Last week we spoke about the different kinds of hives and how to choose them – If you missed it, have a look here https://www.gaeblini.com/en/2021/03/28/which-hive-to-choose-and-according-to-what/. At this point you may wonder: and now where I put them? where to place the beehives once purchased? Is a location better than another one? Good question…
And if you don’t have your own hives, when you make out some during a stroll, wouldn’t it be interesting to figure out why they are right there? and maybe understanding whether it’s a good place for the bees or can be improved? It could be a nice practice!
To be honest, before getting closer to the beekeeping world, I had never thought about it. However, where to position the beehives can’t be something decided at random.
Therefore, there are some real MUST to take into consideration even before buying a hive. Some things can’t miss for the bee wellness.
Which is the best location for the beehives?
Let’s find it out together 🙂
First of all, it’s essential an analysis of the environment where we want to place our beehives. Each environment has some potentialities, but also some limitations to take into account.
Now I will tell you what to consider when you have to decide the apiary position. Keep in mind that it’s very important to:
- be near a source of water: bees need absolutely water. Of course, if it rains, they will fly around to get some water drops, but during a drought? Near the chosen area, is there maybe a creek? Are you close to a lake? Rightly, the answer could be ‘no’, don’t worry – NO PANIC! There are many feasible solutions: for example, preparing a self-made drinking trough. Or a quicker alternative could be a bucket with some water (of course, to be changed daily) and a piece of wood that bees can use to not drown. It must not be slippery or anyway there must be something that can help them to get out in case they fall in.
- protect from draught: you need some kind of barriers, either for defending the bees from draughts (especially those from the North) and for safeguarding the pedestrians passing by. Recently I have read a beekeeping manual where the beekeeper author suggested to build a 2-metres-height protective barrier or a less bulky fence in bamboo. Anyhow, not too close to the apiary: beehives must not be in the shadow. These barriers are important because they adjust the trajectory of our friend bees, making them flying higher than any person and/or normal vehicle.
Just to make some things clear: beekeeping is wonderful, but please always consider other people, follow the good sense and rules of good neighbourliness.
- Orient the hives to south or south-east: the morning hour has gold in its mouth, hasn’t it? It’s essential to put the hive entrance towards the sun. Bees – kissed by the sun early in the morning – start ealier to look for nectar and pollen.
- have a good variety of plant life around (in approx. 3 km) so as to grant to the bees a various and balanced food source for the whole year. Be careful at intensive farming. Are you wondering why? These farmers might use harmful antiparasitic for our pollinators. You have to open your eyes, observe carefully and investigate a bit
- Needless to say a professionist beekeeper or anyway a hobby-beekeeper with a certain number of hives should have a laboratory too. A place where he can harvest honey and keep or preparing the tools in good hygienic conditions.
After observing the surrounding area, where is better to place the beehives?
Once chosen the area for the apiary, you have to place the hives on a base. Indeed, they must be above the ground. It would be a good thing if they are slightly sloped so as to let rain water or wetness dripping out. Nethertheless – do not forget – not too much sloped, otherwise the risk is that honey won’t stay where the hard-working bees are trying to keep it.
Very last point: if the beehives are in a garden, don’t let the grass grow too much. This could bother the bees, hampering their flight. In any case, when you cut the grass, you’d better to avoid the lawn mower! Otherwise the bees will get annoyed from the noise and they’ll be more probably stitch you. A little suggestion: something that is short and at the same time it’s useful due to its blooming is the clover 😉
Where are Gäblini´s beehives??
What about making a quick analysis about our apiary and see if we hit the points above mentioned:
- source of water → we have an artificial pond. It was created thinking of the bees (Granpa Heinz loves fish too, but this is another story) and Basti’s great-granpa had one too. It has been existing since before Basti was born, then about fifteen years ago they made it bigger (this time thinking of the fish as well). Even if artificial is anyway something that reminds of nature. It’s made with concrete and stones (it’s plastic-free) and it gives that extra touch to our entrance with its water lilies and big fish. The bees too appreciate it: in Summer especially, you can hear a sweet buzz from the bees collecting water. This, with the little fountain melody has already relaxed me till having a nap next to it 🙂
- Barriers→ we don’t have real barriers, but trees (especially apple trees). We prefer something more natural, since we have the possibility. In any case, our beehives are on the top of ‘a little hill’, so this natural difference in height helps to protect possible pedestrians.
- South direction→ we confirm that they are completely towards the south…so our bees are happily ready to harvest pollen and nectar in the morning as soon as the sun has risen!
- Variety of plant life around → In the surroundings there are many rape fields and many woods full of chestnut and hazelnut trees, Acacia and Linden. There is also a park with many chestnut trees and a boulevard of cherry trees. In Germany, in many little villages with still much green, the administration keeps some areas where people from the city can have their little piece of garden with a little cosy bungalow where to spend the weekends. I believe that this is a very nice idea: a good opportunity for who lives in the citycentre, but loves gardening and the peace of nature. In these green areas (we have one in Friedrichswalde as well), there are many vegetable gardens and fruit trees (elder, cherry, pear, plum and apple trees). These too are a good source of food for the bees. There are many fields with wild flowers as well around. We too, we have many flowers, fruit trees and a vegetable garden. It’s definetely a bee-friendly area!
- Laboratory→ our laboratory is a traditional Bienenhaus (lit. Beehouse): a kind of little house with beehives on both sides. At the back part there is a closed corridor that is where we keep the beekeeping tools. At the end of the corridor there is a tiny room where we harvest the honey. Both full and new empty honeypots are in another fresh and dry room of our house.
I would say that our apiary follows all the criteria without any issue, what do you think? Do not forget to follow us on the social networks, there you’ll find more about where we are and our Bienengarten (in German, ‘BeesGarden’).
Let’s do a game now: have a look around, do the hives that you can see hit these MUSTs? and if you would like to have or you have already your own hives, what do you miss from this list? C’mon, let us know in the comments below 🙂