Through a screen darkly
Yesterday I fixed up a small hive with upper and lower ventilation, strapped it together, and added a Brushy Mountain Bee Farm moving and robbing screen, partially painted. My plan is to move this hive further from the house–away from the dog–and I will use the method I outlined in the post, “How to move a hive.” Although I’ve moved hives before, this is my first time using the moving and robbing screen, and so far I’m impressed.
It is designed to be left in place all the time if you want. But I just plopped it down in front of the hive yesterday, then strapped it on with a tie down. Once the bees were in last night, I simply closed the three entryways. Very quick and easy. I can’t say the bees are real happy, but I am. I like the fact that there is a space for the bees to go out on the porch for some air and go back in anytime. It’s also reassuring because I can see that they are fine, that they are only annoyed and perplexed.
I will move the hive to its new location, leave them locked up for three days, and then remove the screen. It seems more secure than trying to stuff an entrance reducer in the opening and trying to make it stay there during the moving process.
The entrance at the top left (mounted over the metal sheet) is designed to let the bees come and go without letting robbers in. If you had robbers, you would keep the two lower entrances closed and only use the top one. From what I’ve read, robbers follow their noses and will continually try to fly straight in from where the scent is coming. The metal sheet diverts the scent to the side, so the robbers keep working that area while the real entrance is just above the metal screen. Apparently the bees that live there can figure this out, but the bees that don’t belong are continually flummoxed by this arrangement.
I purchased the screen recently to use against robbing bees, but yesterday as I was painting it, I remembered I could use it for moving this hive. So I stopped painting (mid-stroke it appears) and set it up. Of course, it’s been rainy and miserable for weeks on end and now that they’re locked up it’s sunny and warm. I told them I was sorry . . . it’s the best I can do.