Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving Bees at Night

Honey bees have senses that are capable of detecting their surroundings very accurately. They can detect sights, colors, odors, vibrations, and even magnetism. They also have a mechanism for telling time. They use this time sense for navigating back to the hive and for foraging for plants that bloom only during part of the day. Their eyesight helps them find the flowers that they forage upon by detecting landmarks in the terrain and the colors and shapes of flowers. They can particularly determine the pattern of interruptions created by the shapes of flower petals. Honey bees can see most of the colors that humans can see with the exception of the color red. However, the honey bee can see ultraviolet, a color that humans cannot detect. The honey bee can use ultraviolet light to navigate while flying on an overcast day. They follow ultraviolet “nectar guides,” patterns in flowers directing the bees to the nectar. Bees don’t seem to have any problem in adjusting from the dark interior of their hive to the bright sunlight of a mid-day foraging flight.

Honey bees do not fly at night; they conduct their flight activities during the daylight. Beekeepers usually move bees at night, as this is the time when most of the bees are in the hive. I moved one of our bee yards, a few hives at a time over a number of evenings. In the picture, you can see one of the open hives. The picture is illuminated by a red flashlight. When working with bees at night, we use a red-colored flashlight. This color of light does not excite the bees like a white light. They seem to not even notice the red light. Oh, by the way, honey bees have five eyes, two compound eyes and three small eyes on the top of their heads.
--Richard

10 comments:

  1. what are some of the things you ask concerning the sprays that the farmers use if you take your hives to farms to pollunate their crops. please send me an e mail at phillipsbeefarm@yahoo.com thank you. enjoyed your site

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  2. Richard,

    I am getting ready to move a nuc into a hive, can I do this at night as well?

    Thanks!

    John Grounds

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  3. John,
    It is easy to move the bees from a nucleus hive to a full-size hive. Simply move one frame at a time into the new hive. The move can be made at night in order to include all of the bees.
    --Richard

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  4. John, we have a debilitated, built 1900/1903, house (wood lathe & mortar) which HAS to be demolished. Problems: #1 honeybee hive in NW exterior wall, possibly residing here at least 1 yr; #2 I am NOT willing to seal in or destroy them; #3 I am not too enthused with trying to smoke out or forcing them to move at this time of year. Any suggestions? Running out of time with the town where the house resides. Thank you, Kathy

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  5. Jo,
    Honey bees can be removed from the walls of a building and hived if you carefully cut out the combs and place them in frames. Rubber bands are handy for holding the combs in place until the bees attach the combs securely to the frames.

    Since it is now September, if you live in the northern hemisphere, you will need to make sure that you also transfer enough combs of honey to feed the bees through the upcoming winter. If you do not have enough stores of honey, you can combine these bees with another colony. Use a sheet of newspaper for the combining process.
    --Richard

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  6. I want to move my bees but some are still out the front of the hive at night. How to I get them in before I close the hive up?

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  7. Daniel,
    You can get some of the bees resting on the outside of the hive to enter the hive by gently directing them with a little smoke from your beekeeper’s smoker. However, it is almost impossible to move hives without leaving some bees behind. Any bees that are left will find a new home in nearby hives. Good luck with your hive moves.
    --Richard

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  8. I was told I had a colony of Honey bee's living in a wall of my house, this is the first time I have ever encountered anything such as this! I have had to kill them because no bee keeper wanted them, my concern is how do I know this will not happen again? Big swarm of them at 7pm and within mins they were in my house, I was told they didn't have time to do much because I took care of it right away...within 12hrs. I'm hoping this is true and I won't have to tear my siding up, could get costly.

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  9. I have a bee hive right under the eave of my house, right in the peak, about 20 ft off the ground. I had bee keepers come to collect them and my bees stung them a lot. They're aggressive but not Africanized. How can I get someone to take my bees and requeen them? I can't afford to pay the prices I've been quoted. $75 an hour! Up to 6 hours or more! How do I find someone to preserve them? They're healthy and thriving and producing like crazy.

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  10. Many people share their house with honey bees. The space between walls is very similar to a cavity in a hollow tree, the natural home of the honey bee. If the entrance to the wall cavity is high, the bees’ flight is rarely noticed. It is often unnecessary to remove the bees from your house.

    Honey bees are generally considered to be gentle creatures, but they do defend their nest by stinging. If you decide to have the bees removed from your house, be aware that bee removal takes specific training in handling bees as well as knowledge of construction and carpentry skills. Working at height while encountering bee stings makes this a difficult and potentially dangerous task.
    --Richard

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