Have I mentioned that patience is not a virtue I possess? Well….

Thursday, following a hive check, we moved the hive another 2 – 3 feet; this was the second move. I had pre-measured to the new location and had done some cursory, albeit insufficient, leveling of the area. We moved them late in the day, but while there were still foragers out. Immediately, we could see bees go to the old hive location and then slowly circle about until they found the new location. This is, in my opinion, why the rule of thumb states that it is safe to move up to three feet in one occurrence. Three feet seems to be in their immediate search radius and they find the new location with little wasted effort. I still placed a few apple twigs and leaves along the entrance to indicate that things had changed to any bees who later left the hive.

In my preparations, I realized that it would require another three moves to get to the final location, and it was going to take me through an area with a lot of vegetation that might provide the ants with another access. My friend the beekeeper reminded me to remove any touching vegetation, which cost the adjacent toyon a nice bunch of soon-to-be berries. Those pesky ants again! My new supply of Optigard is on the way, but I don’t know that we’ll ever be completely free of ants so long as I refuse to treat the property. I’m just not interested in the resulting collateral damage to the rest of the insect population that comes with more extensive pest control.

Seeing how the bees seemed to find the new location fairly quickly and in my impatience to get the hive re-situated, I decided on a simple experiment. Last night, I waited until it was dark and there was no activity at the hive. My husband and I then moved the hive the full remaining distance to the final location, placing new branches, this time toyon (from the earlier clipping) and sage, along the entrance to partially block the openings.

I chose Saturday night because I had ample time today (Sunday) to get up early and watch the bee response. I also would be able to move the hive back to the prior location they were completely lost. I woke up at 6 am and rushed out to observe the results. Watch the video to see for yourself! (I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing, so forgot to video right away) Spoiler alert: stable branches are critical.