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Where to locate my hives (to keep them out of neighbor's pool)???

Posted by gtmylo NH (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 31, 12 at 11:48

Greetings to all!

I am a new beekeeper and I am trying to determine the best place to locate my hives. There are a couple of variables/issues that are conflicting with the basic information on hive location, so I am looking for some seasoned help Smiley I have a Langstroth Hive and am building a Top Bar Hive, and I need to locate both of them somewhere on my property...

First, my land has a drop off and slope... my house and backyard is located up at the top, in the back yard are my fruit trees and various plants I want the bees to be able to find to pollinate, then the back yard drops off steeply about 35 feet down, and then gradually slopes back 800+/- feet, down a nice, wide path through the trees/woods to a stream, where I want them to get their water. I would just keep the hives in my back yard, however, my next-door neighbor has a pool. Fortunately this is semi-rural New Hampshire, and the pool is a good distance away, but from my back yard the pool is much closer than the stream, and I obviously want the bees to use the stream at the back of my property, rather than my neighbor's pool. For this reason I figure I have to locate the hives down the path in the woods, but I also want to make sure the bees will make it to my fruit trees and plants to pollinate them. It will be a straight line to the plants, but they have to fly up a good 40 feet on the way.... I assume this is OK?

I also am concerned with how far away everything is for maintenance purposes. It is not the worst hike down to the stream, and for regular checks it should be fine, but I figure carrying hives, full honey supers, etc, it will become more challenging. Fortunately, I can use my lawn tractor with the pull cart if needed, so it is not a huge issue, but I do want to determine the best location(s) closest to the house, that will still ensure the bees use the stream and not the pool.

Then there is the issue of sunlight. Right now the trees have no leaves, so I think I can find the sunnier parts of the woods, but how much shade is too much?

I have 3 potential locations, LOC1 in my back yard I figure is out, since the pool would be the absolute closest water source (but correct me if I am wrong!), and I feel like they would never fly way down to find the stream. LOC2 and LOC3 are in the woods, with LOC2 being about half-way between my house/plants and the stream, and LOC3 being the furthest from the house, but closest to the stream. Any of the locations can support both hives, as there is good room in each.

I am eternally grateful for any input on this. Thank you all!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Where to locate my hives (to keep them out of neighbor's pool the end of the day, you can't really make bees do what you want them to do.
Still you can try, but pool water with chlorine seems it really attracts bees. You could locate your hives to the stream and see. If it doesn't help, I would move them to a sunny south exposed location and see if you can make them a water source, kind of a gravel bed pool and put a couple of drops of lemon oil in or chlorine.
[It needs to get cleaned every one's in a while]
Sure, full sun is best but I know of a bee keeper who has bees
in the middle of a bush and bees have to clear tree tops. He say's it works fine. I wouldn't be worried about your orchard being further away, bees fly many miles for the best pollen/nectar source.

RE: Where to locate my hives (to keep them out of neighbor's pool

Hmmm, morning sun is good. I don't know what your typical summer temps are, but I located mine with morning/early afternoon sun, then they get some shade as it gets over 100 here in the summers. I would think bees are attracted to pools because they give off a much larger reflective signature that the bees can see and recognize as water. You could try placing some buckets or small pond liners around the hives to keep them closer as I don't think they like flying for water too far or use a chicken feeder type deal near the hive. Just put stuff in them to land on so they don't drown if you use a bucket etc.. I think it depends on your personal preference of how far you want to walk etc... to watch your bees and work with them. In the woods you will probably have to deal with more pest problems etc... but the bees would probably be more secluded from intruding on your neighbor which is a justified concern. I would say put them a moderate distance from your target plants though as I've noticed they don't really prefer to forage right next to the hive unless the blooms are really attractive to them, my cherries for example, they really didn't care the trees were 10 feet away with big clusters of white flowers. They actually seemed more interested in the pinkish/red leaf curl on the peach/nectarines. If you can keep them out of the wind, that's usually preferred as well. Like Konrad said though, bees will be bees sometimes and there's not much you can do about it. In my opinion, I would put the TB hive in your backyard and the lang in a second location as the TBH might need more attention since your just setting it up and you could watch it more carefully until it gets established.

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