Safely Transporting Bee Hives in Your Car

Updated on April 29, 2016

Transporting Bees Safely

Moving a hive in your car doesn't have to be a dangerous or risky proposition. If you aren't careful though, the situation could go terribly wrong. You would hate to end up with angry bees in the car with you! Follow these 3 golden rules and all will be well with the world.

Safe transportation of bees in your car

Every once in a while you will find yourself needing to move hives of bees from one apiary to another. This is a fairly common thing to do for beekeepers to do fairly often. For example, if you are creating new nucs from some of your strongest boxes, it is more than just a good idea to move the new boxes to a different location. In fact it is a good idea to move at least two miles away.

Obviously, you aren’t going to carry them that far by hand, you will probably be relocating them by your car or truck. The best option for transporting a box of “fairly unhappy” bees is with a truck. This will keep you and them completely separated, also known as “keeping those pesky little bugs from stinging you while you are driving down the road at 60 miles an hour.” If you are lucky enough to have a truck, it is as simple as closing the hives up and driving them to the new location. Just make sure you follow the three golden rules listed below.

If you, like me, do not have access to a truck, you will probably be forced to go with your car trunk. Don’t worry, they will be fine with the heat, their hive is usually pretty warm. I wouldn’t keep them in the trunk much longer than you need to but they will certainly be fine.

There is one word of warning that I would give you if you do drive them around town in your car, please, please, please, make sure that you seal your boxes as well as humanly possible. I was in a hurry one time when taking two new nucs from one bee yard to my house. Let me share a very good mathematical formula that is very important for you to know when keeping bees:

you in a hurry / cheap tape + angry bees = not good

When I drove into my driveway, I heard a rather loud buzzing coming from my trunk. Let me tell you, it gave me a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yes, there were thousands of bees crawling around trying to find a way out of my car. I was fortunate enough to not have them find their way into the driver’s area with me while I was driving, but it certainly could have happened.

Here are three important rules to follow:

1. Use entrance reducers - this will help in keeping the areas of egress to a minimum

2. Plug all holes - some hives have ventilation holes, you don’t want them used as exits

3. Don’t scrimp on duck tape - use as much tape as you possibly can over every exit, hole and seam of the hive

I had forgotten rule #3 and had not taped the box well enough. The lid had cracked open when I hit a bump in the road and the tape didn’t hold well enough.

Follow these simple guidelines and you shouldn’t end up like I did with my little friends out of their box.

Happy Transporting!

Bee Buzz

Have you ever made a split from any of your hives before?

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What can happen if you aren't careful enough!

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      • profile image

        Chris H 13 months ago

        You forgot rule #4. (applies to car or SUV delivery) After steps 1-3 are complete:

        #4 Wrap the nuc/s with a clean bed sheet/s as insurance in case #1-3 fail during transport.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I shut hole of nuc with a towel then wentuse an old net type laundry bag with a cinch at end, slip it over nuc and close it shut. Kind of belts n suspenders but nice peace of mind. Drive a truck and usually have nuc in passenger seat next to me on swarm calls! Makes me a better driver lol much more cautious when I hear the buzz

      • jadehorseshoe profile image

        jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

        Return Visitor. Interesting Lens!

      • awestricken1 profile image

        Ken Parker 7 years ago from Tacoma, Wa

        great job on the lens.

      • Morticella LM profile image

        Morticella LM 7 years ago

        I agree with Lizzie

      • lizziehumphreys1 profile image

        lizziehumphreys1 7 years ago

        Unusual lens, but you made a good job!

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