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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
im out arranging the apiary for splits in the next couple weeks or soo and i wanted to get opinions on the direction for pointing the hives. they are in full sun and pointing south with a couple facing north. should i point them all east or south ? does it make that much of a difference ?
 

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You know, I've never really understood the facing thing. I've heard it was about letting the hives catch as much morning sun as they can, and for them getting as much winter sun as they can, but wouldn't it make more sense to point the broadside of the hive towards the sun instead of it's narrowest face if that were the case?

Right now my hives are set up pointing into the yard where its most convenient for me to access them while still giving them a nice clean entry, which actually has them facing northeast.
 

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southeast here to catch the morning sun, with a good windbreak behind them to protect from the cold northwest winds we get after a cold front blows through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
do any of you see any noticeable difference between the colonies which may be due to the directions they are facing ?
 

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Keep in mind, too, that northern beekeepers (compared to those in the south) have significantly different sunrise/sunset postions relative to "due east". During the warm months where I am in northern NY (Lat 43 degrees) the sunrise occurs in the northeast. (Sunset is in northwest.)

So if you want to face the sunrise to get your hives working early in the north in the summer, don't face them towards the winter sunrise direction, i.e. the southeast.

What works well in TN or KY (not to mention AL and GA), will be off the mark in NY or MN.

My husband is in the solar biz so I have access to his professional tools for siting systems. I spent some time last year fiddling around to try and identify the best locations and directions for my hives. I decided to locate their winter stand facing just slightly east of due south. I plan to spread the hives out a bit for the summer and will have them in an arc running from ENE to due E. It will be interesting to see if I find there's a difference within this arc.


Enj.
 

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I'm facing this decision myself for a new yard. My location is at the end of a field, protected from the North with a row of pines. I took this screenshot on my cell phone pointing my phone directly down the field while running a compass app.

Screenshot_2014-03-21-16-17-33.jpg

The entrances would be facing SW at around 220 degrees. I guess I'm just going to go with that because turning the stand to the SE will make it harder for the landowner to maintain.
 

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My bees become active sooner if the hives entrances face southeast into the morning sun, when the sunlight reaches the entrance it seems to excite and motivate them to begin the days activity's sooner than hives not given this advantage.
 

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I use hive facing directionality as a tie breaker - instead looking at how the land the hive will be sited on works. In other words, I consider things like natural slope, prevailing winds, wind breaks, my ease of access...

From what I've seen of commercially placed bees for pollination, what matters most is a good place to put the pallet. Bees seem to do fine on both sides of the pallets.
 

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Right now my hives are set up pointing into the yard where its most convenient for me to access them while still giving them a nice clean entry, which actually has them facing northeast.
Except for wind direction I don't see where it makes much difference which way the entrance faces. Wind can be blocked. What I see as important it that the open field should be to the southeast, south, or southwest in colder climates and maybe the opposite in hot arid climates.
Edymnion, your open field is to the northeast? I wouldn't like that.
 

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I face mine toward the SE. So far it has worked fine. You could leave a few facing another direction and see if there are any differences in hive buildup or performance. Seems like all the books I read states to face hives in a southerly or easterly direction (or anywhere inbetween).
 

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does it make that much of a difference ?
I imagine it makes some slight difference. Half of my hives face one direction, half face the other direction. I haven't noticed that the ones facing North do better or worse than the ones facing South. All of my hives are on 4 way pallets.

What does make a difference is how easy they are to work set a certain way or a certain place. Set them so you are comfortable working them.
 

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There soooo many opinions of facing hives and everything you hear someone say not to do someone else can think of why it is a good idea.
For me, I think as long as the hive isn't angled so the winter wind heads into the entrance the rest ends up being colony preference.
 

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Edymnion, your open field is to the northeast? I wouldn't like that.
The hives are in the back yard in the best position for being out of the way of normal traffic, with the woods at their back. They catch plenty of morning sun where they're at, and in winter it'll be easy to just plop some hay bails in front of the hives as a wind break.
 

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I wouldn't put anything in front of them. The woods in the back should protect the hives from the westerly winds. I wouldn't think you would get too much wind from the northeast in TN.
 

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If your hives are facing north or shaded there is more of a chance to get chilled bees during cleansing flight and thoses flying days that the temp drop quickly.
 

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I have a few hives, and 3 are facing south-east in the sun, and they did about 4 gallons of honey last year. Then I have one that is facing north-west under a tree. It only did 1.5 gallons last year. Trying it again this year with a new box of bees to see if it was the queen or the location.
 
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