Location, Location, Location!
There are many things to think about when finding a location for your bees. lets take a look.
- If you live in a city or a neighborhood with restrictions you will need to check to see if your honey bees are even allowed. More and more city’s are allowing bees, but there are many still that don’t or they have limits. It’s your responsibility to know these before bringing in your bees. Ideally, the closer you can have them to where you live the more successful you will be and the more you will enjoy it. But that’s not always possible.
- Someone else property? Always negotiate a head of time what you will give the owner in exchange for putting your bees on their property. Be up front, if its a couple hives maybe a jar or two of honey. remember though that first year hives will not have extra honey. I have heard story’s of the land owner wanting 10, then 50 jars and the final year they wanted 100 jars. the beekeeper was doing all the work, paying for the jars and bottling. (she removed the hives at this point). I have an agreement where I will teach the land owner how to become a beekeeper herself. That means taking a lot more time then just running out and dropping another super on a few hives. What would take 10 minutes to do turns into 1 or 2 hours. A lot of it is just conversation and good P.R., but its part of being a good mentor also. Let them ask questions and answer to the best of your ability. (I never run out of things to talk about when asked about honey bees.)
- Never put your bees where another beekeeper already has bees. Find your own place. Two reasons: stop the spread of diseases. You can not check his hives and he cant check yours. What if AFB was in one of his hives, you would never know till you had to burn everything. and second, an area of land will only support so many hives. Placing more hives where the other beekeeper already has many just means your bees will not collect enough nectar or pollen and will make very little if any extra honey.
- Make sure you have access to the bees. Do you need to call the land owner every time you go check your bees?Ideally you want year round access. A second location I work with is a queen rearing yard. It’s behind locked gates. Make sure you have a key in case of an emergency. And when talking access, how far from your truck will you have to carry full boxes of honey? Make sure you can drive close enough that you can get equipment in and out easy. Is the road solid? what if it rains? You don’t want to carry 60 lb buckets or supers of honey up muddy roads.
- A lot of land owners will offer you locations they don’t use such as next to a creek. Beware of flooding. your bees need water but a fast heavy rain will destroy hives and sweep them away.
- A sunny location facing south is best. Get the hives up off the ground. A few pallets or cement blocks work well. Don’t go to high or you will have a hard time getting heavy supers of honey off if you go above your head.
- Don’t face bees onto the main walk way. The hive entrance will get very, very busy with thousands of bees on their way out looking for flowers. Know in your heart that your dogs and children will sooner or later learn the hard way that bees can sting. Don’t place the hives where the kids play. Let them learn the joy of honey bees with a bee suit of there own.
The honey bees are quite adaptive and hopefully will enjoy the hive you have provided them. Rarely is a location “ideal” so work with what you have, and have fun.