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I have found little information regarding the ideal distance between colonies to prevent drifting, etc. Some apiaries keep the boxes within six inches while others provide several feet. I have a stand that will accommodate two colonies with a spacing of 6 inches. Input is much appreciated!
 

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I have a stand that will accommodate two colonies with a spacing of 6 inches.
Ues it, drifting is not generaly a problem unless you have just installed a bunch of packages but it can happen.
 

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I installed my 4 packages on 2 seperate stands each stand has about 6" between hives and the 2 stands are 5' apart. There was definitely some drifting and 1 hive in particular got more bees than the other 3, but not enough to worry about.

Blueline
 

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From "The Beekeeper's Handbook" regarding hive orientation: "The hives within a pair should be 6-8 inches apart (15-20 cm), and there should be 5-8 feet (1.5-2.4 m) between pairs. This spacing minimizes vibrations and jostling while working a colony but keeps the hives close enough together to make work more efficient." The authors have other recommendations to reduce drifting like placing hive pairs in a horseshoe configuration. It's not a bad book -- one of 3 I've been referring to as I familiarize myself with beekeeping.
 

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I was fortunate enough to attend a beginner beekeeping class taught by Virginia Tech professors. It was pointed out that bees have a limited ability to "count," i.e. if you lined up 4 hives, they knew theirs was the third from the left.

However, the study also showed that their ability to differentiate was improved if there was a pattern on their hive. It didn't matter what the pattern was, but as long as it was different from the neighboring hives, they seemed to find their own much easier. Makes sense, since bees find tasty flowers in different shapes & colors, and communicate that info within the colony.

And yes, it was probably someone's graduate thesis.
 

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If you have two hives on one stand and wish to keep them from drifting, face them opposite directions.

Bees often drift from their original hive to the ones further down the line because of the wind. They aim for oneentrance and get blown off course, ending up in a different colony.
 

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My hives are about 8' apart. When i paint my boxes, i have started to use different patterns on the box. I.e. white on bottim, blue on top for hive 1, and hive 2 is blue on bottom, white on top. Do the same with the green ones...
 

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An artist friend has offered to host a hive at her place in the country. I'm making up a hive body just for her to get creative before any bees move in. Can't wait to see what she does with it.
 
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