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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I attended the SABA seminar today with speakers Tom Seeley, Jerry Hayes and a protege of Tom Seeley's Michael Smith. Tom had mentioned that facing hives in different directions in your apiary would help with not transmitting diseases and varroa to neighboring hives in the same yard or grouping...I think that he meant you could turn existing hives in different directions, not just new hives; I didn't write what he said exactly....do you think I can change the direction of my existing hives? Not move them, just turn them.
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You can. I wouldn't do it until it gets warmer though. I've done this before and for the first two weeks they're confused and try to come in the back of the hive. For me they will congregate under the bottom board screen until they finally figure out where they need to go.
 

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I've done that (back in the summer) but I did it in stages over a couple of days to rotate the front of the hives 90 or 180 degrees. For simple staged-rotations, I saw barely any confusion.

My winter stand has my three hives snuggled up together (for warmth and shared insulation), but my summer plans call for them to move apart about 10-15 feet from each other; I've wondered about facing them in differrent directions, too. It will have to be done in short 2-3 foot stages as I don't want a repeat of last summer's drama over moving my hives. But I definitely think it's a good idea to spread them out in the summer.

Was any preferred separation distance (between each hive) mentioned, or was it only having them face different ways?

A small refinement to short-distance moving/spearating plans is this: move the hive with lowest level of varroa first, so any driftees back to the old location from it are (relatively) less predated, than more. Moving the "dirtiest" hive first would permit more contamination to flow back to the other hives.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"Was any preferred separation distance (between each hive) mentioned, or was it only having them face different ways? "

Tom gave an excellent talk yesterday...he had an area in the Adirondacks where he had located feral hives in trees and mapped their locations; the closest hives were about a 1/2 miles apart from each other.I think he said the area was 3 sq. miles...outside of this area were two apiaries
set up like our usual managed apiaries. He noted that 100% of feral colonies have varroa, 9% chalkbrood, 0 AFB and 0 EFB. There was more spread of disease in the crowded managed colonies, hence the turning of the hives indifferent directions to discourage the transmittal of disease. The feral hives had the usual increase in varroa but not as high and less deadouts. Swarming helps with breaking the brood cycle and drones go with them so interrupts the varroa cycle. Said it was ok to use drone frames for IPM . I could listen to him all day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can. I wouldn't do it until it gets warmer though. I've done this before and for the first two weeks they're confused and try to come in the back of the hive. For me they will congregate under the bottom board screen until they finally figure out where they need to go.
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Tom gave an excellent talk yesterday...he had an area in the Adirondacks where he had located feral hives in trees and mapped their locations; the closest hives were about a 1/2 miles apart from each other.I think he said the area was 3 sq. miles...outside of this area were two apiaries
set up like our usual managed apiaries.
I fail to see how changing the hive's entrance direction will affect the infestation rates.
Feral hives a 1/2 mile apart is far from the same thing as hives facing different directions in an apiary.
Am I missing something here?
 

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Alternating colony entrance direction will help prevent drifting between colonies, this could help with varroa infestation between colonies. Most of the disease is spread by the beekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I fail to see how changing the hive's entrance direction will affect the infestation rates.
Feral hives a 1/2 mile apart is far from the same thing as hives facing different directions in an apiary.
Am I missing something here?
ARBeekeeper says it in the above reply...couldn't say it any better.
 

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Alternating colony entrance direction will help prevent drifting between colonies, this could help with varroa infestation between colonies. Most of the disease is spread by the beekeeper.
So it stops bees from drifing?
Ok, that makes some sense.
Is it worthwhile to do to a small set of hives set a few feet apart?
 
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