Distance between hives
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  1. #1

    Default Distance between hives

    Hey everyone,

    So I'm relatively new to this field and I've just been researching beekeeping for now. I've noticed on several threads that there's a lot of discretion advised when placing beehives (such as 4 hives to a pallet or separating them by a couple feet). If I were just keeping a few hives recreationally (not commercially), what would you recommend? I'm confused on the varied answers. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,719

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    Ideally, hives are spaced at fairly wide intervals to help avoid drifting and disease transmission. Unfortunantly, for the vast majority of us, that is simply not practical. Space your hives as you see fit to work into your landscape. One thing most of us do is leave enough room behind the hive to work it from the rear. I place my hives on a stand made of 4x4x8's and get 5 10-frame hives per stand. They are almost touching each other. The stands are about 5 feet apart so I can get the mower through and are arranged in a square with the entrances facing inwards. Everyone has their own way and they all seem to work.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    I have no scientific evidence to support my thoughts but this is what I have experienced over the past 10 years. I keep about 15 hives on my back property in an oak type forested area that is cleared. They are spaced about 10 feet apart in rows of 3-4. I also as an experiment keep about 3 hives near the back of my home in a an oak type Forest in a cleared area. I place them about 5 feet apart in a linear pattern from north to south. These 3 hives that are less congested do much better. Most significantly the hive located to the furthest south does better than any of the hives regardless of location. For example I often have 3-6 supers on that hive whereas in terms of the others I only have 1-2 supers. Also the hive located to the furthest north does almost as well, and the middle hive does the worst. This has been a horrible year for me here in Illinois, but I believe the same scenario will hold true. The north to south process makes no difference in the other more dense yard. I believe there may be some significance to the to less density at least in my instance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,881

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    I put out my thoughts on this exact subject here:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...81#post1740281

    Feel free to read or ignore.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,094

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    Put them where you want. An established colony really doesn't care much if they fly onto a hive a foot away or a mile away. Like us, they know where they live.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Plannerwgp View Post
    I have no scientific evidence to support my thoughts but this is what I have experienced over the past 10 years. I keep about 15 hives on my back property in an oak type forested area that is cleared. They are spaced about 10 feet apart in rows of 3-4. I also as an experiment keep about 3 hives near the back of my home in a an oak type Forest in a cleared area. I place them about 5 feet apart in a linear pattern from north to south. These 3 hives that are less congested do much better. Most significantly the hive located to the furthest south does better than any of the hives regardless of location. For example I often have 3-6 supers on that hive whereas in terms of the others I only have 1-2 supers. Also the hive located to the furthest north does almost as well, and the middle hive does the worst. This has been a horrible year for me here in Illinois, but I believe the same scenario will hold true. The north to south process makes no difference in the other more dense yard. I believe there may be some significance to the to less density at least in my instance.
    Keep in mind hives in a row often have drift to the end hive. the center ones are likely to loose the most bees. some deviation of entrance angle and Hive color can help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,761

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    385

    Default Re: Distance between hives

    I'm working on 100 yards apart per hive: I've made great progress this year but with 45 hives it'll take a couple of seasons. I received permission from all the local farmers in the area to go ahead and place them wherever I want so today I placed two against wetlands with a huge swamp mallow blossom going on.

    I have 14 left at my home yard and can probably support 6 to 8 of them with the spacing I desire.

    I still have a lot of work to do as most yards still have 2 to 5 hives next to each other.

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