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I'm sure this has been asked many times over, but I was hoping for advice regarding the placement of 2 hives on our 1.5 acre property. I have added a photo of the general layout, so let me explain. We are located in Stockbridge in 8A planting zone.

Our property runs east/west, with the house (blue square) facing the east and the majority of our property being behind that. Our property used to be a cattle pasture many years ago, so we only have a few trees. The main one is a sawtooth oak that is right beside our main raised and in ground growing area. Other trees are fruit saplings and a large pecan tree at the far northwest of our property (not pictured but would be to the top right of the picture). Apart from that, there are 2 sheds (grey squares) on either side of our fenced area.

My two ideas for placement of the hives:

1) Under the sawtooth oak facing South aka towards the gardening area. The hives would get morning and evening sun, but not the hottest part of the day. It is towards the middle of our property, so less chance of the neighbors with their z-turns disturbing the bees. It is closer to where we will be tending the garden, and closer to the sheds where beekeeping supplies will be kept, but also closer to where our dogs like to play and hangout with us. However, there is a slight dip in the property that runs from the base of that tree to the north and off the property. That being said, that dip does tend to get damp quicker than other areas when it rains, and takes longer to dry. The hives under the sawtooth oak would put them about 30ft or so from our burn pit, which is mostly in the middle of the field.

2) Towards the back of the property in the middle of the field facing East aka towards the house. The bees would get full sun until evening when the trees on the neighboring properties begin to cast shadow. The bees would be away from where we will be working, as well as from where our dogs like to play. They would be closer to the property line, so closer to where neighbors will be mowing with their z-turns. However, since it gets full sun and there is no dip here, the ground stays fairly dry year-round. Since the hives would be facing the house, it would put the bee flight path facing our burn pit (not pictured, but about 30ft ish west or up in the photo from the in-ground and raised planting area). We don't do bonfires that often, but we do sometimes.

If anyone has any suggestions on these two ideas, or come up with other ones, I would love to hear them!



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My bees that are in full sun consistently outperform the ones in shady areas. I am cutting down a few more trees to lessen the shade at the end of the rows.
I have rows of large trees within 75 feet on the East and West sides which don't seem to cause any problems, it is the Southern exposure in the Winter that I keep cutting trees down to increase hours of sunlight.

Alex
 

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As with all things beekeeping, it depends on your climate.

Where I am I like to put them East of a deciduous tree. This gives them late day shade during the hot summers and when it loses its leaves, has full sun all winter.

However, I know this isn't always possible. Most people prefer to aim them East to South with as much sun as you can give them. Facing East gives them morning sun as it's said to get them to work earlier. Bees need to keep their brood area round 94 degrees so having the sun help you allows more bees to leave the nest and get to work, rather then stay home and keep things warm.

But I've had swarm traps work facing North in the shade. Do your best and that should be good enough!
 

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Full sun +10
I would pick a spot that gets the soonest sun and is away from the activities.
I've had a day or two with new bees in the yard when it was not pleasant to go out the back door.
So away from the house and shed.
They will still get into your shed unless you build it tight.

My bees have not found my honey stores, YET.
That reminds me I have a hole or two to stuff, for insurance.
 

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Facing away from where people and animals will be might be a consideration. Some bees are fairly defensive, particularly to the front door of the hive. Other bees are fine. I keep some hives right on my back patio where I sit and drink coffee. Depends on the hive. Out of sight of the neighbors is another consideration I make.
 

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Mine also sit 15 feet from my patio, bbq grill, and hot tub. But I've been raising my own queens from gentle stock for many, many years.

If you're getting attacked around your own yard I would certainly requeen. I have no tolerance for it, others may.
 

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In my limited experience,
Every "bad" hive I have encountered has been due to outside irritants (Pacific North Wet).
Relocating/repairing the hive has altered behavior.

The worst was,
One hive I know had an automatic sprinkler that sprayed on it (I guess the landscaper did not like bees)
The hive was an abandoned hive that had succumbed to the moth and had since been re-habitated by a swarm after laying fallow.
When I first saw it 2 years ago it was a leaning tower of bees roaring strong and 4 rotting boxes tall on a screened bottom that had rolled one side.
this fall when the owner finally relinquished his grip on the bees (that he is ER emergency allergic to) (and were *****ier than ever!)
You could not get within 20 feet of that hive without getting beat on. the only thing holding the hive up was propolus.
The frames are welded into the boxes! I will have to wait for warmer weather and peel the box off the frames to get it serviceable again.
I reloacated them and put them on a new bottom board, I shrink wrapped them to close the gaps in the boxes (shudder), and put an insulated lid on them.

