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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2 hives in 4 different locations for the last 2 years, the hives to the east are twice as big as the ones to the west in all 4 yards. All My hives face south. They are within a foot of each other, Zone 8b, Wet rainy Oregon, with drought June to August. Last year I blew it off as a fluke this year I am moving them to a different configuration since I need to relocate and move almost all of them to new ground. I am moving one pair of hives to the back of the property, closed one yard to another location, and thinking about changing the way I orient hives. I am going to do a ‘V’ facing one SE, one east (at the point and the other at SW far enough apart to allow all hives to get some morning light. I was thinking the commercial guys pallet theirs and if there was that big of a deal they would have noted it by now. I just cannot ignore the results. I only had one set that did not get arranged this way and two years ago both died.
Anybody else have such a disparity?
:scratch:
 

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I don't know for sure if there is any reasoning to it for sure other than maybe the ones on the East get the morning sun waking them sooner. I have the same thing with mine, the east is booming while the west is slow. I have 3 hives the east one faces east and the middle one faces north and the west one faces south. It's like you said the commercial guys pallet theirs so you wouldn't think it would be that big of a deal. I'm sure we might get some answers here.
 

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How close to eachother are the locations? I think the direction the hive faces has little to do with prosperity...more to do with available forage and climate in proximity to hive.
 

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I have hives in 3 locations that are 50 miles apart. Your observation has made me think about mine. The eastern most hives in the rows do seem more productive.

But none are more than a few feet apart, but the east one is always the best.

Maybe I need to create my hive lines oriented north and south to make them all equal?
 

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I have bees to the north of you and to the south. I have never seen any pattern to size or health. I have 11 down near Eugene all facing south and a foot or so apart and they all look the same as far as size and honey production. Here in Camas I have 10 facing north about a foot apart then 8 facing east about 4 feet apart and then 8 facing south varying from 1 to 12 feet apart and their growth and honey production were very similar except for the ones that used to be mating nucs and are now nucs and singles. There is no pattern as to which are bigger except the mating nucs that I populated with more bees in the beginning are the larger hives now.
 

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Just make sure your hive entrances are all facing the same direction. I had the "brilliant" idea to stagger my hive entrances, one facing one way, one facing the 180* opposite...so I could fit more hives in. It sure did make visiting the bee yard for a casual peek a challenge!!! :eek: Never seen any impact to entrance orientation....just make sure you can work the hives from the back, or at least the side. Bees get pissy when full of pollen and their runway is blocked by a monster in a white suit...lol
 

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Perhaps the major flows are to the east. As the bees come home loaded up with nectar, they are heavy and tired and could be going to the closest hive on the way home. I would try facing the entrances east, and line them up in a line that runs north/south. I've found my hives do much better when facing east and lined up north/south here in this location, and I'm sure the flows are in the eastward direction for me here.
 

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I really have a hard time believing that it is anything more than coensidance when a group of hives in the same location with entrances facing whatever location have different outcomes. Reguardless if the hives are in a line running east and west or north and south or stacked on top of each other Bees don't need to go straight out the door and return in a straight line to get home. If they are producing more or less it's probably more of what is going on inside the hive then anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wild, I believe you 100%, which was why I Ignored it last year. 4, locations, 2 years running, 100% difference in the size of the hives is empirical data, not speculation or theory. I have also been told that the queen will prefer deeps over shallows to lay in. I also find that to be false 100% of the time here. I wonder if my climate determines the differences? I just cut blackberries out in two new locations for bees, I plan on running 4 hives in each spot. I will be forced to lay them out in my traditional east west configuration until I can get the black berry stems rotted down or mowed to allow for a different shape.
 

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mine both face east. the southern one has always been stronger. in both hives the brood nest is against the south wall of the box, pollen to the north. i haven't been doing this long enough to draw any strong conclusions, but they are definitely organized around heat and sunlight. does your eastern cast a morning shadow on your western?
 

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mine both face east. the southern one has always been stronger. in both hives the brood nest is against the south wall of the box, pollen to the north.
Makes sense that the pollen to the North and honey to the South when they are preparing for the Winter, but at this time of the year your Sun is more overhead or a bit to the north. I think they will have more of a Southern Sun this Winter. That's an interesting thought though and will check my hives and see if the North /South thing applies there also.

Mike
 

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This is interesting ...

I have 2 hives I started this year as well, both in shade for a good chunk of the day. Both face directly south, and the hive on the EAST is significantly less prolific than the hive on the west. Both were started from packages at the exact same time ... I've just been chalking it up to different queens, but maybe positioning does have something to do with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes they cast a shadow on each other and they are far enough apart to not share the heat from their neighbor. I am going to stagger them to get sun to all of them and try a arc so I am working in the rear of them.
 

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This is interesting ...

I have 2 hives I started this year as well, both in shade for a good chunk of the day. Both face directly south, and the hive on the EAST is significantly less prolific than the hive on the west. Both were started from packages at the exact same time ...
I would get them in full sun if you could.
 

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There is evidence that when hives are lined up in rows the ones closest to an end appear more productive. Usually according to which way the winds blow, throwing foraging bees off course enough so that they end up returning to the "wrong" hive.

If they are otherwise healthy, does it matter all that much?
 
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