Bee transhumance (also called transhumance) refers to the transfer of bee hives from one geographical location to another.
Beekeepers move their hives from site in order to take advantage of the best temperatures, as the climate has a huge impact on the beekeeping flora,that is, on flowering that is of economic interest to this activity.
What is the best way to perform the transhumance of bees and hives?
As you can imagine, the person who performs the transhumance wants to have as little pain as possible during the transfer of his workers. To do this, choose between two methods: it locks them inside the hive or takes advantage of the dusk to move them without having to close them.
We are talking about the two most common types of transport:
We will know the characteristics of each of them so that you can choose the one you think is most convenient according to the type of hive used, the characteristics of your colony, the time of year and the distance at which you have to move it.
Open pickae or closed hive?
Consider that if the transfer will last only a few hours, if the cold weather accompanies and/or the hives do not have too much population, the bees can lock themselves in without any difficulties.
In these cases, what you do is replace the lids with grilles and close the pickets tightly. This procedure is called«closed hive transport».
However, although the grille offers a significant aeration surface, bees suffer a lot of stress with this mode of transport and overpopulated hives can cause suffocation. It is the main reason why the beekeepers’ favorite medium is «open picket».
«Open pickaie» is the ideal method for moving heavily populated colonies; especially when the journeys are long and take place in hot seasons.
With this procedure you provide your workers with all the oxygen they need and also make sure they have a free surface to expel water vapour and carbonic gas caused by the functioning of their organs.
As you can see, taking them «to open pickaise» allows you to move in less time, with less labor and the bees will feel more calm than if they were locked up.
5 Steps to Move Hives "to Open Pick"
The journey and the load of the hives
During the transfer, the bees will walk over their hives and, although few will be lost, some will be crushed by rattling. One important thing to keep in mind is that the workers will make little attempt to escape as long as the truck carrying them remains running.
Each layer of hives should be separated by wooden slats when they are loaded onto the truck. This will facilitate the free movement of the air.
However, the truck or transport vehicle must be continuously running and should never be left parked in the sun or you could kill the colony.
Our suggestion is that you always carry a fuel reserve with you so you don’t have to stop at gas stations. This will prevent bees on the outside of the hives from flying when you stop the engine.
The process of unloading the hives
The most common and advisable thing is that the discharge takes place when the sun rises or when night falls. This will prevent bees from coming out en masse when you perform this last manipulation of the colonies.
At the time of arrival, when the truck stops, the workers will appear on the walls. If it’s dark, they can get to bite those who are manipulating them. To avoid these bad times it is important to arrive early, leave the engine running so that its vibrations calm the grinders and proceed to smoke.
And finally, perform the discharge by carefully observing where you put hands and feet because the bees will fly around the hives.
As you can see, it is extremely important to prepare your colonies properly for transhumance. If you take into account our tips you can even transport them in summer without any major casualties.
Have you experienced any mishaths during the transfer of your bees? Leave us your experiences in the comments; will greatly assist first-time beekeepers.