Commercial colonies get moved all the time. --We even saw a bee-transport truck when we were on our road-trip for spring break.
But of course while I was trying to convince myself of the legitimacy of my plan national news broke with the story of a bee transport fiasco!
So I had to downsize my plan and come up with "plan B".
I lay out my plan here in video blog #3:
Here's the link to the source of the plans I consulted.
* * * * *
In the end we went with "plan C". We sold the entire colony to some friends. I didn't want to weaken the colony by removing a nucleus colony, and then have the remaining colony die on our friends. It was a really strong colony and probably would have been fine. But I didn't want to lessen the chances of our friends being successful in beekeeping.
It was a really difficult thing to do emotionally. Just feeling like I was giving up something really important in my life, and--most significantly--that I don't know when I will be able to get started with again.
In the end "plan C" was just about as crazy as plan A--it still involved moving a full colony of bees.
They sell all kinds of fancy equipment for moving bees. We didn't buy any of it. We did it our own crazy, cheap way.
So we stuffed the entrance with a cloth.
Then we separated the super from the brood boxes and wrapped the bottom of the super and top of the brood boxes with packing paper.
(Very quickly trying to not let out all the bees!)
Then we loaded them into our van, and drove them away. The top super was full of honey, so it weighed as much as the two brood boxes together.
We got to our friends' house. Unloaded it, set it up, added the second super. Instant honey-factory!
It was way more complicated than that!
I had a wardrobe malfunction (user-error) and ended up running around with bees in my hair! I was swatting at my ponytail with my hive tool trying to remove the rubber band without using my fingers and getting stung. Also, trying to not scream and freak out the friends who were going to be taking over bee-duty! (We had told them "It's sooo easy!")
And then it was over. Our bees were no longer ours.