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I'm adding a second hive this spring. The first hive is on a few cinder blocks and I like having it a little off the ground. I plan on placing the second hive near the first and would like to put both hives on planks running between cinder block risers, leaving space between the hives to place supers while I inspect, etc. I'm thinking of getting 6 1/2 foot planks so that I can comfortably place a hive near each end leaving a couple of feet in between. Any thoughts on this plan? Is the spacing adequate? Should I worry about drifting or robbing? I've read a little about marking hives with geometric designs or colors. It sounds intriguing but does it really matter?

As always...thanks!
 

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(It doesn't matter.) Interesting concept. Is that the same as "It doesn't matter to me"?

I'll suggest (for me) that it does matter for a number of small reasons. Each person should determine if its worth it to them.

1) Yes, there is a reason why queen producers paint their nucs different colors and place them in a random fashion. Because queens do in fact sometimes get confused. And if they land on the wrong entrance, they will be killed. I suppose you could suggest that your good enough to never have a hive swarm or supercede without your knowledge, which of course I would snicker, as most would.

Sure, do some need to have the hives palletized. And so hives are naturally kept next to each other for some beekeepers. But if your not moving hives for migratory needs, why have them slid up against each other?

2)There is considerable drift, not only in regards to drones, but with workers also. Seperation of hives taking into account this drift will have a couple of things to keep in mind.

Drifting bees are normally not challenged if they are foragers bringing back nectar and pollen. Bees coming straight into the hive are usually not challenged. Gaurd bees see bees heavy with a load, unwavering in their approach, and give a pass for entry. Not always, but usually. Bees on orientation flights, discharging waste, and other flights, may not be so lucky. The more a hive feels challenged, the more defensive they can become. This adds to the agressiveness of the hive in dealing with another hive slid right up next to the next.

3)If a hive does develope some problems with afb, or another desease, I want time to react and take care of the problem. With spacing, the desease transfer between hives can be at a slower rate due to less drifting, etc. I would rather have problems go through an apiary on a slow rate, rather than whole apiaries being effected much faster.

4) I just feel better working hives seperated. I have more room and do less reaching, bending, and stumbling over whatever. If a hive is a little bothered, I can work the next hive and one hive does not set off the next. I think its much more enjoyable for whatever reason to have hives at least a few feet in seperation.

Unless there is a reason or need for the hives to be palletized, I see no benefit of having them slid together, except for wintering. Which I do not do for full size hives anyways.

In the wild, hives are seperated by natural habitat. Few colonies would be next to each other on a scale we keep bees. We assume bees can always find the right entrance. Bees never needed this precise ability in the wild.

Less drift, less challenged or defensive bees, easier to work, slower desease transfer. I could say "it does matter" but will say instead, "it matters to me." You decide for yourself.

[ February 19, 2007, 07:02 AM: Message edited by: BjornBee ]
 

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Pugs
>>>"So how far apart are your hives and what are the orientations?"

I try to orient my hives with a southeastern direction. There are always times when this is not feasible, but I try as circunstances dictate.

I have hives in all ways you could think of. Most are sitting on pallets, hives stands, etc. I will space as much as room allows, or group them by two's. (But always with a space between) Its really not something I can follow completely as each yard is different. But its something I am aware of, and adjust as it allows me, with regards to room, equipment, and space, etc.

My breeder hives/nucs are all painted various colors and arranged in a scattered pattern. I do have one yard where they a little more arranged with about ten nucs in a row, painted different colors and grouped two or three, a large space and a couple more, and so on. The rows are seperated by perhaps 10 or 15 feet.

The worst you can do, is place hives side by side, in long rows, all painted the same color. Anything else would be considered a plus.
 

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>But if your not moving hives for migratory needs, why have them slid up against each other?

Because some winters it hits -40 F. Most winters it hits -20 F. I think they are warmer up next to each other. On eight frame hives, this blocks the heat loss on 60% of the outside edges of the hives leaving only 40% of it exposed. I insulate the tops.
 

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MB, I did cover this a little further in the post if you would read a little further. I said...

