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Third Place: Abby McCoy, West Virginia

The Wild and Wonderful Transportation of Bees

The transportation of bees can be a situation that is abuzz with excitement, but also could be a stressful event for the bees. There are several ways to help bees maintain a calm demeanor and reduce stress during a transportation event. The first thing is to make sure the weather will be warm. The second thing that you will need to do to prepare for transportation is to ensure that the hive is secure. Lastly, a thing to consider is the actual transportation method. This would be the vehicle and the conditions needed for proper transport.
The weather is one of the most important things when transporting bees safely. The best temperature to transport bees is fifty degrees Fahrenheit.The weather will need to be warm because in the colder months, the bees are dormant. They focus all their energy on protecting their queen and staying warm. If you do transport the bees during the winter, there is a chance that during the drive the bees may fall away from the cluster and will not be able to return. As a result the bees will freeze and die. Although the weather must be warm, the weather can not be too hot. If the weather is too hot your bees may overheat. When your bees overheat it will cause them to stress out. So to ensure the safety of your bees, transport them during the warm spring weather.

Once the temperature is acceptable for transportation, the next step is to secure the hive. If there are any large spaces your bees can get through, apply multiple layers of strong duct tape. For small seams in the hive, staple mesh or tulle fabric. Do not just cover all of the holes, seams and cracks with tape. This will restrict good ventilation and air flow inside of your hive. If you feel the need to have extra protection you can wrap the whole hive in tulle fabric, which can be purchased at your local fabric store. If you can’t find or don’t want to buy tulle fabric, another suggestion is to use a mesh laundry bag. You will also need to close up the entrance to the hive. You can do this early in the morning before the forager bees come out, or you can wait until night when all of the forager bees have returned. When moving the beehive into your vehicle, always suit up. The bees are not always happy with you moving their hive, especially at night. Even though you secured the hive, you should still suit up in case a bee escapes. At night, bees are more likely to crawl than fly. Guard bees are also much more quick to sting. Following these steps will ensure a safe relocation of the bees, while reducing stress.

Once you have the right temperature and have secured the hive it is time to actually transport the bees. When you go to put the bees in your vehicle, it may be tempting to put the bees in your trunk so there is a barrier between you and the bees but, your trunk does not have proper ventilation and can overheat the bees very quickly. If your hive is big enough, you can put it in the seat belt. If not you can put it on the floor in the back of your car. Have a few ratchet straps on hand to really make sure your hive is secure from all around. Make sure you drive slower to ensure your bees don’t roll around or slide even though you have taken all proper precautions. Have a spray bottle filled with cold water on hand to occasionally spray your bees. The cold water not only keeps them from overheating but it also calms the bees down. You can also use a smoker if you feel your bees need it. Make sure you have a bee suit on hand for when spraying your bees. It is not recommended to wear a bee suit while driving. The veil on the suit can vender you vision. You can wear a bee jacket if it helps to relax you. Make sure to blast your air conditioning and roll down your windows. Even though you have sealed all of the entrances some bees can and will escape. When this happens, close your windows and do not panic. The bees will fly towards the windows and not at you. Although some of the bees have escaped, that does not mean all of them will. Continue driving toward your destination and ignore the bees.

Congratulations! You have successfully transported your bees to their new location! If you have followed the steps above you bees have had a successful transport with the least amount of stress possible. If you have moved less than three miles from your old location lock the bees in their hive for seventy-two hours after transporting to the new location for them to go through the sequestration process.

Kearney, H. (2017, May 1). Blog. Beekeeping Like A Girl. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://beekeepinglikeagirl.com/
Nickson, J. (n.d.). Home – honest beekeeper. How to Transport Bees Long Distances. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://honestbeekeeper.com/

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