Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my name is Michael and I am setting up my first hive this year. My question is where to do that at. On my property I have a pond around the pond it is around 500 by 300 feet cleared area in the woods where the pond is located. I also have a spot at the end of my driveway and that is open to a field across the road and many other places. around my house it is wooded also. I just want the bees to have the best opportunity to forage.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,159 Posts
Re: set up

Welcome to Beesource!

I suggest locating your hives in a spot that gets full sun, but also partially sheltered from the wind, if that is possible.

Secondarily, it is useful to be able to get a vehicle, or at least a wagon close to the hives. Honey supers are heavy, especially if you are carrying them any distance.

The bees will find your water, and they forage over thousands of acres, so they will likely find any attractive forage on your property regardless of whether you place them close to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
Re: set up

Yeah, full sun unless you're in an area where it gets ridiculously hot. Down here in the south, we routinely will get weeks at a time in summer with temperatures over 100°F in the shade, so I like to put my hives in at least partial shade.

Seems to be some evidence that you get fewer hive pests like beetles if you place the hive on hard packed ground or better yet cement (I'd avoid blacktop though, gets way too hot in the sun). You'll also want it somewhere where you don't have grass. I wouldn't want to have to mow or weed eat right up against a hive. What I do is combine the two of these by putting paving stones around the hives to create a nice buffer zone.

You should also remember that in the woods (like me) there are animals that could be a concern. Skunks, badgers, bears, pretty much any large mammal that would like honey can be attracted to your hives, so discouraging them by placing the hive out in the open far away from cover is something you might want to consider.

Also, look for a flat spot. You're going to want your hive to be level, so obviously you don't want to be putting it on a hill or in a hole.

Oh yeah, and you will want to access your hives from behind (standing in front of the entrance will just provoke the guard bees), so don't butt them up against anything. Make sure you have room not only to walk behind them, but to work behind them (including things like having space to put the lid after you take it off, etc).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice. The best I can do here is sun for morning and evening, 4 or 5 hours would be shaded in the middle of the day. Would that be okay or should I set up on another piece of property. I would rather have my first hive close to home. But I don't want to jeprodise the bees production.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,159 Posts
Orient the hive so the entrance faces the morning sun. See if you can find a way to start with two hives instead of one. Your odds of success is improved with two to compare and possibly borrow resources from.

If you want to cut expenses to afford two hives, skip the "kits" and just buy the very basics to start with. Consider making some of your equipment. Skills and interests vary, but making a hive cover from a piece of plywood can be very simple ....


Photo linked from Michael Bush's page on top entrances.

That piece of plywood and a couple of shims replaces an inner + outer cover that may cost a combined $30 at a bee supplier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
The hive will be OK in partial shade. All day sun seems to be better but not a must. I have hives in sun and also in partial shade and both do fine. Biggest difference I have to watch the small hive beetles a little closer in the shaded hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,540 Posts
When I started last year my hives were near a barn with high, dappled shade from nearby trees. Over the summer the shade got deeper (and the barns created more deep shadows of their own) and even though I didn't have a big problem with pests (I'm in the north so SHB is not as big a problem here), I came to realize that they needed more sun.

It's wise to think hard about this before you get the bees, since once you have them moving the hive beyond a few feet at a time is complicated. There are ways to do it successfully, but bees are extremely location-minded and something as simple-seeming as moving the hive even 100 feet has to overcome the bees' very strong preferences to stay put.

I was a new beekeeper last year and when I first learned that my intention to relocate the hives 300 feet away would require, in many beekeepers' opinions and experience, that I first take them away from the site for several weeks to a place at least a couple of miles away before doing the move, I thought people weer pulling my leg. They weren't, that's how resistant bees are to having their hive moved. There are ways to accomplish this kind of short-distance move without an intervening off-site period (Michael Bush has an excellent technique that I had some success with) but once you place the bees in their boxes, you shouldn't plan on casually moving them around your place like you might for most other types of livestock.

Aside from the most sun you can muster, I would pay close attention to not getting them in a low spot (such as it could be around a a pond) because the dampness is not good for them, and it will be the coldest place in winter. If you know your property well, think of the places were you see ground fog form first on cool evenings, these are the low spots. While you want to avoid those places, think also about your prevailing winds, it's better to choose a place with wind protection from buildings, shelter belts, etc. You can build a wind barrier, but a natural one is better.

Another thing that is often repeated here is that you should have your hive facing southeast for earliest sun. I am up at about Latitude 43 degrees, (Albany, NY) and during the summer my sun rises in the NORTH east, so if I want the earliest sun that's the direction I would want to face. (In the winter, of course it is strongly in the southeast, but my bees don't go out in the winter.) This very large swing is different even in the Carolinas and certainly farther south, so many people are confused by the generic "face southeast" instructions. Your latutude is 39 degrees so your summer sunrise will won't be quite so northerly as where I am, but still not in the southeast, either. Personally I like to have the sides of my hive towards the earliest sunlight, and the openings more towards the south because I think warmth on the hive side is useful at "waking up the bees". (That only works in the summer, in the winter my hives have insulation around them so there's not much sun-produced heat through the walls.) Of course this also exposes the other long wall of the hive to late afternoon heating, but I have shade from evergreens on the west, so I can live with that.

I also second the recommendation that you have two hives, not a single one, the first year. There's much to be gained, and aside from initial cost, litte other downside as it doesn't double the effort. And some possible first-year bee crises (say, a lost queen or a hive that doesn't prosper on schedule) can be more easily overcome if you have at least a pair to work with. Not to mention your own learning curve will be exponentially improved if you have more than a single hive to study and learn on.

The only other thing about hive-siting: I would choose a place that's very convenient for you to visit, a lot. Aside from the fascination, the more times you visit the hive (not necessaraily opening it, just being there to observe it) the better beekeeper you will become. I set a bench near my hives and a lot of my free time was just watching them. I started every non-rainy day out there with my cup of tea last summer.

I hope you have as much fun with your bees as I have had in my first year.

Enj.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
great info from everyone. I am glad I came across this site I appreciate all the help. I would like to start 2 hives but the nucs I found are local for 150 which i don't think is a bad price but I am working on a budget. I built 10 5 frame nucs and I was thinking about setting them up around town to see if I cant interest a swarm in to them. fingers crossed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
I did the same thing, starting with one hive.

It is totally doable, its just more touch and go because you have no safety net. With two hives, if one gets in trouble you can help it out with resources from the other one. If you only have one hive and get in trouble, well honestly you're just screwed as there's not much you can do about it.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top