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Do bees have a preference for entering the hive?


I have always noticed (from day one) that my bees always tend to enter the hive at the right hand side. Not all but at least 80% make a bee line (literally) for the right hand corner.
Consequently my bottom slide board has pollen stained corners in diagonal corners one side and on the opposite two corners on the other side. Indicating the bees use the right hand corner to enter the hive.

I am wondering whether this is the same in the Northern Hemisphere or do they like the left hand side.
Skipping over the Coriolis effect and bathwater, I figure that because bees use so many navigational systems including taking into consideration the rotation of the earth…maybe entering the hive is not random.


Mine tend to enter on the left, saying that I had my feeder on the far right until today as I moved it to the center. The small amount spilling over was collecting in the moat traps designed to keep the ants from entering the hive. I will keep an eye out and report back @busso. Does your hive face North?


In the summer when my entrances are bigger the bees prefer the LHS…how strange and what a singularly exciting observation @busso


It faces North East to get early morning sun and gets shade after 12 noon from trees overhead and to the West


From the amount of time I sit watching, my wife thinks I should be able to write a book. I told her somebody already has :laughing:“At the Hive Entrance by H Storch”. An interesting book which is downloadable at http://www.biobees.com/library/general_beekeeping/beekeeping_books_articles/At%20the%20Hive%20Entrance.pdf


Hiya busso, this subject has previously been discussed here on the forum, not sure of the thread though. At the time I was sure they were using the southern side which was, of course, the shaded side here in the Southern Hemisphere. Entrance facing east.
Due to this discussion I’ve done an experiment by fitting an entrance reducer with the entrance on one hive on the left and the other on the right, both new colonys moved from nuc’s into 8 fr boxes. Once the entrance was opened up they continued to enter and exit on the same side as the entrance was.
Now they go in and out wherever.
I have noticed the drones use the left hand side though. :wink:


In both of my hives, the bees prefer the right (viewed from the front of the hive), which happens also to be the southerly end of the entrance, as my hives face slightly south west.


I did do a search but nothing turned up on it. That is the problem with posts going off topic. Under the topic heading of say “Hive Entrance” it gets somehow to discussing, bee stings or gloves so a search doesn’t always turn up all the discussion on bee stings. Me, I’m guilty of doing this. Makes interesting conversation and it’s always going to happen.

Ah well, looks like my mob are just “right wing” zealots. You have well adjusted bees with multi skilling when it comes to entering the hive. :relaxed:


Seem like you got a mob of right wingers too. Might have expected that in say Kentucky, but not Southern California. :wink:


Yes, but it all depends on how you look at it. I generally look at my hives from the rear, so to me they fly left! :smile:


Hi Busso, I often see bees preferring one side to another. I’ll take more notice from now on. I always figured it was directly in front of the concentration of brood. I believe that once a bee does her orientation flight, she will return to the exact spot on that entrance, maybe within one inch.

I saw something interesting the other day. I had a flow brood box I wanted to close up for transport. It previously had two entrance reducers which only gave it about a 3" entrance in the middle. I removed those two entrance reducers an hour before dark to get ready to close the entrance before moving it. It looked very obvious & what I thought was amusing to see the bees only returning to the original 3" gap when there was now plenty of room either side of it.


That’s two for the left and none for the right.


My bees must be a bit more single minded. I had a 100mm (4") gap centred in my hive reducer over Winter but seemed like as soon as I took the reducer away for Spring they went straight to the right.
The photos below show both side of the slide board and the right hand front corner is just stained with pollen. I generally take the board out every second day or so and brush it. From the photos I think they need a good wash. LOL


My hive entrance faces west and is located on the south side of my property. The bees typically prefer to enter and exit via the RHS of the entrance - the side in the sun for longest (just) and not the side with most shade.

I have noticed that when fanning the hive they tend to prefer lining up on the RHS too. And when they cluster outside the hive it is often more around the north side of the hive (in shade) or the front (west facing).


Southern hemisphere here (Australia) with north facing hives

Mine have always preferred to enter and leave from the 5-10cm to the far right (as they look at it) but I always figured that was because they have 3 big trees to the left and directly in front of the hive about 5 metres away, so take off to the right where there is a clear flight path.