Ph. 0490 399 319
Report a Swarm Facebook

Choosing An Apiary Site

Choosing An Apiary Site

one of the most important things to think about when you actually get your bees is where to put them

but even before that, you might want to consider the family or whoever lives at your home
they ok with it?
Ive had a number of people say they’re interested in bees but it was vetoed by partner
allergies are a consideration (epipen?)

in my opinion, the best place to put a hive is facing east to catch the morning sun

sun helpful in winter but can be too much in summer – deciduous tree ideal
this way the bees get the sun first thing in the morning to wake the bees up as early as possible in the morning and warm the hive as soon as possible in the winter
in summer the tree will have its leaves and so will shade the hive during the hottest parts of the day
in the winter there are no leaves so more sun can warm the hive

dripping from the tree causing excess moisture can be an issue though
a stream nearby would be ideal and of course lots and lots of forage
a wind break is helpful to shelter from prevailing wind but be careful of wind turbulence
a hedge is best but also shade cloth works well letting some wind through but not all
a boxed area with shade cloth or a curved wall works well
idea to slow wind and divert over the top simultaneously

look at: page 46 in beeking for dummies & p.168 Collins – diagram of perfect apiary
p. 47 stoopidly obvious diagram of working space around hive Hanes Bee Manual

in Victoria anyone can “legally” have a bee hive on their property so long as apiary code of conduct is followed local council can have nothing to say about it
only restriction is number of hives depending on size of property, how close to the fence, how high is the fence, water supply
council will only get involved if complaint from neighbours

neighbours are one of the biggest concerns
a great idea is to literally keep them sweet 🙂 give them honey everyone loves honey! Honey politics are very effective
code of practice states 3m from boundary of propergy… OR a beeproof fence of 2m tall (then it can be as close as you like) in reality if your neighbours dont complain its fine

bees fly up and away – at 5 meters away from hive they should be way about head height

conscious of bee flight path… can direct path with obstacles… can “force” bees to fly straight up by having entrance facing and close to a wall or placing obstacles that guide them away and up

must not allow flight path to cross pedestrian traffic, public or neighbours walkway or often used area

water source
code of practice states we must provide one but in my experience the reality is that the bees wont use it
they drink condensation from inside the hive
in the summer they can use a lot of water cooling the hive – some estimates up to a liter a day
but you can never tell with bees

they will choose their own water source for their own reasons – nutrients, ease of access whatever who can tell?
Ive read that t is possible to train bees to use a particular water spot but haven’t tried it or heard of anyone doing it first hand
– an illegal method as code says cannot feed bees outside of hive as encourages robbing
– mix sugar or honey with water bees will be attracted
– over time reduce the amount of sugar until only water
– by then the bees will have learned to drink from that water source
– can also flavour the water somehow (tiny bit of essential oil) so that the bees get used to drinking water that is a particular flavour – also never heard of anyone doing this – sounds a bit dubious to me – you’d have to definitely pick something the bees like and im not sure what – I think the suggestion was a tiny amount of essential oils

ease of access / working space
depending on kind of hive you will be lifting and moving heavy items sometimes up to 40k’s need space to maneuver and put equipment
also not a bad idea to have a clear path away from the hives incase the bees are feeling moody
perhaps be conscious of ease of access for thieves and vandals?
Could consider camouflaging hive so less conspicuous

– painting to blend in, placing behind something

wasps might be a consideration
wasps like to live in river banks … perhaps that stream wasn’t such a good idea
lots of wasps this year, my bees were attacked especially near botanical gardens, but they seemed to fare well
they seemed to learn tactics placing guard bees outside the entrance

avoid damp locations

avoid frost pockets

avoid peaks of hills (wind, cold)

hive should be level from side to side but tipped forward slightly so that rain does not enter and condensation runs out

hive stands are a consideration – bricks, tree stumps, build your own

books always say dont put hives close to each other
– “drifting” is possibe where the last hive in a row in the direction of the prevailing wind ends up with the most bees … I haven’t noticed that
– in commercial operations they often have hundreds or thousands of hives near each other or even somethimes stacked upon each other on trucks … not that im advocting … commercial interests over bee wellbeing nono but it clearly can be and is done
books suggest landmarks for the bees so they can recognise which is their hive or even painting different patterns
– I have five hives in a row and on top of each other – they seem fine – I even get the impression they work together and encourage each other … notice a sort of chain reaction sometimes during a busy honey flow where one hive will be busy and then in turn the others will… I suspect they tip each other off about location of forage so balls to what the books say