A week ago we asked our followers on Facebook what topics they would like to read about on our blog. Our fan Charlene asked the following question:
“what is ideal temps (areas of the country) for beekeeping and where is the best spot for hives (in full sun, part shade, outskirts of a wooded area, etc.)”
What a great question! While there are no specific ideal temperatures for bees, they will not fly in very cold temperatures and of course there are often no flowers in bloom in the winter in colder areas for nectar or pollen. However very hot weather has its own issues as hives can overheat and then the bees spend lots of time and energy trying to cool off the hive. Each specific area of the planet will have its own concerns climate wise but there are some good basic principles for hive location that apply to many if not most beekeepers.
So where do you put your beehive? What things should you consider when you place your hive? The easiest way to think about it is that a beehive is just another tiny house and many of the same concerns you might have for your home apply to the house for your bees.
Where would you put your little home?
- For most everyone you’ll want to avoid an area with high winds, especially if they are cold winds. No one wants a cold wind blowing through their home and bees don’t either!
- Their little home should be easily accessible to you as you’ll hopefully be hauling out heavy boxes of honey in the comb and you won’t want to trek through a huge field to get to your transportation. Just like at home, hauling stuff to get to your front door is a consideration here too, though this particular concern is more about you the beekeeper than the bees.
- If you live in a cold, wet area then full sun is a great idea. Just like choosing a site for your own home in such a climate, a location deep in the dark woods will make for a cold, damp and possibly moldy home. Not ideal for bees or us.
- However the reverse may be true for areas where the temperatures are very high in the summer as no one wants to feel like they’re baking in their house. And while for you cooling off the home means a higher energy bill for bees it also means a higher energy bill, but in this case it’s their energy spent towards cooling off the hive rather than gathering nectar and raising new bees. Ideally a tiny home in a hot climate will have some good afternoon shade to keep the bees from the extreme temperatures.
- Bees are a bit like us when it comes to getting up and going to work. No, they don’t throw the alarm clock across the room or hit snooze multiple times before getting up, but they are affected by sunlight and aren’t fond of going to work in the dark. Place your hives in a location where they get good early morning sun to get your girls out and working a bit earlier and hopefully make for a healthier and happier hive.
- The final concern is traffic, in this case the intersection of human and bee traffic. You don’t want to place your hives in a place where you’re going to have to block the flow of bee traffic on a regular basis and while simply walking in front of the hive often won’t result in you getting stung (depending on the temperament of your bees) it still interrupts their flight path and thus their ability to get work done. No one likes something in their way when they’re working hard.
Not every parcel has a perfect location for hives and often we have to make concessions, placing the beehive in the best location for what we have available. Take a look around your property and think “If I were going to live in a little house here, where would I want to be(e)?
What concerns do you have about hive placement where you live? Let us know by posting a comment below!