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Moving Beehives a Short Distance

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This article is for urban beekeepers who want to move a bee colony or hive a short distance on their property.

The common myth about Moving Beehives is that:-

If you want to move Beehives you have to move them 3 feet or 3 miles

Which means that you can only move beehives 3 feet everyday, or move it 3 miles away and then leave it for a month then move to the new location on your property.

Moving Beehives

In the height of summer we are often moving colonies all over our bee yard, we found this technique works well for moving bee hives a short distance.

Here are the steps

  1. After sunset or when the bees have stopped flying, close up the hive.
  2. Put a strap around all the boxes, so they don’t come apart on the short trip.
  3. Setup the hive where you want it to be located, Open up the hive.
  4. Place an obstruction over the entrance of the hive. We find a leafy bush works well.
  5. Remove the obstruction after a couple of weeks.

Why this works

Bush in front of Hive

The obstruction in front of the hive forces the bees to re-orientate themselves to the new location. The tree or bush makes them think something has changed.

This should prevent most of the worker bees from going back to the old location.

How To Move A Beehive a long distance

We wrote an article about how we do this HERE.

Other Tips

Do this before a few days of rain, the longer the bees are stuck in the hive the better they re-orientate themselves. But don’t block the entrance.

Do you have any tips to add this article? Please comment below, what other things do you do when moving bee hives a short distance?


Gary Fawcett

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop.He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping.Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment.He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.

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25 thoughts on “Moving Beehives a Short Distance

  1. Love your blog keep up the good work!

  2. thanks for this idea how to move them easily #africanbeefarm #beekeeping p

  3. I have already successfully used a slight variation, but which requires you do have a mesh floor hive but it eliminates the need for some form of hive entrance obstruction.

    Simply close the hive – move it and leave closed it for a minimum 48 – 72 hours before opening it again. Suggests the bees have a relatively short term GPS memory. Checking the previous hive location several timers over 24 hours after reopening the hive did not reveal any bees flying around looking confused.

  4. Good article, needed this info , thanks guys!

    1. You are most welcome, cheers for the feedback. Hope it works out as well it does for us.

  5. I will have to be doing this soon. Thanks for posting for extra ideas.

    1. No problem Patrick, thanks for reading our article.

  6. Good tip Tineke Wilde

    1. Hey Scott, how is Wellie town going? Gary

    2. Hi Gary, we have moved to Brisbane. We have been here for 2 years now. It was too cold in Welly. I’m getting my beehive this spring, looking forward to it!!

    3. I know, It works quite well!
      When are you getting your special honey beehive, Scott?

    4. Very cool Scott, will be great living without varroa mites 🙂

  7. Hi the one thing you need to be aware of if moving hives a short distance is that you should never leave any thing on the site where you moved the hive from, no old floors, walker boards, bricks or any other lumps of wood as the bees see these things as there old hive, Its is ok to put another hive there after the former bees have settled into there new position,

  8. Very timely as we are planning to move a hive soon!

  9. HI I have moved my hives from Warkworth back too Wainui Silverdale. There is plenty of bees and brude but there is know sign of honey making in the 2 hives, does anyone have any idea what could be going on. If they stay the way they are they won’t have any food for the winter ? .

    1. Hi Graham,

      Hmmm never seen that before, how long ago did the move happen?

      Do the bees have plenty of space to put nectar? Can you see new eggs from the Queen (less than three day old ones?)


  10. We have bee’s that have been in a wall of old house for 15-20 years and want to relocate to a box. How do you do that? Also it seems to be massive by sound of it. How many queens can be in the wall?

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Sounds like what you need to do is a cutout, where someone come over and cuts the wall and removes the bees.

      What area in the world do you live? You could try and local beekeeping club who may be able to help or direct you to a bee removal company.

      Thanks…Gary Fawcett

  11. Do you have a board with a gate latch on it for holding frames. Seen it somewhere but.???

    1. Hi Des,

      Thanks for your message.

      Do you mean the one in this video:-


  12. This is a very useful hint. We’ve been pondering the move matter of ten meters.
    This reads like our solution.
    Tino pai.

  13. I use the same method but I use a distinctive smelling plant to partially block the entrance like sage, mint or lavender. Since I use screen bottom boards, I also put some of the same plant under the colony while they are closed up, it gives their hive a distinctive smell. Never had a problem.

  14. I have moved dozens of hive short distances this summer with almost undetectable flyback – I combine 2 simple methods and tend to move the hives in the evening and start the reorientation in the morning. First step is to open up entrance and stuff it with a neat bundle of dry grass and mint stalks – ie very quickly poke bundle into entrance. Use of mint provides first signal to bees that something has changed – 2nd signal is the blocked entrance. Next step is to put a fairly dense covering of leafy branches over the entrance – ferns or bracken very good for this- this is the 3rd signal. I then reach through and partially pull out & loosen the dry grass bundle just to the point where a couple of bees get out. I then leave for 36 hrs or so during which time the colony will have partially cleared the grass and will be flying- they don’t like eating the mint! By this time it is clear all emerging bees are reorientering – flying in gradually expanding figures of figures of 8 – I then pull out remaining grass & mint and a couple of days later take away the branches.

  15. I always have trouble moving my bees. Hopefully, now I can get the hang of it. Appreciate the information.

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