The Hive in Winter – moving the bees!

In October 2019 we moved from Glastonbury, Somerset to Exmoor, Devon in England. The bees were previously in an apiary (name given for several hives together) at the base of Glastonbury Tor, on an organic farm. They were happy, busy bees.

I put a lot of soul searching into re-homing/moving the bees…no professional removal company would move them (too high risk!). So, I had to call in trust and patience (and a little but of Lady Luck to come).

One October evening I taped up the Hives, sealed the entrances with sponge and loaded them into the back of my car. I set off in the dark early the next morning (bees react to sunlight) feeling excited to be moving them onto our land 2 hours away. The journey was going so well, bees were quiet and I was driving carefully to avoid bumps or any sudden stops.

As the sun came up I lowered the sunvisor ..and a black spider scurried out along the top of the windscreen! I was more concerned about the spider dropping onto me than I was 120,000 bees getting out. Any way when I arrived on Exmoor my son-in-law Will was there to help with the unloading of the hives.

We set up the support frames and managed to carry them up the slope to their new home. By this time the bees were quite noisy and wanting to get out of the Hives. Usually it is recommended they stay in and re-orientate themselves after 24 hours ..but I broke the rules (as per) and made a small entrance/exit in the sponge. A few bees came fly straight out and the more flew around in a circle to check out their surroundings..a bit different from the flat levels of Somerset.

I added some fern fronds to the entrances to help slow the bees down a bit when they were flying, and this hopefully helped then locate their new hive locations. They all soon settled down and were busy flying happily in and out with the last of the ivy pollen from the woods. Mission accomplished….but I never found where the spider went!