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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    378

    Default what direction should a hive face

    I checked my hives that I moved two weeks ago today. I had another beekeeper with me when I moved the hive and he suggested in be put in a certain direction. When I went to check the hive today it was rather windy. I noticed the wind was blowing right into the hive. What general direction should I place the hive? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Seneca Falls, NY
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Towards the sunrise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    4,300

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I look at a few factors for placing a hive.

    Towards the major flows direction. Sometimes the major flows come from one direction more than others, it depends on your location.

    Towards the direction of least winds, especially in winter.

    East for the morning sun, taking in to consideration all other factors.

    If it applies, the direction where it is easiest for me to work the hive.

    Away from public or visiting people traffic.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,927

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Facing the entrance to the South or East may wake the bees earlier. The prevalent wind may be a greater concern especially in the Winter. Whatever you do someone will disagree.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I like out...as the bees can never leave for work if the entrance faces back into the hive :P

    Seriously, though, I face my hives in alternating directions...one faces N, next faces E, then S, then W and so on...when your hives are really close together, alternating directions that the entrances face seems (in my experience) to limit the number of bees who try to go in the wrong home & get jumped by guard bees who think them robbers Also, if you face your hives all different directions, in 20 years or so you may have gathered enough data to see if it really makes any difference at all which way they face!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    3,403

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I face mine south for more than one reason.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    11,632

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    If you are migratory it isn't going to matter. If the hives are impermanent I would say in the second quadrant, east to south.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,249

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I find that my bees do not like the winds that much. On a strong windy day it will make their flying an uphill battle.
    So I screen them in with weed guard around a few metal stakes so the winds cannot blow directly into their hive entrance. Problem solved.
    The best direction I found out is morning sun facing the hive entrance (warm them up faster) and afternoon sun facing the back of the hive (not
    too hot in summer so they don't have to fan that much.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,118

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    All things being equal, east or sunrise (which is more east southeast). But often things aren't "equal" and they face whatever is convenient for me...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Good answer, Michael. In my case the entrances need to face downhill so the rain doesn't run inside. Also, having the hives in a sunny location is more important, imo, than having the direction that they face.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,855

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I face mine east, prevalent winds are north or south and the hives get afternoon shade so if they're bearding they can beard in the shade.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,118

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Where I live the prevailing winds in a storm are from the West or the North. The other issue is getting morning sun seems to get them going earlier. So facing the sunrise has that effect. In addition, though, it means the entrance is probably not directly in the sun by the time the heat of the day is on, as the sun will be coming more from the South or West.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    1,007

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    So that walking / mowing / farming traffic is out of the flight path.....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,118

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    >So that walking / mowing / farming traffic is out of the flight path.....

    Exactly. That's why mine don't always face East...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    thomasville, north carolina USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Now that is something I never thought of..
    Quote Originally Posted by hilreal View Post
    So that walking / mowing / farming traffic is out of the flight path.....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    seattle, wa
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Our PNW Pineapple Express weather tends to come from the SW off the Pacific Ocean. Our Winters are more wet with moderate winds than ice, snow or freezing temps. My hives face north. Mostly because that seems the direct path to the greenbelt food source.
    Elev 407 ft 47.39 N, 122.15 W

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,477

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    If placing hives in the north (north anywhere in the US from NY to OR) keep in mind that during the main foraging months the sun actually rises in the northeast, not the southeast. So if you want to wake them up to go to work earlier, then a northeastern front orientation will do that better than a southeastern orientation, which is where the sun is in the winter when they are just hanging out inside all day.

    (If you live in the deep south, SC to southern CA, you can ignore this as the sunrise position doesn't change as much over the course of the year.)

    My own hives in northern NY face almost due south, but that's because of wind protection more than anything else.

    If you happen to know someone in the solar biz, ask them if they will come and use a "Solar Pathfinder" instrument on your proposed hive location(s). It will help you choose the best possible position by identifying the seasonally-changing barriers to sunlight. My husband sells solar equipment so I used one, and discarded several site candidates on my farm that otherwise looked really promising. Even relatively small changes (say, moving the hives in one direction a foot or so) made big increases in the amount of sunlight they would receive. I thought that after 25 years of farming here, I knew my place well-enough to choose the sunniest place. I was wrong, though, and the Pathfinder helped me find the optimal spot (after I had identified other critical factors, especially the prevailing winter winds.)

    I have a beekeeping friend nearby, and her bees are still in their hives for hours after mine emerge, and are all tucked up while mine are still foraging in the early evening. We have the similar temps, wind, and forage opportunities. But her bees are affected by extremely local-to-her obstacles to the sun. I'm hoping to use the Pathfinder at her place so we can find a better spot for her apiary.

    Enj

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,582

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    I have mine facing every which way, but all in full sun. They are either clusters of 5 facing inward in a horseshoe pattern or 4 per pallet with one hive's entrance overhanging each of the 4 sides of the pallet. I've not noticed any consistency of better production, overwintering, demeanor, etc with any hive facing a particular direction versus it's respective counterparts.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: what direction should a hive face

    Quote Originally Posted by robherc View Post
    ... I face my hives in alternating directions...one faces N, next faces E, then S, then W and so on...when your hives are really close together, alternating directions that the entrances face seems (in my experience) to limit the number of bees who try to go in the wrong home & get jumped by guard bees who think them robbers
    This is what I do as well. I've notice the cutouts that have been done over the last two years, entrance direction is irrelevant, as well as internal arrangement or volume. What I HAVE noticed upon opening the hives this spring, the small amount of brood in each was located, not in the middle, but closer to the side that the sun shines on.

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