Question: Hive orientation for winter
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    S.E. Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Default Question: Hive orientation for winter

    Hi all - Still pretty new here in S.E. Indiana Ohio River Valley area. I had lots of splits this year going from 2 to 8 colonies. Half of my hives are now facing North instead of south because they are bunched so close to each other. Should I be moving those facing North to turn them toward the South before winter sets in? I haven't seen any robbing going on over the past couple of months.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,756

    Default Re: Question: Hive orientation for winter

    My hives are arranged in a large square pattern so I have hives facing all four cardinal points. Can't say I see any diiference in their performance. The ones facing west do seem a little more active later in the evening.

    You may want to make sure you have a wind break so any cold winds from the north are not blowing into the hives.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,490

    Default Re: Question: Hive orientation for winter

    I tried facing hives facing west and north, they were the last hives to make purging flights. most all of them the clusters were packed on the backside of the hives, the warmer sides. So it’s east or south for em in the winter.
    Rod

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,756

    Default Re: Question: Hive orientation for winter

    Brings up a few questions, are your hives in an open field, or do you have trees all around? Could make a big difference in how you orient the hives. My hives are in a narrow clearing, my backyard, that has 60' trees surrounding it. The west facing hives had brood in the front half of the frames, warm side, and stores in the backside of the same frame, coming out of winter. They clearly preferred the warmth the sun provided for early spring brood rearing.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    S.E. Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Question: Hive orientation for winter

    Thanks all. My apiary has old forest North about 70' away, and west about 150' away. East there is a fence line with old growth cedars and such and then down a ravine back up to a tree-lined crest. I have shadow box fencing on the west and north sides of the apiary as well for windbreak I put up last year. I think what I'm taking away is that it is not ideal to have north facing entrances, but with my windbreaks I'm probably okay to go as is into this winter and just observe how they do. Thank you all for the advice.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,585

    Default Re: Question: Hive orientation for winter

    If you would like to turn them around at some point so they are all facing south my preference would be to do it in early winter when the bees are clustered and not flying. When they do come out on warm days for cleansing flights they will reorient to the new entrance location.

    You can do it now while the bees are flying and foraging but you will probably have a lot of confusion and possible drifting. If you are just turning them around and not really moving them I think doing it in the winter would be less trouble for the bees in general. You can lean branches or other objects in front of the entrance which will help to trigger reorientation when they do exit the hive.
    To everything there is a season....

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