BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Apiary Setup - Stand Locations

  • Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
 #4016  by Japey Edge
 10 Jul 2019, 11:42
Hi Everyone,

At the moment, my garden apiary was supposed to be temporary until I got my allotment. That scenario has been dragged out and it turns out my bees are good in the garden, with the exception of a few poop marks here and there.

So, we're going to properly set the hives up on a single stand that I have already made. The hives will be about 500mm from each other, entrances in the same direction. I have read that it's best to twist/turn them to face different ways so a bit of wind doesn't push an incoming bee into the wrong hive, but I've also seen plenty of photos of apiaries where hives are closer together.

How do you have your setup? Photos welcome!
 #4018  by NigelP
 10 Jul 2019, 13:01
Nearly all mine face the same direction. Makes inspection from behind much easier.
Different directions is supposed to stop drifting, but can't say I've ever noticed any. And if there was they are all my bees so I don't care which hives they are in.
 #4020  by Patrick
 10 Jul 2019, 14:18
My main apiary is in two rows facing each other in between rows in an orchard. The gap between them is what it is... two or three metres or less if another has been plonked there. I want to walk behind or stand beside each hive with a stack of supers on the upturned roof without tripping over them. Immediately next to each other is fine in a stack but rather chaotic when inspecting.

I do think there is something with the orientation of entrances to the prevailing most sunshine in terms of bees starting work earlier...but in practice, there are often other priorities which are far more important regarding orientation- specifically convenient flight lines of exiting and returning bees.
 #4021  by NigelP
 10 Jul 2019, 16:15
Yes Jazz very close together like 4 to a stand with a few inches between them in some cases.
 #4022  by AdamD
 11 Jul 2019, 09:34
My hives are generally 3 - 4 few feet apart - so it allow one to be slipped in between if needed. If you want to pop a nuc next to a hive from say, an out apiary, in order to replace the queen by a newspaper unite to the nuc, then you do need space between them.

Visually the ones in the photo are not good as they hives are all the same - variations in size/colour etc would allow the bees to identify their own hive more easily, I guess.

Bro Adam positioned his hives in blocks of 4 with entrances facing different ways.
 #4023  by Japey Edge
 11 Jul 2019, 14:04
Thanks guys! I can stick with my hive stand then. There's enough room to stand between the boxes to inspect, and also the colour schemes per hive vary quite a bit so I'm happy with that :-D
 #4026  by Patrick
 11 Jul 2019, 16:29
Books are usually a bit unhelpful regarding hive layouts. They seem to assume we all have huge Edwardian rectory gardens or keep bees in rural locations with a sumptuous array of options open to us.

I have seen bees thrive in hives pointing to every compass angle, in woodland and tucked onto flat roofs. It’s probably as much about what is possible and convenient to your personal circumstances.
 #4041  by Alfred
 12 Jul 2019, 13:47
So in real life all day sunshine would only benefit the honey production?
Does this have a large bearing on temper?

Mine are in a row backing on to an East facing hedgerow so they only get proper sunlight from late morning until sunset