When you reach the new location, set up your hive, get it level, take off the straps and open the entrance.

Being careful is always necessary when you are dealing with bees. Read our FREE comprehensive beekeeping safety guide here.

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Originally posted 2020-07-09 19:04:14.


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