Mount Sunapee Homestead

How to Move Beehives…and not get stung!

how to move beehives

Step 1 – Lighten the Load

Ever think about how much a hive weighs?  Me neither…until you have to lift it.  A full frame of honey from a deep box weighs roughly 10 pounds.  There are 10 frames per deep box.  Each hive has 2 deep boxes and, usually, 1 or more medium boxes.  If everything were full of honey we’re talking the neighborhood of 300 pounds! 

Trust me…harvest your honey before trying to move the hives.  You can always put some back after the move!


Step 2 – Get up before the Bees.

Why?  Simple, if you don’t beat the bees, they’ll already be flying about.  That means they’ll be agitated.  More importantly, many bees won’t be in the hive to move:  they’ll be flying around gathering pollen!

What does this mean for you?  You’re up before dawn, or you’re picking a cold day (which I wouldn’t recommend in case there’s a draft in transit).


how to move beehives

Step 3 – Close up the Hives

You don’t want bees escaping while you’re on the move!  We used duct tape, but if you don’t have a mouse excluder in the way, you can stuff grass into the entrance.  And, don’t forget the hole at the top!

Make sure you seal the entrance(s) well.  Jostled, escaped bees aren’t always friendly.

how to move beehives

Step 4 – Get ’em loaded up!

We were going over 25 miles, so we chose to use our trailer.  A truck would work fine too!  You’d want to think long and hard before loading your bees into a SUV.  Should they escape, I wouldn’t want to be driving.

We moved our hives by sliding them on a ramp to the trailer and strapped the BEJESUS out of them.  We also secured the deeps together with a couple screws to prevent sliding in transit.

how to move beehives

Step 5 – Do it all in reverse.  Or don’t.

Unfortunately, our bees’ new home was a prohibitively bumpy trailer ride.  Instead, we loaded them (again…securely and heavily strapped) onto the forks of our tractor.

Ideally, you could just slide them off of their trailer to the new home.  But, if life were always ideal, there’d be no excitement.

how to move beehives

Step 6 – Drive very carefully.

Not a lot to elaborate on here!

how to move beehives

Step 7 – Place the hives even more carefully than you drove!

Again – not a lot to elaborate on here.

how to move beehives

Step 8 – It’s like a band-aide.

You can be as slow or gentle as you want removing the duct tape.  I, for one, ripped it off and…

Ran like hell.  As it happened, the bees took a good 10 minutes to start really coming out of the hive (notice the picture is taken from far away!).  They were bonkers the whole day, so we didn’t put the electric fence up until the evening when they were all back in the hive.

how to move beehives

Believe it or not, we didn’t get stung.  Very likely luck.  

If you’re looking for more beekeeping adventures, check out some of our other posts below!!

The Dark Side of Beekeeping: Honey Robbing

How To Winterize a Beehive (and what are they doing in there?)

How to Process Honey: The Cheap Way (without an extractor)!

Beginner Beekeeping: A few tips to get your bees off and buzzing!

How To Outrun Bees and Other Beginner Beekeeping Shenanigans


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