One of the most important things that you can do to ensure the success of your hives as well as your successes as a beekeeper is to ensure that you place your beehives in the proper location. This is just as important as keeping bees and should be considered prior to installing your bees in their permanent home. Season changes, climate, sunlight, and the elements are all things that can affect the bees and your ability to care for them. It is also much more difficult to move your hives to a different location during the middle of their foraging season. Here are some helpful tips before you set up your hives.
1. Sun or Shade or Both– Depending on where you live in the country and your temperatures in the height of summer, watch the hours of sunlight and when locations in your yard are in full sun. The hive should be placed in early morning sun. This gets the bees out of their hive earlier in the day to forage. In the Northeast, hives can remain in the full sun for the entire season. However in places with warmer climates, hives should receive some afternoon shade.
2. No direct wind– Hives should be placed in an area with a wind break such as a fence, shrubbery, trees or bushes. This is especially true in climates where temperatures drop below freezing. Northern facing sides of the hive should especially be protected in the winter in the northern United States. In the Northeast, hive entrances should optimally be faced south or southeast.
3. Space Between– Make sure you put proper space between the hives in order to work them. You should be able to comfortably walk between and around them.
4. Perfect Height– Elevate your hives on cinder blocks or a platform to help keep ground moisture out and allow you work the hive without harm to your back. Elevated hives make for easier lifting. However, do not make the platform too high. You do not want the honey supers difficult to access during the foraging season.
5.Water Source– A water source should be nearby. This can be a birdbath or even a small water pot filled with pebbles for landing and water.
6. Facing Entrances– Face entrances in the opposite direction of foot traffic. The bees won’t mind and this helps to prevent the bees perceiving people and pets that walk in front of the hive entrances as potential threats.
7. Ease of Access– You should be able to see the hives and access them easily too. This helps you to provide the inspections and care that the hives requires.
8. Consider Predators– Check with your local agencies to determine if you have predators in the area such as skunks or bears. Electric or strong fencing may be required to ensure the safety of your hives.
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