Now you can walk up and pop the lid with no veil!

Late season swarms introduced into an in-town backyard that already has 10 colonies and stacks of gear in times of dearthy forage things get sketchy.
It turns into a free_for_all if you are not diligent.
Or maybe it was just that one bee, that grumpy old forager who is pissed because all they will let her do is get water!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Facing away from where people and animals will be might be a consideration. Some bees are fairly defensive, particularly to the front door of the hive. Other bees are fine. I keep some hives right on my back patio where I sit and drink coffee. Depends on the hive. Out of sight of the neighbors is another consideration I make.
Sounds like everyone thinks middle of the field is better than closer and under the oak. Our field is, well, a field. The hives will be in plain sight of my neighbors unless we build some sort of fence or wind break around the hives (which we are considering since we get some ROUGH winds in storms). I'm just not sure how to make it look not weird having something plopped in the middle of the field away from everything. I was also considering dropping off notes to my nearby neighbors letting them know we are getting bees and doing our diligence to keep them happy and not swarm. I know from one of our neighbors that someone in the area had bees a while back, so I don't think it will be a concern.

Is it a concern that the bee flight path would be more towards our burn pit? We don't burn brush that often, but we do sometimes when we have downed limbs or thatch building up.
 

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Idk where in Georgia you are located, but 8a can get pretty warm. I’d probably go for option 2 and allow them some late afternoon/evening shade. As far as being near the burn pit is concerned, I’d generally be more worried about winds possibly smoking the bees and the light of the fire luring them out of the entrance at night to their death than them bugging anyone sitting around the fire. Option 2 definitely seems like a better location for your pets as, in my experience, dogs are kinda slow to learn not to try to grab the stinging insects out of the air with their mouths. With regard to neighbors on lawnmowers, it sounds like the hive entrances would be facing away from said neighbor’s property, so the likelihood of the lawnmowers provoking the bees into flying out and stinging is minimal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Idk where in Georgia you are located, but 8a can get pretty warm. I’d probably go for option 2 and allow them some late afternoon/evening shade. As far as being near the burn pit is concerned, I’d generally be more worried about winds possibly smoking the bees and the light of the fire luring them out of the entrance at night to their death than them bugging anyone sitting around the fire. Option 2 definitely seems like a better location for your pets as, in my experience, dogs are kinda slow to learn not to try to grab the stinging insects out of the air with their mouths. With regard to neighbors on lawnmowers, it sounds like the hive entrances would be facing away from said neighbor’s property, so the likelihood of the lawnmowers provoking the bees into flying out and stinging is minimal.
I appreciate the input! We are located in Stockbridge, which is a little bit south of Atlanta. It does get pretty warm here (dreaded southern summers!). In regard to the burn pit, we do most of our brush burning in early fall when the burn season is opened again and then some in the early spring. Would a moveable partition be a good idea to keep the light from attracting them? Our dogs are big boys and sort of slow to learn regarding other critters, so I can see it being the better option. I guess now I need to figure out how to make 2 random hives in the middle of the field not look odd haha.
 

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Many different thoughts can be applied.

Most important likely what is best for yall to work with.

Place in location that is easy to maintain:
-(weeds, mowing around)
-rolling cart up for adding and taking away boxes
-close to 110v power source for OAV trestments (within 100 ft extension cord distance, for example)
-providing water (bird bath or something close to water hose availability)
-you will get plenty of sun in almost any location.
-flight path further than 20 feet from hive entrance will likely not be an issue. (Mowing can sometimes rile them up, but 20 plus feet away, it is great reduced)

Also, do not over think hive placement. They can be moved in the future. Not that big if an issue to move them a few feet or 100 feet.

Spend more time determining how to treat for varroa, manage hive beetles and wax moths.

Then spend time learning to graft a few queens and make a few splits. Best to go into next winter with 2-4 hives.
 

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I wouldn't play my bees in the middle of my field. I like to keep them off to the side where there are wind breaks.

Being in GA you may want to go with the standard of "morning sun with evening shade". Too much heat causes hives to burn resources in keeping it cool, just like they would when it's too cold, so having morning sun and afternoon shade usually gives you the best of both worlds.

But as Charles Prestridge stated, there are far more important things to be researching such as your varroa treatments and keeping pests away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I wouldn't play my bees in the middle of my field. I like to keep them off to the side where there are wind breaks.

