Inter-island transport in December?

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2
1
Manawatu
Experience
Hobbyist
Hi guys,

In the second week of December this year I'm required to move house from the mighty Manawatu down to Otago for work.
I have two hives that I'm rather fond of, and preferably I'd love to bring them with me.

Has anyone got any thoughts/pearls of wisdom regarding the ferry and other transport that time of year? A few experienced beeks I've talked to seem horrified by the thought of trying to move them over that period, worried they'll cook on the boat due to such high activity levels.

I can't leave them here until the winter unfortunately.

Am I better off just selling them off up here then starting fresh down south?

Hugely appreciate any insights!
 
Solution
The problem is not so much the heat but the fact that when bees get hot they attempt to cool the hive by fanning. If there is insufficient is circulation then all the fanning does is create more heat. The hotter they get the more they fan and the more heat they produce. The final act is the bees regurgitating whatever they have in their stomachs followed very rapidly by death. It ain't pretty and it absolutely can and has happened with truckloads of covered bees and planes full of packages.
I have never taken bees across Cook Strait but I would imagine that you could try a refrigerated freight truck.
If I was going to attempt it in a private vehicle I would have fully ventilated screen boards top and bottom with everything screwed and...

Alastair

Founder Member
8,171
9,408
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
If your car is parked in the sun with windows shut and gets super hot then yes, the bees would perish.

I moved 2 hives between islands in a car once but the car was parked below deck so heat wasn't an issue. I took the lids off and nailed wire gauze over the top so the bees could ventilate and would not be able to clog the gauze as they migh if the gauze was at the bottm.

But if you are worried about it then yes, selling and re buying may be a more worry free option.
 
3,394
6,305
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
The problem is not so much the heat but the fact that when bees get hot they attempt to cool the hive by fanning. If there is insufficient is circulation then all the fanning does is create more heat. The hotter they get the more they fan and the more heat they produce. The final act is the bees regurgitating whatever they have in their stomachs followed very rapidly by death. It ain't pretty and it absolutely can and has happened with truckloads of covered bees and planes full of packages.
I have never taken bees across Cook Strait but I would imagine that you could try a refrigerated freight truck.
If I was going to attempt it in a private vehicle I would have fully ventilated screen boards top and bottom with everything screwed and stapled together as the bees would not be happy if they got out. Given plenty of airflow and absolutely kept out of direct sunshine I would expect them to survive the journey.
It would be a good idea to have some ice packed around them especially when parked on the ferry. Far better to get them a bit cold than a bit hot. Misting periodically with cold water would also help
I transport a lot of cell raises with just bottom ventilation on some very hot days and I have only once lost any to heat and that was an unbelievably hot day. Even then as soon as I put them in the shade I had no further losses. The stronger the hive of course the more heat it will produce and the more ventilation it will need. Don't expect them to be overly friendly when you let them out at the other end.
Make sure they have enough stores to last the journey but I would not feed them on the journey. In the early days bees came to New Zealand on sailing ships through the tropics so I don't see why you couldn't get them from the North Island to the South Island.
Just remember, if you shut them in any sort of a vehicle without ventilation then you can expect them to die quickly and horribly. Good luck.
 
Solution

Mummzie

Staff member
Gold
1,114
990
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
You be quite busy with many other things getting settled in a new region. Do you know where you will be living? have you had a chance to check if there is adequate forage in the new location. Are there bees next door for example?
My opinion is to start again with bees from the local area, once the dust settles- or after you have experienced a southern winter.
Good luck with the move.
 

Otto

Gold
74
164
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
I would recommend finding a good home for them up there and starting again down here. Like elsewhere in the country it is not difficult to get set up with bees down here.
I would think December is the worst time of year to move beehives in every way (heat, size of colonies etc).
 
271
200
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Has anyone got any thoughts/pearls of wisdom regarding the ferry and other transport that time of year? A few experienced beeks I've talked to seem horrified by the thought of trying to move them over that period, worried they'll cook on the boat due to such high activity levels.
If you were taking a curtainsider on the ferry and a massive amount of hives, and the ferry crossing was calm maybe. But you are only taking two. All you need is a rough crossing and you might end up with bees where you don't want them, causing mega stress. There are so many shysters in our industry, and those with bizarre beekeeping practises,, I suggest you contact the above Dunedin based beekeepers who have made comments, when you get to Dunners. If they can't supply a hive, hopefully they will point you in the right direction for hives and maybe a good beekeeping club.

I would just like to say that no Italians were harmed while I was typing these comments.
 
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5,576
5,952
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Over the years we have sent truck loads of bees North, and South.
Mostly they make it alive. They need to be kept cool.
They get booked in on the 2.00 am sailings which are generally more freight than people.

For a couple of hives, put mesh on the entrance and replace the lid with mesh so they don't cook.
If the hives are super strong in December, perhaps plan to split them a week or so before the move.
Apart from that, there's nothing to it .....much
 

tommy dave

Gold
BOP Club
175
197
mostly wellington, sometimes dunedin
Experience
Hobbyist
Over the years we have sent truck loads of bees North, and South.
Mostly they make it alive. They need to be kept cool.
They get booked in on the 2.00 am sailings which are generally more freight than people.

For a couple of hives, put mesh on the entrance and replace the lid with mesh so they don't cook.
If the hives are super strong in December, perhaps plan to split them a week or so before the move.
Apart from that, there's nothing to it .....much
^there's also the drive from picton to dunedin to consider
 
1
0
Wairarapa
Experience
Hobbyist
Thanks for all the advice guys. Destination is Dunedin, and I can't imagine it'd be too difficult to find a new lot down there to restart with.
And JonoB, I would like to buy the hives! I would like to do it sooner rather than waiting for December. You will need to get your AFB inspection done first though.
 
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Mummzie

Staff member
Gold
1,114
990
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
And JonoB, I would like to buy the hives! I would like to do it sooner rather than waiting for December. You will need to get your AFB inspection done first though. Peter 0211489270
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