Hive Placement wPictures

Hey guys, I backed Flow originally on kickstarter. I picked the complete set and received my brood box and Flow super in December, still waiting on the Flow frames though. Anyway, this is my first attempt at keeping bees and have been reading as much as I can. I also plan on attending my local bee keepers association’s monthly meetings. However, I want to start planning hive location and could use some help. My property is small, 60x128 and I am very close to my neighbors. I want to try an avoid any complaints…lol. I have two areas in mind…

Next to my chicken coop.

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On my deck’s roof.

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Near my pool…

I’m thinking the pool is prob the worst place. Too close to people. Near the chicken coop isn’t bad. I have both on posts to keep my two yorkies out of harm’s way. I’m thinking the best is on the roof of my deck. Out of the way, but I am worried about the bees bothering my neighbor. Are they high enough or will they come down and annoy her every time she is eating dinner on her deck, which is literally 5 feet from mine. Here are a few more pictures, I would really appreciate everyone’s opinion.

What direction is the coop facing?? in the northern hemisphere it is between south east and south west - if it is by the coop facing 90° to the pool ie entrance along the fence line and backing onto the coop would be good

Coop is facing southwest. Roof is northwest.

So the first picture with the hive by the coop but with the back of the hive facing the coop would work? The flight path will be along the fence line?

is the shed north or west of the coop?

Where in the world are you, Mike? I am guessing northern US given the architecture and a bit of snow on the ground. If so, you might want to check your local city regulations to help deciding the location of the hive.

San Diego, CA (my city) is very urban bee-friendly, but they do have VERY specific requirements for hive location. One that immediately comes to mind is that hives must be no less than 16ft from a property boundary. The second is that they must have a 6ft screen around them, to drive the bees up and reduce nuisance to neighbors. There are others too, like you must register your hive with the City - if you don’t and a neighbor reports you, there are substantial fines. Any how, not trying to scare you, but you may need to think more about location when you know whether your city regulates beekeeping.

May be too close to the property boundary

Looks good from the boundary point of view, but I would worry about the strength of the roof in supporting the hive, plus one or two people. If your local area runs on double deep brood boxes, you may have a hive which weighs in at over 200lb when full of honey and brood. If you add two humans to that, well, can that roof take 500lb in a small area? I am not a structural engineer, but we have had enough roofing issues, that I would think carefully about that.

I agree with you about the pool - you certainly don’t want the hive facing that way, just too attractive to the bees!

I think if you put them at the far edge of the roof (assuming it can take the load) and put 6 foot high insect screen around the hive, I don’t think the bees would bother her at all. They are not wasps or hornets - most human food doesn’t interest them, they just want to forage and protect their hive.

As far as the direction of the hive entrance is concerned, standard advice is facing as close to south as possible. However, I have had hives facing to all points of the compass and I haven’t noticed a major difference. The thing that does seem to make a difference is selecting an area that gets morning sun, otherwise they get a late start on foraging and don’t seem as productive. For peace with neighbors, I wouldn’t face the hives towards them unless they are a good 50 ft away. Same goes for peace with your family. However, the 6 ft screen can help a lot with not having to worry about that - the bees have already climbed and begun their foraging commute to cross the screen - they are less likely to waste energy coming back down to annoy humans before they continue their journey.

Hope that helps a bit.


That is quite limiting I could not have bees here if that were our rules

That is why I wanted to bring it up - different locales regulate differently, and it is up to the beekeeper to check before they get in too deeply… :wink:


The shed is NW of the coop, same direction the hive would point if it were on the deck’s roof. So you think by the coop with the opening pointed along the fence line? If I face the opening forward as in the picture (SW), the opposite side of the yard is 60’ away.

I’m in NJ. I can have it right on the property line, just needs a 6’ fence or boundary to alter their flight path. So placing it by the chicken coop shouldn’t be a problem. I am a little worried about my dogs, I would have to set the hive on a 4x4 to keep it 3’-4’ off the ground. Although I’m sure getting stung will teach them pretty quick…lol. Or I can just place it flat on the ground and use a small fence.

I like the roof alot, but never thought about the weight. I only plan on having a single brood box. This whole venture is more for fun than actually producing honey to sell or eat. I actually dislike honey, but am fascinated by social insects…lol. The roof is pretty sturdy, its not tin or anything. It’s all 2x6 rafters supported by two 4x4 beams. It manages with the snow we get all winter, so I imagine it would be fine, especially if I place the hive near the house and in the corner.