"Unless there is a reason or need for the hives to be palletized, I see no benefit of having them slid together, except for wintering."

I think the original post had this question asked in regards to summertime conditions. See "drifting, robbing, etc.". If your having these problems at 40 below, I would quit hitting th hard stuff.

Of course, one's summertime equipment setup could be different from wintertime setup. This whole notion of having all the hives against each other in regards to overwintering, and not distinguishing the pitfalls the rest of the year is interesting. I can point out all the benefits of having them spread out, but will always have someone say "What about when its 40 below!" Next time I answer this, I'll add this to my normal points, so maybe we can forego this everytime.

MB said "Mine are all touching each other." in regards to space.

Do you keep them like that all year?

[ February 19, 2007, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: BjornBee ]
 

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Pepperell, MA is not going to get 20 below very
often, and 40 below, so I'd be more concerned
with having enough space between the hives to
work in comfort than any other factor.

Of course, Mike's claims about how cold it gets
in Nebraska are just a tad exaggerated. Nebraska's
record cold temperature, -27 degrees at Vinita NE,
happened back on February 13, 1905.

Its never been 40 below in Nebraska that anyone
knows of, and likely never will, barring another
ice age. It is very very very rarely as cold as
20 below, but I must conceed that it may feel
that way to poor Mike.
 

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I'm not saying they are all touching all the time, all year around. But I don't spend the work to try to separate them in the Spring unless having them together is in my way. Then they often end up somewhere between touching and about 4" apart or so.

I think it's probably a good idea to have some space for mating nucs. However I have trouble finding enough room to do so.
 

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Although we haven't had 40 below, or even 20 below, since my father walked 37 miles barefoot in 7 feet of snow to get to school, with just a piece of possum fat and cold cornbread for lunch, I like to have my hives far enough apart to be able to work from the sides, or set the lid and super between them. :rolleyes: :eek:

Bjorn, even tho I like to back off for a breath of air now and then, I still enjoy a round or two with Jim once in a while. Don't let Joe have all the fun.
Jim is either one of the smartest men on here, or has the best search engines of any computer around. I don't really know which, but I still enjoy reading his posts.........and arguing with him. :D
 

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>>>It couldn't actually be fun could it???<<<

What funner thing can a hillbilly beek do on a cold winter night than a good hot argument?????

"sides, this old coot may even larn sumpin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
<grin> So...I think I'm going to be placing them 4" apart, right next to each other, side by each and leaving space for supers, covers, tools....but not cold breezes. Orienting them slightly northwest in a southeast direction during the first 12 months of the year should allow both man and bee to flourish. Color choice should be limited to two....white or another color. </grin>!

Couldn't resist. Thanks everyone. I'm going to go for the planks on blocks with enough space to let me work between them. I can always stick a nuc there too should I want to. Come winter, they'd be easy enough to slide together. Haven't decided on color or pattern or whatever. I think it'll end up being a spur of the moment thing.
 

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> Nebraska's
record cold temperature, -27 degrees at Vinita NE,
happened back on February 13, 1905.

Actually according to Weather dot com:
http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/allergies/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/68366?from=36hr_bottomnav_allergies

The record low in Lincoln (near here) was -33 F in 1974. The record low in Western Nebraska where I used to live was -41 F in 1989. I had bees there then:
http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/allergies/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USNE0328?from=36hr_bottomnav_allergies

Maybe you need a more up to date source for your numbers.
 

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Record lows by state:
"Nebraska -47 Feb. 12, 1899 Camp Clarke"
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wcstates.htm
http://www.netstate.com/states/geography/ne_geography.htm
http://www.dennydavis.net/poemfiles/travelne.htm

Record low Oshkosh Nebraska in 1989 -47 F
http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0113527.html
http://www.weatherexplained.com/Vol-1/Record-Setting-Weather.html
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0113527.html


"The climate is severely continental throughout Nebraska; a low of -40°F (-40°C) in the winter is not unusual"
http://www.bartleby.com/65/ne/Nebraska.html

Of course the temperature here (out in the country) is almost always several degrees colder than Lincoln because of the thermal effect of the city.
 
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