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Yes, I use different colors of boxes and lids, and I place them in different patterns of groups on the hive stands. I use rail type stands, so I'll put 2 side by side, a space, then one, then a space, then one, or two, then space, etc. My stands are 8-10 feet long, so I can put two in the center, one on each end, or two on each end and one in the center. So, variable spacing sorta kinda. I only have a couple colors, and that with the spacing differences seems to work good for me.
 

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My boxes are all different colors and ages and that probably supplies some visual cues to the bees. No matter what you do though I will wager that the hives on the end of a line will be the most productive because tired foragers just go to the first colony they see. My solution is to move the weakest colony to the location where I just removed the strongest to equalize populations.
 

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I have a green stack, a gray, yellow and blue. Makes it easier for me to remember and make notes. Nucs and traps are mainly yellow and nucs are by themselves around the other side of my yard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I worry a little because they will be a little close. I read in another string that someone uses lids tacked to the front. I have seen some photos of vertical stripes and horizontal stripes.
 

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What I have found that works best to help prevent drift is as much space as possible between colonies, and facing the entrances in different directions. The colors and shapes didn't work for me.
 

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This might be vaguely relevant:

Problem-solving honey bees could help develop smarter AI

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have found honey bees can solve a type of maths test without any need for numbers - a discovery they say could be used to help develop smarter artificial intelligence.



In the study, the honey bees were trained to identify placards showing different numbers of shapes and they were found to be using non-numerical cues, to solve a numerical problem.

Some bees learned to find a sugary reward at the placards with the most shapes on display, while others learned to find the treat at the placards showing the fewest number of shapes.

Once the bees learned this rule, they were able to quickly identify the placard with the highest or lowest number of shapes on them in order to find their reward.

Dr HaDi MaBouDi, from the University of Sheffield, said: “The results show animals are incredibly clever and can solve tasks in unexpected ways.

"This will be very practical in the future of artificial intelligence for designing smart machines based on animals that have evolved for some particular tasks.”

Professor James Marshall added: “It's worth bearing in mind that nature usually finds the simplest possible solution to a problem."
I very much agree with Vance about hives at the end of a row becoming stronger by picking-up extra returning foragers. Some years back I set-up 8 nucs closely set together in a row, and eventually had to rescue the mid-row nucs as their numbers dwindled right down.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This might be vaguely relevant:



I very much agree with Vance about hives at the end of a row becoming stronger by picking-up extra returning foragers. Some years back I set-up 8 nucs closely set together in a row, and eventually had to rescue the mid-row nucs as their numbers dwindled right down.
LJ
How did you rescue them?
 

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I found a creative way of making our hives "pretty" while still keeping them different. I used to have issues with virgin queens returning from mating flights when all my hives looked the same. This lead me to only mate queens in nucs away from other hives. Since I've switched to staining/sealing all my hives different colors I now have great success in the larger colonies as well.

However, in my mating nucs I go to the extreme end of the spectrum with different colored sides and entrance discs. I run about 90% success on returns.

I've also never noticed the end colonies to be higher in numbers. I keep several rows like this and see no difference, with the end ones often being the weakest. In the photo you can see the two that are second in from the ends were the strongest. They are now up to 4 supers.

62620

62621
 

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What I've noticed about the hives on the end of a row collecting more drift is that only happens if the nectar flow direction from the hives is to the side, so the side that is closest to nectar flow gets the most bees on return flight. If the nectar flow is straight away from the entrances of the row, then I get no drift.
 

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What I've noticed about the hives on the end of a row collecting more drift is that only happens if the nectar flow direction from the hives is to the side, so the side that is closest to nectar flow gets the most bees on return flight. If the nectar flow is straight away from the entrances of the row, then I get no drift.
Curious on how you're able to determine the flow direction? Unless you have commercial hives set on the edge for pollination?

My flow is a full 360º from my hives so maybe that's also why I don't get drift? Also notice my hives are low and protected from the wind by the lattice, vines, and bushes. Keeps the wind down so you don't get bees blowing into another hive as well.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I have my nucs in rows of seven nucs on an eight foot 4 x 4. the entrances are alternating and no two hives have exactly the same color scheme. I am surrounded by trees so the bees fly in all different directions. I have not noticed hive drift among my colonies. Last summer I had an end hive dwindle to nothing while middle hives were very strong.
 

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OFF TOPIC>>>PARDON ME please....JW I hope you have those nucs tied down, this storm looks tough for your area. I will get the very tail end.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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They are weighted down. Survived hurricane force winds in the past.
 

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I have my hives on benches that allow each hive to face different directions. It is kind of a pain to do inspections but it cuts down on the drift.
 

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Curious on how you're able to determine the flow direction? Unless you have commercial hives set on the edge for pollination?

My flow is a full 360º from my hives so maybe that's also why I don't get drift? Also notice my hives are low and protected from the wind by the lattice, vines, and bushes. Keeps the wind down so you don't get bees blowing into another hive as well.
My flows are to the east and north, because of rice fields to the north-west and from very large commercial beeyards to my south.
 

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How did you rescue them?
Hi Bill - simply by accepting that they'd lost the lion's share of their foragers and xferring each nuc into a separate box. These were then spread around the apiary and given feed until they'd re-built their numbers. There was a set-back of course, maybe about a month, but they eventually recovered and went on to survive the next winter ok.


Here's the longer version ...

Having seen how beekeepers in Slovenia (etc.) keep dozens of hives tightly packed together permanently on trailers, I set-up an experiment, using a pair of Quad 5-frame boxes set close together, to try and estimate how close entrances could be before serious forager drifting occurred (and - by inference - what the risk might be for returning virgin queens):



Those entrances were around 9 inches apart, except the central two, which were around 13 inches apart (if memory serves) due to the presence of the hive legs.

Numbering the nucs 1 to 8, from left to right:- then 1 and 8 became very strong at the expense of the other six. Of these six, the middle two nucs, numbers 4 and 5 were not too bad, but 2 & 3 and 6 & 7 were all in a very bad way. So - those four were pulled and xferred into their own 5-frame nuc boxes.

To deal with the remaining imbalance, the hive positions were swapped over, so that the weaker two colonies were now at either end of the row, and were left like that until the remaining colonies appeared roughly equal in size, at which point the hives were gradually separated - a few inches each flying day - until they were around 3 feet apart.

I've estimated - rightly or wrongly - that around 18 inches between entrances is highly desirable, and double that wherever possible.

FWIW - when those hives were eventually vacated, they came into the workshop where their entrance assemblies were stripped-off, with one entrance retained and the others sealed. Three new entrances were then made - one on each remaining side.
This shows two of those entrances, both protected by anti-robbing screens, and - not surprisngly - in this configuration and with the hives several feet apart, drifting was never an issue:



Those hives are currently unused and under cover, with their fate uncertain, as these days I've moved towards a "one colony, one box" philosophy. :)
'best
LJ
 
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