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