Transporting a hive with bees
Sometimes it is necessary to transport a hive from one location to another. When this hive is full of bees and stores this can be quite a daunting task, especially if you need to load the hive into a vehicle and move it a significant distance.
You should arrange for somebody to help you on the day you are moving the hive, as full beehives are deceptively heavy, and dropping one would not be a mistake you'd ever forget!
You should ‘close up’ the hive late in the evening the night before, or very early in the morning on the day of the move - depending on the temperature - so that all the flying bees at ‘at home’. Use a piece of foam to block up the entrance. The foam will expand to fill the space and will not move. Tank tape etc are NOT suitable.
You will also need two ratchet straps to hold all the components together. They must be proper ratchet straps with a 3 inch metal ratchet. A simple strap with pull tight and knurled stop cannot be pulled tight enough and can slip, and as such is not suitable.
Position the two straps parallel to each other around 3 inches in from opposite edges. Do not place the straps at right angles to one another (as when tying a parcel) as this can lead to hive parts slipping.
Sealing the top of the hive
The bees must be prevented from coming out of the top of the hive. The hive can be strapped up with the roof on but this does add to the weight. Conventionally the crown board is replaced with a travelling screen. This is basically a piece of mesh - like the mesh of a Varroa floor - that the bees cannot escape through. Its other advantage is that it allows ample ventilation. Bees can easily overheat in a closed up hive, though the Varroa floor works to avoid this so long as air is able to circulate underneath the hive.
If the hives will be moved any significant distance a piece of mesh pinned over the holes in crown board or firmly inserted and correctly set Porter bee escapes will do.
It is a two person job. Hives are heavy. Wheelbarrows can help make the job easier.