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Thread: Hive Spacing?

  1. #1

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    I know the big commercial beeyards often have hives right next to eachother in rows...I'm just going for a hobby-size apiary. Starting out with one hive, planning to maybe expand to a absolute maximum of four. I'd like to go ahead and plan the layout now and hopefully save time and effort later.

    What I have is a gentle S-SE facing slope about 12 feet long from top to bottom, and not very wide.
    So I'm trying to figure out how best to plan to position three or four hives on the slope so that they don't interfere with eachother's defense areas or make it a pain for me to work with them. Because of the deep snow we get, they're all going to be on raised platforms. Also I'm considering the importance of eastern sunlight (at a premium thanks to all the trees) and I don't want them to shade eachother in the morning.
    So any insight you have on spacing or arrangement that works well for both the bees and the beekeeper would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Kansas
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    1,262

    Post

    Before you begin, you best research the disadvantages of starting with just one hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

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    Hey Loren!

    I'm starting my first hives next year too. Everything I've read and been told says to start with two hives. Then you have something to compare to. If one hive needs more brood, it can be taken from the other (hopefully). One may do poorly and the other great. Etc.

    I'm starting with two next spring. Living in Oregon means I can get nucs after the almond pollination finishes in CA. At least that is what I'm told.

    Now my only problem is thenucs will be in deeps and I want to move to mediums. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that.

    Pugs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Gillett, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    265

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    Pugs,
    why dont you buy packages instead??
    i've tried both i actually prefer the packages to the nucs - the key to a fast start with packages is drawn out comb
    and if you really want to do a comparison then buy 1 nuc and 1 package

    Loren,
    as for spacing i have in one yard 3 hives plus a nuc sitting no farther apart then 6-10 inches (there were originally only 2 hives about 4 foot apart, but i got a swarm and made a nuc), in the other 2 yards they are about 25-30 foot apart
    they only thing i dont like with the close neighbored ones is the working space but its not too bad

    all seem to do real well, the ones that are real close to each other wasnt suppose to be, i was suppose to have them at another yard but it never went thru so they were (temporarily) going to sit in my backyard but they're still there, ironically those are the ones that are doing the best out of all the yards/hives

    i plan on cutting out one of my yards so i only have 2 places to go, especially for the winter, i like the fact that i have at least 2 yards because of the different types of honey, my dad has alot of basswood near him - 10 miles from me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Starting out with one hive<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I started with one, and now advise others not to do the same. You can't really tell how things are going with just one, you have no emergency backup with one, and you're gonna end up with more anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Dee,

    What I was told was a package consists of bees from who knows how many different hives dumped together and then given a queen unrelated to any of the bees. In the long run, this beekeeper (who has been at it for quite a few years) said that a nuc was better to get and around here usually runs the same price as a package. What he says makes sense. I just wonder with wanting to go to medium supers, if it is the best way to go.

    I also want to go to small cell. There is a place (in Ohio?) which sells small cell packages. But then I wonder about the distance in shipping and SHB. I don't think we have SHB here in Oregon yet. I've read of them coming in packages. Sooooooooooooooo, I have lots of decisions to make.

    Which is why I like this site. I just keep reading and searching and try to ask an inteligent question now and then.

    Side note, Evolution, my e-mail client, crashed on me last week. When I re-installed it deleted my browsers. Then things got worse. I ended up installing Suse Linux 9.1 (from Suse 8.2), Firefox and Thunderbird. Of course I lost all of my e-mails and browser links. Now I'm trying to find all of those wonderful sites I found before.

    Pugs



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Post

    Nucs are nice.

    I think spacing depends on the room you have to use and other factors. I have seen robbing when they were right next to each other that stopped when I moved them two or three feet apart. But then I've had them right against each other and no problems too.

    If you have the room, put them about four feet apart and you'll have room to stack equipment around them, move around them and they won't be quite as inclined to rob.

    If you don't have the room, put them right against each other. They do ok that way.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    Packages and nuc's are nice, but feral swarms will get you to small cell a bit quicker. It's also nice to get people to pay you to take them away.

    Starting out with one is ok but not recomended. I started out with one and now have sixty, see what happens?

    I think that spacing is very important. The first thing to measure is the width of your lawnmower.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
    Posts
    814

    Exclamation

    For comfort and work ability I space my hives 2 - 3 feet apart. In this manner I can stand behind the hive and place the brood box, or honey supper right next to the hive I'm working without disturbing the neighbor hive.
    I have my bees on cinder blocks (10 inches) and then on top of a stand. Total height of the hives is about 18 inches off the ground.
    Nucs get you started fast since they already are in essence a small hive and have brood and queen already working. Packages are fun to play with and will take some time to get going since they have to release the queen and get comb drawn out plus start raising brood.
    I would definitely do at least 2 hives. You as a beginner need to be able to have something to gage each hive. Is the honey coming in, is the queen laying, are the bees 'happy' with the hive. Are they thinking about swarming. Have they swarmed, is the queen failing, have I killed the queen last time I looked in the hive, should I have more brood in the hive, etc. All these questions have to be answered each time you go into a hive. Without comparison then you don't really know how they are doing.
    Dan

    [This message has been edited by bjerm2 (edited August 10, 2004).]

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