Transport issues

I have been given a swarm from the neighbours – the bees decided to go and live in an old redundant National next to their stables where they just aren’t wanted. We duly took the national 5 miles away and yesterday cut the frames to fit into a TBH (not easy) They were oozing honey but I didn’t see any brood yet. I never manage to spot the Queen so hope she is in there.  They started building comb on top bars even before we finished cutting down frames.

After getting the lid back on we waited around to watch and I noticed a small cluster hanging on leaves near by. I thought maybe the Queen wasn’t in the hive after all and getting ready to take off again? So I took the roof off, moved the bars and shook the cluster into the TBH. This happened once more with another small cluster. What was going on? Eventually I left them to it when there were no more clusters, or lumps of bees outside the hive entrance. Hopefully when we go back next week to bring them home all will be in order.

BUT just when I thought the difficult part was over I hear I should turn the TBH UPSIDE DOWN when transporting the 5 miles home again and cross a field in the pick up truck??? I was told to lift the roof off, strap a board to the bars and turn the whole thing upside down so if the combs break the Queen won’t get squashed. I can see the sense in this but goodness I never thought Natural Bee Keeping would be so complicated – You experts out there – I would appreciate your views on this upside down idea too.

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7 Responses to Transport issues

  1. simplebees says:

    If the bees are building comb that fast (and swarms can build at a rate that is astonishing) it would be good to leave them where they are for as long as possible to allow the comb to mature before you attempt to move them back. Otherwise there is a severe risk that some of the comb will indeed collapse if it is bumped about, as new comb is very soft. But I would say don’t turn it upside down. Any uncapped honey will come out of the combs and drown the bees!

    Does leaving them where they are for a few weeks give rise to a problem?

    • ingrid says:

      What is the law about bee hive sitings? We have put it on a wide verge (20 feet approx.and private land) – by a small country road which has light traffic. I worried we might get sued if someone gets stung? I think realistically I need to get it back here within a week. I also worry it may get interfered with.
      How long would you suggest leaving it there? Surely the new soft combs will be an issue all season? I put 2 new bars either side of their 4 cut national frames. How soon would I have to put more in if it could be left for a bit longer?
      As far as dowel re-inforced bars- don’t have any- it all happens so suddenly doesn’t it? Must get some sorted!

      • Lynne says:

        Hi Ingrid – I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of the law around bees is that the plaintiff would have to prove you were negligent and it doesn’t sound like you have been at all. Bees are wild creatures and it is their nature to sting, so you cannot be held accountable if they do that unless you have done something outrageously ridiculous to virtually ensure someone gets stung, like throw the hive on them! Your bees are in a suitable hive and sited well. IMO, no problem. Also, if you have liability insurance, like if you are a member of the BBKA, then you’re covered as a beek anyway.

      • ingrid says:

        Thanks for the reassuring comments Lynne. Have decided to go ahead with planned move tomorrow evening anyway.

  2. Paul says:

    Can you give them any reinforced bars to build on? I.e. ones wit dowelling built in? That would reduce transport problems, except for combs they’ve already built.

  3. simplebees says:

    Then you will just have to follow the original plan in terms of timing – next Monday did you say?- and move them very gently. It was the back of the pick up across a field that had me bothered. Just take it as slowly as you reasonably can. It’s sudden bumps that need to be avoided – potholes in roads and rabbit holes. I am assuming the hive will still have its legs on? It will need strapping to ensure that it does not move in the back of the truck. Also, the bumps will be worst over the back axle, so put it as far forward as possible – right up against the cab would be best.


  4. ingrid says:

    Our field is smoother than the roads! Already thought we should go ahead as planned – the wires still in the combs should help? Will let you know how we fare.

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