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Hive Placement - Top 4 Factors

Location, Location, Location! Where you ultimately decide to place your hives can have a huge effect on the success you have raising healthy bees. Hive management is not possible if you don’t have egg-laying queens producing brood, so take every phase of the process as deliberately and intentionally as you can. One poor decision can wipe out even a strong colony. When placing your hives, take the time to consider these four factors.

    1. Accessibility: Place your hives in a place that is convenient and easily accessible for you. While it may be good to keep your bees in a remote area, make sure you can easily get to your hives with all your protective clothing and bee tools. Another thing to consider is honey extraction season. Deep supers full of honey can weigh as much as 90 pounds, so walking a long distance can be quite cumbersome.
    2. Sunshine: Ensure your hives get plenty of early morning sunlight. Hives placed in full sun tend to have fewer problems with diseases and pests and usually produce strong honey stores. Sunshine energizes your bees and tells the field bees that it’s time to start working and collect nectar, pollen, water and propolis. We recommend the entrance face east/southeast. Some afternoon shade is okay. Remember bees like to keep their hives at 92 degrees.
    3. Wind: Strong winds can be highly damaging to hives, with wind chills disrupting, and possibly wiping out, colonies of bees. You can use natural windbreaks, like trees, shrubs and hillsides, or place your hive near a structure, such as a building or fence. When placing your hives near wind-barriers, it is best if it the windbreaks are at least one foot taller than the hives and about 4-6 feet behind the hives. If too close, the barriers could end up directing the wind up through the screened bottom board.
    4. Traffic: Safety first—both for you and your bees. Place your hives where there is no traffic, human or otherwise. If you’re an urban beekeeper, you may want to place your hive in a fenced-in area. Dick, our founder, places his hives parallel to a fence so as not to inhibit the bees’ flight path, which also runs parallel to the fence.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is,” but if you continue with good hive management practices, your bees will be saying, “Home is where the honey is.” And that’s some sweet-talking every beekeeper loves to hear.

Want to learn more? Check out our Beekeeping 101 tutorials.

8 thoughts on “Hive Placement - Top 4 Factors”

  • Dennis Smith

    What is a good strategy for placing a hive near our home vs far away? I'm concerned with bees getting into our home's small cracks, attic, or out buildings. Our home is on 8 acres in an area where other homes occupy from 8-20 acres. We also don't want to cause problems for our neighbors

    Reply
    • GloryBee

      You can place the bees either near your home or on a more remote location away from the home. The bees will always return to their beehive and will not invade those cracks, attics or out buildings. The only time you have to be concerned about this issue is when they swarm. If your beehive swarms they take half the hive and the old queen and find a new home, which could be in those inviting open spaces.

      Usually it is the wasps and yellow jackets who make their home in the rafters, cracks and walls so watch for those.

      Placing your hive next to a home is not an issue but make sure it is out of the traffic pattern of pets, pedestrians and motor vehicles.

      Reply
  • Shane

    If you have hives in your yard, would you use the mower in the afternoon or is it to much disturbance.

    Reply
    • GloryBee

      Shane, Thanks for the question. Basically bees pay close attention to the sun. If it's light out, they'll be busy and could possible get agitated. We'd probably recommend mowing in the very early morning or dusk. Another option would be to wait until the temp gets under 60 degrees, but that might not be an option depending on your geographic location. Please note that there are a lot of variables and one hive may respond differently than another, and hives can respond differently on different days.

      Reply
  • Keith Love

    First hive, new beekeeper. We live in a neighborhood, end of the road, up against 200 acres of forest land. I have our hive set up in the far back corner of our backyard, out beyond a fence in a clearing of blackberry bushes. The hive is just 5 yards outside of our backyard. Im optimistic that our family and bees all can coexist in our backyard space. Should i be worried about the bees pushing us out of our own yard?

    Reply
    • GloryBee

      Keith, Thanks for reaching out. Make sure to face the hive in a south to southeast direction so the bees get morning sun. Keep it out of the path of family pets and humans. The bees will fly up and away in the direction they face and are then foraging for nectar or pollen and will not normally disturb the family. Be sure to check out our beekeeping 101 lessons here as well.

      Reply
  • charles

    I start my first 2 hives this yea r. in apr 20. do then do I start to watching for my bee to swarm. and when do I need to thank about split my hives or add a new box, and do I need to star feed then your Bee Pro Plus Patties whin I get my nukes, how you can help my thank you

    Reply
    • GloryBee

      Charles, Thanks for reching out. You will want to add room when the bees are on 7 of the 10 frames to prevent swarming. In addition you will want to feed sugar water until the nectar flow starts. A pollen patty would help the new package to build brood. Be sure to check out our beekeeping 101 lessons located here.

      Reply

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