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This is going to sound a bit peculiar so I figured I would ask those in the know or at least those who know more than I. When I started last year with three hives I painted them 3 separate and very different covers I just got some new woodwork and was going to paint them tonight . My question is if I have several hives in the same area with the same color supers and brood boxes will it confuse the bees. I also wondered if I added a blue super to a red hive would that confuse the bees as well. I know most keeps do all there woodwork white as to keep it interchangeable am I better off repainting everything one color or does it not really matter.
 

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The bees see red as the color black. it make no difference to the bees. You may have a little drifting between the hives if they are really close together.
 

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There was some research done a good while back - sorry I can't give any links to it - which showed that hive location is the most important factor re: 'homing-in'; unchanged entrance orientation (N/S/E/W etc) comes next; with colour being the least important.

If memory serves, no reference was made to 'markers' (nearby trees/bushes/buildings etc) but I think most people consider these to be of considerable importance in guiding the bees home. (I do)

So - as long as your hives are at least a few feet apart, there shouldn't be any problem with drifting.
'best
LJ
 

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I don’t like white because poor heat generation In winter. I run more mid tone of tans. But for special equipment. That is color coded. Like all of my double nuc equipment is blue. Shallow’s are green. Got tired of mixing them with mediums.
 

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While bees have the ability to do some color differentiation, I don't think that most beekeepers concern themselves with it relative to painting their hive boxes. Some folks use whatever is available cheap (think "oops" paint); some have color differentiation for practical reasons like My-smokepole mentions and some of us choose a color that's pleasing to us as humans for the environment where our hives are going to live. Alison and I are in the latter category ... we chose a light tan color that blends with both our home and our landscaping since our six colonies are in a residential setting and are quite visible for a good part of the year.
 

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I don't think it matters much. For what it's worth, I paint old deeps with red paint and I use the deeps to surround feeding pails (paint cans). From a good distance I can tell which hives I'm feeding. The bees don't care. I agree that positioning is more important. Bees are really good at sorting out which hive is theirs as they fly in. My hives are all white and are lined up in a row. If I kneel down at the end of the row on a busy flying day, I get a crowd of bees in front of me within a few minutes as they zero in on what they think is their end hive. It's pretty cool to watch and it drives the point home regarding how they sort out what "home" is to them.
 

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When I started with 3 hives, they were 3 different colors. I tried to keep them that way, but you will soon find out that the blue super you have is now needed by the red hive, and the white hive somehow wound up with a red deep. They figured it out. But some people make markers for each hive which stays on that hive. The ones I have seen are small 4x4 squares that are painted with geometric shapes or stripes. Supposedly, it helps prevent drift among hives. J
 

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I exclusively use traditional white as most of my hives are on farms. Less of an eye sore having all one color and i find the farmers love taking people out to look/watch the bees. bees don't care and i've never had much drifting that i noticed.
 

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My hives are all white and are lined up in a row. If I kneel down at the end of the row on a busy flying day, I get a crowd of bees in front of me within a few minutes as they zero in on what they think is their end hive. It's pretty cool to watch and it drives the point home regarding how they sort out what "home" is to them.
That is very cool!
 

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Color of a hive doesn't matter to the bees I'd think. Their position is the most important I'd say. I'm sure they use some kind of g ps, ect to home in on the hive.
As to kneeling down in front of the hive and bees congesting around you, you may be blocking their flight path to their entrance.
I like white or light colors, simply because I keep my hives in open sunlight. We get hot here in bama, so ...
I'd think in colder climates a darker boxes would draw heat, and may be useful in winter times. Really the bees don't care about color. Give an a dry home, enough space for them to grow, and access to nectar/pollen seems all that matters to the colony for growth... seems all simple approach with a little common sense approach. I'm a 2nd year beek also. I like simple, and I'd think the bees do too... good luck
 

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Color isn’t a big deal. Most of mine are a gray earth tone that blends with the landscape. That’s important in my out yards where they often go unnoticed by thieves and/or vandals while unattended. I’m not a fan of hives painted every color of the rainbow but it seems to be a trend today.
 

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While in natural setting, the tree bark color indeed is next to meaningless, in the concentrated yard setting on a field maybe the color does matter.

I did read in the past that the dark blue is the favorite hue by the bees.
Dark blue was discouraged to be used as hives painted that way will attract drifting bees the most.

NO - I have not tested this statement.
 

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When I researched this question a few years ago I found that color and shapes can help reduce drift when the hives are close together. Having them spread out isn't possible or practical for everyone and as much as I would like to have them in a circle with entrances facing different directions, it isn't an option at the moment. That leaves colors and shapes for the bees to use. I've seen some people even put playing cards on the hives to show different shapes/groups of shapes. I am using oops paints to paint the hives differently. However, it is more time consuming and I am strongly considering stacking and using a spray gun of white paint for the upper supers I will need for my additional hives this year. This will keep the bottoms colored, but save me time on those three and up. BTW, I use all mediums.
 
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