You must carefully select the area where you can locate your hives. The selected site should be close to your house for easy and regular supervision. There are several factors you should consider while selecting a site to place beehives.
Few are as follows:
- Apiary should be located in areas of sufficient sources of nectar and pollen yielding plants. Bees usually forage within a 2-3 km radius of their hives, so make sure there are food sources within that radius.
- The site should be dry without dampness. High relative humidity will affect bee flight and ripening of nectar.
- Easy access to an apiary site throughout the year, with a hard path down to the apiary.
- Apiary should be established away from roads and other busy places.
- A flat site is easier to place hives.
- Apiary should not be located in animal grazing areas because beehives may be toppled.
- The site should receive sun rays in morning and evenings and shade during hottest part of the day.
- The site should be sheltered from wind, so that foragers don’t struggle to land at the hive entrance and the roof stays on. A hedge provides good cover against the wind.
- Clean fresh running water should be available in the apiary or nearby apiaries.
- Dense foliage cover can make hives too wet and cold; however some shade in the afternoon helps the bees to work less to cool the hive or even dying from heat exhaustion or collapsing honey combs. Hence, avoid placing hives under dense foliage.
- Enclose the apiary with a barrier of some sort, such as a hedge or fence to force the bees to fly in above head height.
- Avoid establishment of apiaries in poor drainage areas and heavy pesticide use areas.
- Keep the area around the hives clear of tall weeds or grass. Cut grass and weeds – don’t use spray of any kind.
- The distance between two hives should be at least 3 meters.
- An apiary should not have more than 25-40 hives. If too many hives are placed into an apiary the bee colonies compete with each other.
- Facing the hive entrance to the East is the best way to get the most work out of bees as they usually fly from morning until early afternoon. If the bees see the sun early, they will start work earlier.