Being a successful beekeeper depends on many different factors, and placing your hives is one of the most important things to ensure your colonies thrive. Believe it or not, hive placement is just as essential as deciding to keep bees, and you should decide on their permanent home before purchasing your bees. Continue reading to learn more about the factors to consider when placing your beehive.
Sun Exposure and Shade
Before choosing a spot on your property for your beehives, you should monitor the sun exposure and shade at different parts of a typical summer day. Hives should get some sun exposure in the early morning to let the bees know it’s time to get to work. If you live in a cooler climate, the bees can withstand sunlight for the entire day; however, they need some afternoon shade in warmer climates.
Bees need water and may travel several miles to find it if necessary. You can prevent your bees from traveling too far by providing a water source close to the hive. It doesn’t have to be large; in fact, a bee bath—a small container filled with water and some stones for landing—is sufficient for your bees. If you place the bee bath near the hive, your colony will have easy access to the water they need.
Although it may not seem like a big deal, your bee entrance to the hive can become very busy during the afternoon; therefore, you should keep the opening out of high-traffic areas of your yard. For instance, your neighbor may not want your hive close to their front or back door. Finding the best place for your bee entrance is one of the hardest parts of beekeeping in residential areas.
Elevating your hives is usually a good idea because it helps keep excess moisture out, and it also makes it much easier for you to lift if necessary. However, elevating it too high can make accessing honey difficult during the production season. Consider using cinder blocks or another small platform to boost your beehives off the ground.
Believe it or not, being a successful beekeeper starts before you even get your bees. With these factors to consider when placing your beehive, you’ll be able to make the best possible decision on where to put your colonies on your property.