Hive Migration to Exmoor

The clover finishes near the end of July and North Devon has nothing more to offer our bees. Fortunately Exmoor is very close and has plenty to offer; acres and acres of heather. The heather begins as the clover ends so it is all hands on deck to get all 1500 hives up to the moors as quickly as possible.
Paddy, Ian, Polish Pete and Handy Andy work through the night transporting the hives on trailers behind two tractors and a land rover. We move around 200 hives per night. Hives are always transported at night so the bees are in the hives when they are moved. Moving a colony of bees during the day means leaving some of the workforce behind, especially if the weather is good because bees are out foraging.

Driving back across Exmoor at sunrise is a magical experience, the views on a misty morning will take your breath away. Plus there are the animals: ponies; deer; buzzards; merlins and kestrels to name a few.
Over the years we have used many different vehicles to dray the hives. Land Rovers have always played a big part.

Land rover 109 and 101 loaded with hives.

Land Rover Series 2 110 Forward ControlĀ  and Land Rover 101 loaded with hives.

Land rovers loaded.

Land Rovers loaded ready for an early morning start up to the moors.

Then we moved on to tractors and trailers which enabled us to carry more hives per vehicle and even did some of the lifting for us.

Tractor loading hives.

The tractors can load heavy pallets of hives and pull trailers with 100 hives on. The pallets are netted because sometimes we are on the road in daylight using this method.

These days we have an even easier method. The hives are permanently palletised four per pallet and the pallets are loaded onto trailers using a land rover defender with a forklift on the back.

land rover with pallet.

Please read on to learn a bit about Autumn Beekeeping at Quince Honey Farm.