Switching Hive Locations

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I've got a pretty good flow going on right now, but one of my colonies is a little behind schedule (it contributed to 2 separate splits in the Spring). I want to swap positions with my booming package install which already has a full super and working on a second. I want to equalize, but not lose ALL the foragers from the stronger hive. Can I do an early evening switcheroo and limit the number of foragers changing address?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    Can I do an early evening switcheroo and limit the number of foragers changing address?

    tecumseh....
    I am not certain what you mean by 'limit the number of foragers changing address'?

    switching position of a hive does entail some significant risk especially if large populations are involved in both or either hive. as a general 'old school' rule if you have a flow going and you have some desire to maximize you honey crop then the best thing to do is simply leave well enough alone <in an active flow any interruption of a hive when they are bringing in nectar also will reduce you honey crop.

    my own tendencies are to 'level'* hives when there is not much really going on.

    *leveling a hive may mean any number of things but for me it essentially reduces down to redistributing feed in the spring time and brood in the fall of the year. most of my hives never get leveled so this primarily occurs to hives that are either booming or not doing so well.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I would wait until after the flow is over. There is plenty of time left to make adjustments to the hive numbers.
     
  4. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I waited on a good flow to switch because of the lesson that Perry shared with us earlier in the year about not reversing positions unless the foragers are bringing home groceries. I thought also that I could switch later in the evening to possibly limit the number of foragers going to the weaker hive so it's not overwhelmed, then move the hives back to their original position that same night. My thinking is that I don't want the weaker colony to miss out on the main flow because of a lack of numbers.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    By leaving the stronger hive to do its work undisturbed, you will probably end up with a better crop (from the total of the two hives) than you would get by strengthening another hive at its expense.
     
  6. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If the weather is warm so the bees can handle covering a little more brood for a few days. By cover I mean incubating it at night and keeping it cooled in the heat of the day. You pull a frame of capped brood from the strong colony with the brood starting to emerge and shake the bees off back into the strong hive, and place the brood in the week colony. The brood will provide an additional 2 frames of bees to the colony once hatched. That forage force will not be missed for 3 weeks in the large colony.

    Bees once they have taken their orientation flights and have started foraging, are anchored to an location that they return to regardless of where they take off from unless moved a few miles. With a massive returning force of bees to a week colony placed were the strong colony was can be over whelmed and think that they are under attack.
    Swapping hives to me is a Hail Mary play that some times works but can also result in setbacks and loses. For me I prefer to move bees and brood. By shaking bees that have newly emerged and haven't lived long enough to take their maiden flight. (bees that are on frames of open larva and bees with silvery hairs on their back). Or moving brood so it can assist once hatched is a much safer plan of beekeeping.
     
  7. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    You know, I just added a 3rd honey super to the booming colony, so I think I will, as you suggest (Tec and Ef), leave well enough.:thumbsup:

    Thanks, Apis. I like your plan. Your detailed posts and descriptions are always amazing to me.
    :clap: