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Hive Placement?

868 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Gray Goose
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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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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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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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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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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