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Where to locate the bee hive


Wondering where the best spot is to locate a bee hive? Sunny, shady, how far away from the house, in the woods ok?

New Hive Placement

Hi Orchard,
You seem to be asking the same questions I am. New to bee keeping as well. Have you been reading any bee books as the ones I’m into for bee-ginners all cover this too some degree.
Where in the world are you?
My reading suggests sunny site - bees can regulate the hive / brood temperature and a warm start in the morning gets them flying. They can cool the hive quite efficiently with fanning.
Woods are a general ‘no’ as the over hanging trees will drip rain and be dark, depending on the canopy. A good clearing would be a good location.
How close to the house? Well many people have an ‘out’ apiary, where the hives aren’t in their garden so can be hidden and away from people. I don’t think distance from the house is such an issue as where people are! Bees can swarm, or if disturbed and upset fly around and sting neighbours.
What are you current plan?


I’ve been researching this as well. My lot is very narrow (but long) and my neighborhood is packed pretty tightly. Plus, I have 3 dogs.

SO…I’m putting my hive up on my roof! I’m designing a table structure to hold the hive, secured to the rooftop, with a ‘blind wall’ setup to keep the hive hidden from street view. I’ve read that as long as the bees have about 2 feet of space in front of their hive, you can put it right up against a wall and they’ll simply learn to fly in and out within that space. (plus, the “blind wall” will protect the hive from too much wind.) It does get hot on the roof in the summertime, but I live 1 mile from the Pacific Ocean, so there’s always a cooling breeze.

I’m also designing the tabletop to have a drop-down shelf that is lower than the hive-level space that will hold my jars when my Flow hive is…well…flowing during harvest. Once the harvest is complete, I’ll fold the shelf away.

If everything works out correctly, I’ll be able to eyeball my hive from the ground so make sure Mr. Buzzy and friends are coming and going, yet it’ll be up and out of the way from my pets, etc.

I’ll post pics once everything is complete (if we can do that here).


Random Picture of Judge Schmaels <-- testing photo link


Why not just plumb pipes right down to the kitchen :), activate the Flow and keep a jar ready to fill.


OK, let me give this a try, I am looking for feed back on where I plan to put it and I have may reasons but looking for holes in the reassigning.

  1. west side, well not do west but it will not get morning sun. the only place I can put it.
  2. The area is a side yard with little traffic. it is 8’ from the house to the fence.
  3. there are 2 A/C units near where the hive
  4. The fence is 8’ high, I read, that by having a high fence the bees will fly over the neighbors heads as the leave and enter the hive.
  5. I will be placing a water garden just love 20’ away from the hive on this side yard


You will be surprised how resilient your bees will be, the preferred sites will need to conform with any local ordinance or Codes of Practise for your state. If you live on a suburban block then consider pets and neighbours, dogs and children need some distance. Best to place your hive out of view of the neighbours (just in case) unless they are beekeepers too, one complaint and you may have to shut your hives down permanently. If this isn’t possible the consider a screen, your bees will fly up and over. If your neighbours have a chlorine or saltwater pool (bees love this stuff), you will need to have a clean water source nearby so they won’t end up in the pool. Morning sun is the best placement for your hive, however they will be fine in part shade, full shade is not recommended.


Sounds like a good spot Marty, as long as the air-con is not blowing into the hive and you have plenty of clearance around to get to your brood box and set frames and boxes down whilst you inspect you should be right.


I’m wondering, most of my yard is low and sometimes wet and swampy. My house is on a built up high part along with the driveway. There is a sloped highish part behind the house but I can’t see it from inside the house. The only part of the lower yard that is always dry is on the septic tank. Is there any harm putting the hive on it? It would be on the south side of the lot and I could see it from my deck. BTW I am in Alaska.


I don’t think the bees will care Diana, as long as you don’t mind the smell when inspecting the hive. Its a good practise to make a regular observation of your hives entrance as you can tell a lot by viewing the comings & goings as well as dead or dying bees out front and any predators that may be picking off your bees. You will find yourself making regular trips to the hive because they are so enjoyable to watch, a swampy area is not ideal.


Thank you for the reply, yes plenty of clearance from the AC units. At least 5 feet and it does not blow on them at all just a little noise occasionally. I have a pool, the nearest neighbor that has a pool adjacent to me is well over 1000 feet away at least 6 homes. Where I’m planning to put the hive, is fully enclosed fence area/private. It gets about 4 hours of direct sunlight in the late afternoon. Sunlight in late afternoon, is right now but I am planting trees and bushes adjacent to the area to additionally provide some shading.

Don’t mind these coming to my pool, but would rather limit their need. That is why I’m putting in a nice water garden, additionally for my tranquility when sitting over there watching the bees.



From what I can tell, this sounds like an excellent spot! Out of the way, and the fence should put the bees coming and going above the neighbors’ heads. What’s on the other side of the fence? Neighbors backyard or high traffic area? (just curious). I love the nearby water source, your bees will too!

Just be sure that the hives are far enough away from the A/C units so that the fans don’t blow or suck too close to the hives, that could cause problems.




You can place your hive on concrete blocks to keep it up off the ground. The bees themselves won’t care if it’s swampy…they fly from place to place, they don’t walk! :wink:

It sounds to me like your biggest concern would be how easy is it for YOU to access your hive. You will need dry space to set aside the boxes when you're inspecting the hive, etc., and if there's nothing but swamp, then where would you place them?? 

Your septic tank area may be your best bet.



Thank you both. My septic tank area is built up and quite a large area. It isn’t smelly And is a lovely grassy area in the sun. My yard is wild and full of tall grasses and yarrow and fireweed. So the high built up, lower grass area may be perfect or at least as perfect as it gets in my yard.


Go lightly on all that shade. Small Hive Beetles (SHB) thrive in shade and you don’t want to make conditions perfect for pests. Bees are happier in sunlight, too.


good to know, These are the little things that new beekeepers really need to know. Thank you very very much.

Learning what beetles are, learning about other diseases are easy in comparison to the little things like shading will provide a better home for the Beatles. Preventative measures and enhance the environment are priceless.

Please keep up the responses to me and others. I likely will start reaching out to you directly and asking for advice or comments.



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I live in the woods in Kentucky and plan to place my hive near a path to our pond/small lake, at the edge a small copse of trees. Many years ago when it was a farm, they had hives in the same area (no clue what happened to them), so I’m wondering if you think that would be advisable and if the pond is an okay water source? Fish thrive in it, and a waterfall from above feeds it during rainy days. Just want to keep the bees healthy!


It sounds ideal, right down to the pond water - just as long as the pond does not go dry. Also, be sure their flight path does not cross your path, or you could regularly run into a bees. Mostly they would ignore you, but sometimes they will chase you. It is no fun having a bee buzzing right at your ear as you make a run for it, or getting one entangled in your hair.


That sounds wonderful.


My property is wooded near a field with a stream. Possibly on the edge of that field somewhere.