How to Find a Good Hive Location

 

First of all, choose a location that is easy for you to get to in order to manage the hive.  If it is too far away from your house, or too difficult to get to, you won’t want to get out to the hives as often as you should.  Make sure it is accessible in all seasons so you can check it in the winter, too.

The location should be well-drained, not swampy or subject to flooding or extended periods of standing water.

Ideally the hives should have protection from the west and north, but be exposed to the open on the south and east.  Hive entrances should face east or south or southeast.

Hives should be located off major traffic ways for human or animal traffic.

Don’t place hives directly under trees with large branches that could potentially fall on the hives.

The hives should receive sun most of the day, but some protection from the hottest sun in the mid-summer, so a location that receives morning sun, but has some filtered shade in the afternoon is ideal.

Hives should have decent access to water sources year round and to forage that isn’t very far away, and lasts throughout the growing season.

Be a good neighbor!  Make sure you let all neighbors know where your hives are, and make sure they don’t have any objections.  Don’t place hives near neighbor’s hot tubs, or in traffic ways they use.  If the neighbor does have a hot tub, be vigilant to provide a closer water source for your bees so they don’t become a nuisance to your neighbor.  If possible, provide some type of barrier, like a fence or hedge in front of the hives, so the bees have to fly up over people’s heads to exit the hive if the hive is near to the neighbor’s property.

Be aware of agricultural activities near where you place your hives.  If a field is nearby where agricultural chemicals are routinely sprayed, or if your neighbor has Tru-Green service, don’t place your hives near enough to receive over-spray.

Bees and horses are a bad mix.  Horses have very narrow nasal passages and if a bee flies up the nose and stings, the horse is much more likely to have a bad reaction than other animals.  If possible, avoid placing bees near horses.

If possible, place hives in several locations on your property and monitor how each location works.  Be willing to move hives if they don’t do well in a location.

Watch the hive density in a location.  Don’t put too many hives in one area.  In a wild setting, you don’t often find 25 feral hives in one small area!

Make each hive slightly different from the others around it, by color, or position, so the bees can landmark their hive and get back home.

The hives need to be clear of tall weeds that block the entrance, so putting down landscape cloth, a piece of wood, or concrete helps to keep it lower maintenance .