The Association has two hive lifters to assist in moving hives. All association equipment is used at the borrower’s risk.
Two people are needed to use the Hive Lifter but it makes the lifting and loading of hives onto a truck or trailer much simpler..

Hive lifter ready for use
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Hive lifter in use
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Hiring Rules: The hive lifters are for “Members Use Only”
A hiring period is Friday night to Sunday or Sunday to Friday. Obviously you can return it earlier if you have finished with it.
Bookings: Bookings can be made by emailing president@actbeekeepers.asn.au
If there is no answer please leave your name and number and the period you want the equipment for and we will call you back. Please return the equipment when you say you will so the next hirer will not be disadvantaged.
Cost: Cost for hire is $5 for each hiring period. A deposit is not required.
Purchase: Any member wanting to purchase a hive lifter can have one made by ordering through Bruno Ehrensperger, phone 6286 1515.
Cleaning: The hirer is responsible for picking up and returning the equipment in a clean and hygienic condition.

Here are some hints for moving hives from the March 2008 Association Newsletter

March 2008 reminders – Moving beehives

This month I have a few reminders and hints on shifting beehives. Calamities can be avoided by careful planning, taking due care and watching these details. I have had more strife in moving hives than in any other beekeeping activity. I remember the first time I was asked to remove an old beehive and bees from the backyard of a Canberra suburban home. I bundled up the hive and took it away in the afternoon. When I reached home, the occupant of the house was on the phone saying that bees were causing havoc in the neighbourhood and stinging the neighbours.

I had not left anywhere for the returning field bees. I had to make a hasty return to place a new hive for them to be removed later in the evening.

Problems can arise from:

Disorientation
Bees familiarise themselves with their surroundings and can return to the exact location of the hive. If field bees are left without a home, they will be lost to the colony and can react angrily to any people around. Guarding against disorientation depends on the distance to be moved. Moves of up to 3 or 4 kilometres should be done in two stages. First to a location several kilometres away – say over 5 – and second to the permanent location several weeks later. Moves of 5 kilometres or greater do not usually cause disorientation problems.

Overheating and suffocation

Commercial beekeepers often move hives with the entrances open but, as amateurs, I suggest closing the entrance securely for moves longer than a few metres. To ensure adequate ventilation for long trips, I suggest preparing a special migratory lid with wire gauze on the top to allow air flow and supply of water.

Drowning in unripe honey 

Once I loaded a beehive in Bungendore onto the trailer soon after dark to move it to Canberra. The bees had been on a heavy honey flow. When I had reached Canberra, the bees had drowned in the unripe honey. Movement on a truck, trailer or in a car boot will dislodge any thin unripe honey, which will swish around the hive and swamp bees, drowning many and weakening or even wiping out the colony. To guard against this problem, bees on a honey flow should be given the opportunity to ripen the honey before setting out. Wait until early morning before starting the trip.

Inadequate closing of hive

After the bees have ceased flying in the evening, give them a few puffs of smoke and close the hive securely. A wooden block you have prepared previously works best but foam rubber or packaging tape can be used. Try to close the entrance with one swift movement. Fussing around the entrance tends to unsettle the bees. The trick is to practice without the bees. Entrances on plastic hives are more difficult to block as they face upwards.

Inadequate tie down

This may seem obvious but the beehives do need to be secured with hive locks and securely fastened to the truck, trailer or boot. If they become dislodged during the trip, bees will escape.

Moving without protective clothing

If bees escape during the trip, travel motion will normally keep them clustered around the entrance. However, keep protective clothing handy just in case. Don’t lock it in the boot with the bees. You may find the boot full of angry bees when you open it.

Before you move hives for the first time, for more details, I suggest you consult the BEE AGSKILLS book published by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Members can borrow or buy the book from the library.