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enough so you can put the cover between them to stack boxes on. makes it handy. otherwise, they can be touching. many commercials put 4 touching on 1 pallet and leave them that way. good luck, mike
 

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I’ve always kept my hives two to a pallet about 6 inches apart facing south. Pallets about 20-24 inches apart to be easy to stand between them and work the hives from the sides, setting removed frames on the back part of the pallet leaning against super. But then there is a pallet factory 5 miles away with a lot of scrap brand new pallets!
 

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How come so opposite in answers here with a simple question?
Welcome to BEESOURCE :D. With 3 or 4 hives put some space between them if you want, spread them around the yard, or build an 8-10 foot long stand and set them on that evenly spaced apart. Drifting and disease could be an issue, or not, but is a valid point and to some a valid concern. Plenty of beeks place 3-4 hives on hivestands in their residential yards close together, and commercials put 4-6 on a pallet almost right up against eachother. I vote for spread em out a little if you have the room to do so, although I'm one of those guys with 4 hives to a 48x48 pallet. Good luck
 

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Bees in close proximity will drift to adjacent hives. They are carrying a full load and just want to land. If the workers have any parasites (Varroa) or diseases now all the hives have it. When I was a commercial beekeeper, I put them in rows 12 inches apart (room for the hive tool) .
 

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Also depends on if you have to keep a bear fence around them like I do, you can't be spreading them all over the yard. Also makes an issue of keeping the grass down with in the electric fence, how much to you want to cut with a weed eater?
 

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well Mike you ask two beekeepers and you will get four answeres:lpf: all about 99% correct. it up to you I have room to space mine out so I do. I have friends that keep theirs jamed against themselvs. it up to you.
 

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I guess the next question is how far will bees drift? My understanding is the "guard" bees check out the new ones landing and if a bee arrives with a good load they let that bee no matter if they are from another hive or not. So if we really want to avoid drifting how far would a hive have to be? Or is it impossible to tell?
 

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check out the new ones landing and if a bee arrives with a good load they let
Reminds me of a club door bouncer - rich or good looking or related get in? :D
Look folks we're making way too much a deal about this. There is no 'right' answer and so what if there is drifting? It's not like one queen is going to attact all the good workers, drifting may occur but it all adds up the same!
Now the drones may all drift to a particular hive .....but that is a whole seperate item. :lpf:
 

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Also depends on if you have to keep a bear fence around them like I do, you can't be spreading them all over the yard. Also makes an issue of keeping the grass down with in the electric fence, how much to you want to cut with a weed eater?
For a fence that doesn't move often, you can take cedar, redwood or cyprus 1x6 or 1x8 planks and lay directly under the electric fence. Makes trimming a breeze and keeps the fence from shorting out in the tall grass if you can't get to that yard often.
 

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When it comes to beekeeping, I would not call the different answers to a simple question contradictions, I would call them different management techniques. This is one of the most subjective endeavors one can undertake. None of the answers given where wrong, just different opinions based on ones personal preference and experience. My hive sit a little more than a foot apart.

 
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