Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hive Location

Hive location is a very important part of having bees. They need the sun to fly but they also need shade to keep cool during the summer months; not too much rain or wind, the list goes on. My hives sit between 2 pine trees with some bushes around and they get good sun around 10am or so (at this time of year) and they can be seen coming back to the hive well into the early evening. They love morning sun and the sooner they are out of the hive foraging, the better for you.

There are my girls!

The hive doesn’t actually take up too much room so you don’t need a large yard to accommodate it.  Hives can be kept in small yard, on your roof and even on a balcony.  If you have a small yard, you will want your bees to be comfortable, but yourself and neighbors too. Watch them and familiarize yourself with their flight patterns as they may change. You might have to adjust the hive depending on how close your neighbors are. A lot of urban people keep them on their rooftops for space issues but also so the neighbors are not in the direct flight of the bees leaving or returning home.

When they leave the hive they fly up and outwards making a series of spirals. This orients them and imprints an aerial image of the hive for the return trip home. They are pretty full of nectar and pollen when they return though so they usually make a direct shot back to the hive and make their deposits.

Bilburgia (sp?)

They like to be sheltered from the elements and the hive itself will protect them from most types of weather that mother-nature throws at them. You wouldn’t want to put it in a windy spot or put the entrance facing the wind. They are strong fliers but why make it harder on them? Bees regulate the temperature inside the hive (with their wings) but they need some shade too keep cool also. They keep the hive at a steady 95 degrees.

Avoid sunken areas because when the air gets cool, the bees will have to work harder to heat the hive.  Also, bees don’t mind the cold but they dislike any dampness. They usually seal up their hive with something called propolis (a glue like substance). If your hive is near trees or bushes, you need to make sure the branches are trimmed back. If the wind is blowing hard, it could knock a branch on the hive and disturb the bees or a branch could fall on it and do some damage.

If you don’t have a source of natural water nearby you will need to provide one for them.  They can’t swim though so make sure to have something inside the container or pot for them to stand on. You could even throw some small sticks (make sure they float) into a bucket.  As with any ’pet’ you give water to, keep an eye on it and don’t let it run out.

Another important point is to make the hive level. When my bee-man came out and put the hive in, his iPhone has an app for leveling things, lol, easy peasy. We put the hive on bricks and they are good to go. I wish I could have painted the hives before I got the bees, but it is what it is. One more thing, you will need to make sure you have plenty of storage for all the equipment you will be using.

Are you thinking of getting bees? I love, love, love watching mine dance and fly in the late afternoons. Thanks for reading. J  

1 comment:

  1. I am so looking forward to watching my bees! They come the first week of May.



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