If only it was always so easy!
If only it was always so easy!
Siting your Beehive

Siting of your beehive clearly needs careful thought. It may seem idyllic to have the hive in the middle of the lawn, facing the house, so that you can watch the comings and goings of the workers. But, no matter how fascinating the bees are, their presence is going to cause some problems. Flying bees, for example, can be a real problem when it comes to cutting the grass; whoever does the washing in the family is not going to react kindly to brown marks left on the washing after cleansing flights, also a flight path over an area used for sunbathing could lead to some unpleasant experiences! Parked cars are also not immune!

If you are going to have the hive in your garden, think about location, so that it does not bother the family or neighbours. In an out-apiary, again think about neighbours, but here security and ease of access are also important. Hopefully you will eventually be removing supers of honey: there is nothing worse than having to carry heavy supers across yards and yards of rough ground before you reach your car.

The site for the hive should be carefully levelled. Ideally there should be some method of providing a solid, weed-free base: possibly paving stones on which to place the hive. Hive stands, - some method of raising the hive above the ground-, will help keep the hive floor dry and will facilitate easy lifting of frames and heavy boxes. Try to provide shelter from strong winds, but do not place hives under overhanging trees: you want the early morning sunshine to get to the bees as soon as possible, and to avoid the annoyance of water dripping from branches onto the hive. It goes without saying that the site should be well drained, but a source of fresh water should be available.

Some beekeepers suggest that the hive entrance should face south-east, so that the early morning light rouses the bees. However, this is not a major consideration. More important is that the hive is so placed that the flight path of the bees is away from occupied areas. It may be necessary to place the hive facing a fence, netting or hedge so that the bees are forced to fly up and above occupied areas. Hive entrances should be tilted slightly down, to discourage rainwater from running down inside the hive.

Take some time to find the right place for the beehive. If you do need to move the hive within the apiary, it can be moved in short distances, possibly three-foot or so every few days. Any more and the bees will be disorientated. So to move the hive across the garden, move it in small stages over a period of a number of days.

Moving the hive to another apiary could also present a few problems if it is nearby. If nectar and pollen are proving scarce in the immediate vicinity, foraging bees can fly up to two miles from the hive to find what they require and still return to the precise site of their hive. When moving a hive to a new site, it is therefore advisable to move it further than this as some or all of the bees may return to the original site.