Bee Tips: Selecting a Beehive Location

Are you interested in having your own beehive? Here are some pointers from Tim about how to select a location for your beehive.

1.)  Would you like to see the beehive, or have it in a more remote location?  It’s fascinating and safe to watch hive activity close to the entrance. The beehive could be placed with the entrance visible for onlookers to enjoy. 

2.)  Consider the direction your beehive will face and the hive activity that will take place in front of the beehive. The beehive has one directional opening and your bees will follow a flight path to enter and exit. Their flight path extends up to 5 feet from the entrance before turning upwards into the sky and out of sight. So for an example, we do not want to face your bees directly at a nearby doghouse, or footpath that is walked frequently. This is because bee activity will be high in the immediate vicinity of the entrance. Beehives are fine facing a wall, or another obstacle. The bees will fly up and over it.

3.)  Full sun is ideal, but partial sun or even seasonal sun will work. Full-shade is the least preferred, and least beneficial for the bees, but still an option.

4.) We want to face the beehive ideally South or West to allow for ample sunlight at the front entrance when it matters most for the bees during the winter months and colder afternoons. Our research shows that facing hive entrances North and East tends to be less helpful for beehive success.

5.)  Consider wind blockage if it’s a windy location. Winds come from the north in winter and often come off the water. Positioning the beehive closer to vegetation, buildings, fences, etc. works well. If nothing is available that is okay, we can face the entrance to face away from the direction of the most prominent and harsh winds.

6.)  Is there a water source within about 3 miles? Bees, like all animals, need water. You can always add a bird bath for the bees to drink from, as long as there is something for the bees to land on and avoid drownings, such as leaves, stones, or even wine corks. Bees also collect the water they find on plants.

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