Being in GA you may want to go with the standard of "morning sun with evening shade". Too much heat causes hives to burn resources in keeping it cool, just like they would when it's too cold, so having morning sun and afternoon shade usually gives you the best of both worlds.

But as Charles Prestridge stated, there are far more important things to be researching such as your varroa treatments and keeping pests away.
The wind breaks and intense summer heat is why I was considering (and partially leaning towards) placing them under the oak tree closer to the house. They would be more protected from wind, and would get morning and evening sun for sure (along with dappled sunlight throughout) with shade during the hottest hours of the day. It's also closer to the power outlet on our shed (although we have very long extension cords, so this is negligible). My main concern was having the bees closer to where we will be doing work in the gardens as the gardens would be in their flight path. My wife is already slightly concerned about mowing around them, but I feel having them under the tree would let us weedeat around them instead of actually mowing. We have our veils, jackets, and gloves already, so I figured worst case scenario we wear them in the garden.

I am definitely researching treatments and such for varroa and hive beetles. I attended a seminar crash course and am planning on two more before we receive the bees, and my local bee chapter assigns veteran beekeepers to newbies in the early spring to offer advice and help, which I will be taking use of. Also been keeping my nose buried in "First Lessons in Beekeeping" and might go to a talk that Keith Delaplane himself will be at. All in all, trying to do right by the bees and hoping I can mitigate the inevitable losses.
 

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If you do a Google search for this question and then put Beesource at the end it comes up on the search for here.
There is also a beekeeping101 on here that has many answers to start from.

Personally I like shade in afternoon.

Know that every question has 1000 different answers from 1000 beeks
 

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Oxalic Acid (OAV) is the most straight- foward mite treatment. Middle to end of July treat with OAV every 2-3 days for around 7 treatments. Then again in November December (2-3 treatments).

Best plan for hive beetles and wax moths is to have strong colonies by treating for mites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oxalic Acid (OAV) is the most straight- foward mite treatment. Middle to end of July treat with OAV every 2-3 days for around 7 treatments. Then again in November December (2-3 treatments).

Best plan for hive beetles and wax moths is to have strong colonies by treating for mites.
Yep! Those are what I've read. I know with OAV there is a trickle or fume method, planning to visit the apiary of a nearby beekeeper to get some hands on with that before needing it myself. And to quote one of the speakers at the seminar I attended: "wax moths will not be the cause of colony collapse, they are the canary in the coal mine for a weak colony."

I suppose having chatted with everyone, placement of the hives is less important than pest control. Thanks for giving me all the advice and tips.
 

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OAV is short for Oxalic Acid Vapor. This is when the acid is heated and sublimates into the hive. It then cools into crystals and it's these crystals that kill the mites.

Other methods like Oxalic Acid Dribble are also common. With a little research you can figure out which one is best for you.

I prefer OAV as it's easy, fast, and once you buy the vaporizer, it's cheap.
 

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In regard to the Oxalic acid treatments. I started out with Oxalic Acid dribble and used it for 4 years. I bought a pan style vaporizer and used it for 5 years. I now use a band style vaporizer It was the most expensive in cost but with 20 colonies to maintain, it's the most efficient for time management. I did just spend $200 for a generator as the band style requires AC not DC current. But using this style requires that I'm able to drive within 100"

The biggest problem I see with newer beekeepers for the first 1-2 years is not treating for varroa. Don't fall into the trap that you can be a treatment free beekeeper from the start. It takes time to learn how to deal with varroa! I use Charles Prestridge's timing, but I also OAV in March. By the way I'm in mid-Missouri so your timing may be slightly different, but not by much.

If you do choose to use the field, do put up a windscreen for your colonies. I would choose by the pecan, but you can move them easily wherever you choose.
 

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Sounds like everyone thinks middle of the field is better than closer and under the oak. Our field is, well, a field. The hives will be in plain sight of my neighbors unless we build some sort of fence or wind break around the hives (which we are considering since we get some ROUGH winds in storms). I'm just not sure how to make it look not weird having something plopped in the middle of the field away from everything. I was also considering dropping off notes to my nearby neighbors letting them know we are getting bees and doing our diligence to keep them happy and not swarm. I know from one of our neighbors that someone in the area had bees a while back, so I don't think it will be a concern.

Is it a concern that the bee flight path would be more towards our burn pit? We don't burn brush that often, but we do sometimes when we have downed limbs or thatch building up.
burn after dark
roast some marshmallows

:)
GG
 
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