Moving Hives – 3 Feet, 3 Miles or 5 Monkeys?

I don’t give any credence to the 3ft / 3miles rule.

People say

“if you move your hives 100ft you will get bees back at the old home but move them 3 miles you don’t”

Common Myth

Ok, so where are those bees now – they didn’t suddenly not get lost.

Are they dead in hedgerows unable to find either home?

I could probably find two almost identical fields in Devon with similar aspects 3 miles apart so how is a Bee to know that its home has changed?

If the act of driving 3 miles triggers reorientation then you could drive in cycles for an equivalent distance and then put them 100ft away.

You have to ask yourself what is a natural major disturbance for bees. Given they would live in woodland it would be a storm and to find fallen trees and broken branches.

So, my advice (and the one we have used with success for a number of hives) is in the evening when everyone is in bed move your hive to its new location. Lay loads of branches across the entrance, maybe tuck a little grass into the entrance (don’t block it). Just give the bees some inconvenience.

At the old hive spot – leave a flower pot with a piece of wood laid across.

Over the next few evenings you will need to do repatriations. It will be maybe a hundred (probably a lot less) the first night, then a few tens, then a handful, then nothing. We just carry them over in the flower point and tip them in below the roof onto the crown board. Once you are not doing repatriations remove the branches etc.

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