There may be no choice as to where you place your hives, as you may only have one position in your backyard for them to go. If you do have a choice take into consideration the following points:
- Face your hive/s North East so that the morning sun encourages them out.
- Protect entrances from prevailing winds otherwise the bees cannot control the temperature of the hive.
- Place your hives as close to their food and water source as possible. If the bees have to fly a long way for their pollen, nectar and water, it wears them out and is not productive.
- Near a reliable water source that is shallow at one end if possible so that the bees don’t drown. Pebbles can be placed in a deeper water source so that the bees have somewhere to land and can get to the water without drowning. If no close water source is provided they may get water from a neighbours swimming pool which may cause problems. Again don’t waste the energy of the bees by making them travel distances for water.
- Look at an automatic water source that refills from a hose such as a small pet or chicken water feeders. There are also chicken water containers if a hose is not nearby. Both types will need pebbles in the tray to stop bees from drowning and kept in a shady position. Images below. Even if you provide a water source it doesn’t mean they will use it!
If the flight path goes over a fence to the neighbours, make the fence taller so that bees are directed higher above neighbours heads.
- Choose a sunny spot for winter. In summer afternoon shade or dappled shade would be appreciated.
- Keep the area around the hives mown. If the area is damp, make sure hives are up off the ground.
- If the hives are going to be kept in a paddock, make sure stock cannot knock them over.
- About half way up a slope or hill keeps the hives away from damp areas at the bottom and the wind from the top.
Check your Local Council Rules for bees kept in suburban back yards. Follow the advice for remaining friends with your neighbours.