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LESSON 8: Selecting the Apiary Site

There are several factors you should consider when selecting a site to place your hives. One of the most important factors is: will there be a sufficient food source near the bees? Bees can forage usually 1-1.5 miles away from the hive fairly easily, so make sure there are food sources within that radius. Open fields with clover are excellent sources as well as near fruit trees and blackberry bushes. Take the time to examine your area to see what kinds of plants are available. Spring sources of nectar and pollen from willow, fruit trees & dandelions are very helpful for colony build-up during the spring.

Next, you want to inspect the actual land where the hives will be placed. First, make sure there is adequate wind protection for the hives. Trees or hedges at Pic_HivesInGardenground level in the direction of the prevailing winds are a must. Second, don't select an area that is in the shade too much. Long dead grass around the hives can add warmth to a hive and allows for faster colony development. When the weather gets really hot later in the summer it can be necessary to move the hive into a partially shaded area so the bees don't overheat.

When actually placing your hive on the site you have chosen there are a couple of things you should do. First, the entrance should be facing the morning sun. Second, the hive entrance should be leaning forward just a bit like in the picture.

Other factors to consider when selecting a site are:

  • Avoid Flood areas
  • Can animals get to the hives (ie bears or cattle)

2 thoughts on “LESSON 8: Selecting the Apiary Site”

  • Dennis Smith

    What options are available to protect the hives against sunks and raccoons?

    • GloryBee

      Most beekeepers put their hives on a hive stand or cinder blocks to lift them off the ground. If the beehive is off the ground about 18 inches the curious critters will have to stand on their back legs to get to the bees. This exposes their front/underbelly to the bees and the bees will convince them it’s not worth the hassle and pain.


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