If I were to pick one part of beekeeping that I dislike most, I would say moving bees in the dark of night, by hand. You see, bees don’t fly when it’s dark, they crawl. They crawl all over your bee suit. And when the conditions are such they will sting the crap out you. I learned a terrible, yet valuable lesson about the temperament of ticked off bees many years ago when I was stung over fifty times one night moving hives.
The greatest challenge all beekeepers face is hive losses. The list of stresses that are prematurely killing off beehives seem to be ever increasing. No single stress is to blame for the mass die-off, but multiple stresses hitting the hive in a short period of time setting off a chain reaction. Once the hive is overwhelmed and reaches a certain threshold it begins to “crash” or collapse. CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) has become the generic term for why hives are dying, but as we analyze and take stock of past years I believe many of the answers are right before us.
Considering all the things you can do for the health of your hives nothing will help more than to place them in the ideal location. The perfect location will include a water source along with a variety of vegetation that gives the bees access to ample pollen and nectar. Since most beekeepers realize that no single location will provide the bees with year round blossoms, the next best choice is to chase the nectar by moving the hives to where it is available.
I have made three follow up visits to check on my package hives that I installed mid-April and discovered that they are greatly varied in their progress. It don’t help much that the week following the install was mainly cold with very little foraging time, even though there were plenty of blossoms to work. Knowing that this was a possibility, I prepared my equipment with one frame of granulated honey in each of the package hives. This kept them alive while they waited for the weather to warm up.