Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Moving beehives in cold weather

Until now we had one of our beehives on the old site near our house but we wanted to have them all at rosybee, mainly because is much more convenient to have them all together. We have been taking great care over moving them because its only 1 mile between the two locations and we did not want to risk the colonies getting lost trying to go back home. We moved one in summer, not long after we had extracted the first honey harvest and successfully employed the 'put a tree branch in front of their door' method. It seems to make them re-orientate themselves on exiting the hive and realise that they are somewhere new.  Certainly we did not observe any significant drop in bee numbers however, moving an active buzzing and aggressive hive was not a pleasant experience so we decided to try a 'cold move' for the next one.

Today represented the perfect conditions: freezing cold for the last few days and cold predicted for the next few days. In theory this means that the bees should be firmly hunkered down and not inclined to move out to investigate. Hurrah! that was exactly how it was. On moving the hive we could hear a faint buzzing deep inside but not a single bee came out during the entire 20 minutes it took to move them. I don't know if how they will now behave when it warms up. Maybe, having been stuck inside for a while they will reassess their surroundings when the emerge or maybe we should put a branch in front again, just in case.

Anyway, job done for now and its a treat to have a bee related task mid-winter.