It is important to consider the location of your new beehive prior to installing your bees. You can’t move a beehive around your paddock, yard or rooftop easily.
Bees have highly developed navigational skills which are extremely sensitive to location. If the hive is moved only a small distance, they become confused and will return to the original site.
There are three important things to consider when selecting a site for your new hive – your bees, your neighbours and yourself.
The location of your beehive will affect the overall strength of your colony. Choose a sheltered position. In cool climates look for a dry sunny position, in hot climates, the hive will benefit from some shade, particularly in summer. Face the hive entrance away from the prevailing winds. Ideally, face the entrance in a southerly direction if you’re in the northern hemisphere and northerly direction for the southern hemisphere.
- Check out this Flow-sponsored safety pamphlet for an introduction to safety considerations to keep in mind when locating your hive.
Other considerations include
Bees excrete waste to a distance of about 15 metres from the hive. This appears as little yellow/orange dots that can stain washing and soil cars with light coloured paint. Situate your hive to avoid these issues. It’s a good idea to place your hive so that the flight path is over a seldom-used area of your yard or roof.
The hive should sit firmly, without any wobble on a stable base with clear access for when you are working with the colony. Placing the hive on a stand prevents rotting of base timbers and improves accessibility (options include bricks, concrete blocks, steel posts etc).
During harvest, Flow Frames should be tilted backwards so that the honey flows out to the honey collection tubes. The slope of the hive for optimal draining is 2.5 to 4.0 degrees sloping backwards (a tilt of about 15mm (1⁄2") over the length of the hive is enough).
There are two options:
- Chock up the hive when it’s time to harvest. Bees can be agitated by tilting the hive, so wear a beekeeping suit and do this several hours before you harvest.
- Leave the hive on a permanent slope. If sloping the hive backwards it is important to ensure that water can’t enter the front of the hive. A sloped landing board can minimise this.
Note: The Flow Hive 2+, Flow Hive 2 and Flow Hive Classic are designed with an inbuilt slope for optimal harvesting
For advice on moving a beehive once the bees are housed read our FAQ on How to move a Flow Hive. You can also consult a beekeeping book, the Flow Community Forum or your local beekeepers’ association.