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Dead Bees After Moving Hive


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Last night I moved my hives from a Manuka block back into our city apiary, a trip of about 2.5 hours. We loaded them onto a trailer without opening them, and they seemingly travelled OK. At 6.00 am this morning I opened the entrances and assumed everything would be OK. On inspecting them later in the day I was alarmed to find that the strongest hive had a carpet of dead and dying bees in front of it, and as I watched the entrance, noticed that some bees were carrying pieces of wax out of the hive. I assumed it was being robbed, so have restricted the entrance.

The other hives that we moved seem fine, as do those that did not go to the Manuka. I transported the hives with the entrances blocked, but all have mesh floors, so ventilation should not be an issue. It was close to 30˚C during the move.

I would really appreciate any suggestions from experienced Beekeepers as to what has gone wrong, and also any advice on what I should do now. I had originally planned to give the hives a few days to settle before removing the supers, but am now wondering if I should do it immediately.

 

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Shifting hives open was a new thing for me, before New Zealand we always closed them, and generally moved them in the daylight. From experience I can tell you that if you close a hive a ventilated flo

Sweated and died .....  we sent a unit load of nucs up north one year and the chiller broke down. And so did we ! 

We move them at night with no blocked entrances

Once there is a layer of bees over the mesh and entrances there is no ventilation

I use propolis mat  torn by hand into strips about 40 mm wide and cut to length.

Fold the strips in half and push it into the entrance.

Or drill 25mm holes in the second box and put adhesive fiber gib tape over the hole to keep the bees in.

Lots of ways

I dont block stack on the deck either, leave 100mm gap between rows

 

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7 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Yep Phil ..... we actually put mesh lids on if we are moving lotsa nucs long distance now. And yes .... moving hives interisland they never get blocked ..... a little tingle just went up my spine.

Ive lost a few the same way, always the biggest hives or nucs

The biggest mistake is to forget to remove the entrance block

Edited by Philbee
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We run quad set up with mesh floors and shift with our hiab trucks.. the entrances are full open and never overheat while shifting.. sometimes especially warm full moon nights we can have pretty feral beards on them but generally fine. 

Sounds like you have cooked them as they generate a lot of heat when stirred up, trailers behind Utes or trucks are worse I recon as they seem to bounce and if they can't get out and beard up then they'll cook. 

I use whitebait mesh folded over to block my own singles when shifting and open soon as they're off the ute. 

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Once you block the entrance it can panic the bees, they crowd the mesh & block it, hive dies.  Weaker hive may not happen, but moving a bunch of blocked hives in 30 degrees, in my view you are actually lucky, very lucky, that you did not lose more or all of them.

 

Me I never block hives when moving them unless there is some very compelling circumstance.

 

If hives MUST be blocked, a mesh over the top will work, cos the bees won't clog it.

Edited by Alastair
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Thank you everyone for your replies and advice to my posting. After posting the item, an experienced beekeeper friend called and recommended that I remove all of the supers immediately. On opening the affected hive I found that many of the frames in the supers had broken loose and some had fallen down. Obviously the trailer ride on the farm track was a lot more violent than I had imagined, and resulted in considerable losses of bees. There is no doubt also that these dead bees blocked the mesh floor causing suffocation and even greater losses. A lesson learned the hard way.

 

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9 hours ago, Stoney said:

Must be 8 or less I'd say, wondering if the honey was taken off before shifting or not as well.. stranger things have happened ?

Not that I move hives very often, but I always give the bees 24 to 48 hours after inspection before moving the hives so that they have time to glue everything down again.

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Ive often wondered if a really rough track will shake the Bees down to smoother at bottom of hives using a tandem trailer

Just a plug for triple axle trailers, they absolutely will not shake bees on any condition track.

Its very difficult to imagine the processes going on in this situation but its 100% accurate.

Sometimes my Son rides the trailer on the farm tracks and always raves about the smooth ride the triple gives.

He says the suspension is making an absolute racket in absorbing the bumps but the ride is silky smooth. 

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On 1/17/2018 at 6:53 PM, Stoney said:

We run quad set up with mesh floors and shift with our hiab trucks.. the entrances are full open and never overheat while shifting.. sometimes especially warm full moon nights we can have pretty feral beards on them but generally fine. 

Sounds like you have cooked them as they generate a lot of heat when stirred up, trailers behind Utes or trucks are worse I recon as they seem to bounce and if they can't get out and beard up then they'll cook. 

I use whitebait mesh folded over to block my own singles when shifting and open soon as they're off the ute. 

I am just getting started and have looked at a lot of what people have done around this area and venting of hive, I have made all my hive bases vented and going to Quad. I found Ali screen door mess at Burnings for $11 a meter last week. The question I have is now Im starting to needing to move hives is it a problem to vent the 2nd box?

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