Mike having them on the roof will be no fun at all,
especially if you want to study and observe them. I spend a lot of time just watching them come and go. Maybe a bit like watching a fire in the fireplace.
I’m with @Valli backing onto the chook pen (but with enough room to harvest the honey at the back of the hive) along the fence line.
First job then is an observation seat.

I removed the deck chair to discourage too much time spent


I’d be sitting next to the hive on that convenient seat LOL

lol I like your sitting stump bahahaha (looks very Australian) have sat on many of these in my days :slight_smile:

What direction you face the entrance has as much effect as where you put it as far as people vs bee traffic. Here are my criteria for placement:

Here is a list of decreasing importance. I would pick these criteria with a willingness to sacrifice the less important ones altogether if they don’t work out:

Safety. It’s essential to have the hive where they are not a threat to animals who are chained or penned up and can’t flee if they are attacked, or where they are likely to be a threat to passerbys who don’t know there are hives there. If the hive is going to be close to a path that people walk you need to have a fence or something to get the bees up over the people’s heads. Also face the hive away from the path. For the safety of the bees they should be where cattle won’t rub on them and knock them over, horses won’t knock them over and bears can’t get to them.

Convenient access. It’s essential to have the hive where the beekeeper can drive right up to it. Carrying full supers that could weigh from 90 pounds (41kg) (deep) down to 48 pounds (22kg) (eight frame medium) any distance is too much work. The same for bringing beekeeping equipment and feed to the hives. You may have to feed as much as 50 pounds (23kg) or more of syrup to each hive and carrying it any distance is not practical. Also you will learn a lot more about bees with a hive in your backyard than a hive 20 miles (32km) away at a friend’s house. Also a yard a mile or two from home will get much better care than one 60 miles (100km) from home.

Good forage. If you have a lot of options, then go for a place with lots of forage. Sweet clover, alfalfa being grown for seed, tulip poplars etc. can make the difference between bumper crops of 200 pounds (91kg) or more of honey per hive and barely scraping a living. But keep in mind the bees will not only be foraging the space you own, they will be foraging the 8,000 acres (32 square km) around the hives.

Not in your way. I think it’s important the hive does not interfere with anyone’s life much. In other words, don’t put it right next to a well used path where, in a dearth and in a bad mood, the bees may harass or sting someone or anywhere else where you are likely to wish they weren’t there.

Full sun. I find hives in full sun have fewer problems with diseases and pests and make more honey. All things being equal, I’d go for full sun. The only advantage to putting them in the shade is that you get to work them in the shade.

Out of the wind. It’s nice to have them where the cold winter wind doesn’t blow on them so hard and the wind is less likely to blow them over or blow off the lids. This isn’t my number one requirement, but if a place is available that has a windbreak it’s nice. This usually precludes putting them at the very top of a hill.

Not in a low-lying area. I don’t care if they are somewhere in the middle, but I’d rather not have them where the dew and the fog and the cold settle and I really don’t want them where I have to move them if there’s a threat of a flood.

If you live in a very hot climate, mid afternoon shade might be a nice to have, but I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

In the end, bees are very adaptable. They really don’t care, so make sure it’s convenient for you, and if it’s not too hard to provide, try to meet some of the other criteria. It’s doubtful you’ll have a place that meets all of the criteria listed above.

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Thanks for all the great information everyone! I thought of another spot that might be safe, between the shed and fence. I could easily fence it off and keep the dogs out and its the furthest away from everyone. The shed faces east, so the hive will as well when placed there. Just wondering if it would be too shady.

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can you get around behind the shed?

Yup, I can walk behind the shed and access the back of the hive if I place it there. Only catch is the front of the hive will be like 6-7 feet from the back door of the coop, which is where I collect eggs…lol.

I’m in an urban area in Australia. l have mine on top of the roof to avoid annoying the neighbours who are generally pretty positive.

We are in the middle of a heatwave and the bees are looking for water wherever they can except tje multiple containers i’ve left for them.

I just found out that the neighbours dog has been stung 3 times… so much for pets learning. The neighbours are ok about it. Im going to try a front feeder for water next.

That will not be a problem. The bees will be flying to get over that coop so you wont be in their flight path.
That position would also shelter the bees from strong and or cold winds.
By the looks you could even move it back a couple of feet from the front of the shed. And here’s the best part of that, you could put a window in the shed so you can sit in there and just watch the hive in comfort.

I think you have found yourself a very suitable place.