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Head ’em up and move ’em out

Today I moved two of my hives out of their winter shelter in the backyard and up to their summer garden area.

The winter shelter just uses a freestanding summer deck and tarps to protect the exposed areas of the hive. With protection from above, I have been able to pop the lids regularly. Two of these hives were low on food in November but all seem to have made it so far (7 March) Class03B_img_4.jpg
You don’t see many semi’s hauling bees in New England but neither do you see a car. This is our ’92 Honda Civic with 300k on the clock and still getting 50+mpg. I dropped the back seats and made a chipboard removable flatbed. Fitted out like this is serves as out bee mobile all summer. One hive is in. IMG-20120429-00160.jpg
The key factor for success here is preventing the bees from getting out of the hive and filling the inside of the car. These hive boxes aren’t specifically made for transportation so I’ve sealed up the entrances and any ventilation holes with hardware cloth, and strapped the lids down securely. I have in the past made a mistake with this and it is somewhat un-nerving to find the car slowly filling up with curious bees … IMG-20120429-00161.jpg
Beautiful day for a drive. Left at about 6.45am IMG-20120429-00162.jpg
OK here we go. I’d prepared this yesterday – whacking the weeds, leveling the 4×4’s etc IMG-20120429-00164.jpg
With both hives, what I’ll do is take the strapping off, unseal the holes and the entrance, and let them fly. Additionally, I want to take the hives apart and check each frame as this is the first real look I’ve had this year. I’ve watched the hives, obviously; enough to see numbers increasing and lots of activity. But I want to eyeball the queen and check there is brood in the right places. I also have an extra box of empty frames for each hive as I suspect that they’ll be ready for expansion. IMG-20120429-00165.jpg
One down. I’ve also adapted the front entrance so it can hold a quart feeder bottle without the bottle falling to the ground. IMG-20120429-00167.jpg
Two done/ It’s taken about 90 minutes. IMG-20120429-00169.jpg
Now they just have to scope out the hood to get their new location fix. IMG-20120429-00173.jpg
(Not that hood, stupid). IMG-20120429-00172.jpg
I gave them sugar syrup to settle them in, but they won’t take long to find local food. Dandelions are everywhere and bees love them. I was astonished at a “green” ad yesterday on tv. Promoting the importance of “green” and showing a couple killing their wildflowers (“weeds”) with a Bayer poison. Myopic, and stupid. I have no patience for it. Here’s the ad: IMG-20120429-00175.jpg

Done. We’ll see how they make out in their summer home.

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