Thursday, November 27, 2014
Moving Bee Hives
Some of you may have noticed I mentioned a project I was working on or remember my post on cleaning out the fence line and putting in the gate and that I was opening up a new bee yard. Well the truth is I am not just opening up a new bee yard but moving some of my hives back in.
I had nine hives spread out in two yards North of me a few miles on my Mom and her husbands place. One of them was right next to a public gravel road that sees a lot of traffic and it isn't just locals. I swear where half the people who travel that road come from I couldn't tell ya. The other is on a section of land behind some houses.
As it turns out both sections have now become a problem. The one close to the road has been getting visited by someone. To the point that one of the top covers was actually off and laying on the ground a couple weeks ago. The other section, besides still having the dog problem with the untrained and unrestrained Newfoundlands, happens to be on a parcel of land Mom and her Husband are thinking of selling.
While I think selling any land is a mistake (especially right now) it ain't my call nor do I have any say in it so I have just decided to move all my hives onto the Small-Hold property where I know the situation won't change. Or at least hope it doesn't I guess.
Besides I still have hives off for pollination services and circumstances can change at any time, so knowing I can move the hives on short notice when needed is pretty much mandatory without spending a mint on forklifts and trailers.
The problem is some of these three and four year old hives are damned heavy. Like 300+ pounds heavy and awkward besides.
So I designed a carrier to help move em and this morning was the first test.
I chose the smallest hive of the nine and although we moved it without a hitch I am still not convinced this set up is going to work for the other hives.
You can see what I designed. It's just two handle constructions with a 2x6" bottom board which is tightened down to the hive with tie down straps. It's basically in those three pieces and you have to kinda put it together around the hive. I sorta had this system envisioned when I decided to go with the type of bee stand arrangement I use that provides the gap for putting the support board under the hive.
The weak link(s) is/are that all the weight ends up on the two small sections of 2x4"s under the cross board. I attached those pieces with 3 inch construction screws that are rated well above 300 pounds so I doubt they will pull out but it is a concern until proven otherwise. The entire apparatus still adds more extra weight than I really wanted. When you figure a deep can weigh in at 90 pounds each, a medium at 60 pounds plus the top, bottom and carrier frame we are pushing 300 pounds at least as I said. This presents the final problem.
I can't find anyone who can lift their share of that total weight. My son comes closest but begins to struggle and every other Male I know has an injury or something. Of course the longer I wait the lighter these hives become so by January it may not be as much of an issue as it is now but I would like to get this done.
We moved the smallest hive this morning, which should have weighed in at a maximum of about 200 pounds and didn't struggle or have any problems but it wasn't so easy that I still feel overly confident about the larger hives either.
Another problem is timing and weather conditions. We cannot really take on this kind of weight in the dark so we need to wait until the temps are in the 20's so the bees aren't flying and the ground is either dry or frozen. This morning was perfect conditions but looking at the forecast the next time for good conditions now may not be until Monday morning.
At any rate the first preliminary test was a success. We got the hive moved without incident and the apparatus I designed worked. Monday though will be the true test when we will attempt to move the first of the older producing hives.
I guess we will see how that goes.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!