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How Far Apart Should I Space Hives?

by Michael Hodgdon
(Huntersville, N.C.)

Bees Leaving Hives in a Row.

Bees Leaving Hives in a Row.

I am just starting out and I would like to know how close you can put hives together.


Hi Michael

People often worry about putting hives close together although there's no real reason why it should be a problem. Commercial beekeepers stack hives, on pallets, which are actually touching each other.

I put hives on stands made from 2" x 4" which are about 8 feet long. I often put as many as five hives on them side by side.

The books will tell you that bees will only go to their own hive, if they try to get into a hive other than their own, the guard bees will keep them out. This is partly true, but as with so many things concerning bees it depends.

In situations when there is a row of hives, beekeepers find that the hives on the windward end of the row seem to diminish in numbers, but the hives on the leeward end increase. As the foragers return to their hives they tend to drift because of the wind. It's probably a good idea to protect them from strong wind if possible.

It seems to me that when foragers reach the entrance, they are confronted by the guard bees, if they're loaded with nectar or pollen the guard bees allow them in. If they are 'empty-handed' they are repelled.

I think of it the same as when an acquaintance arrives at your door with a nice dessert or a bottle of wine their chances of being welcomed in are increased increased tremendously.

The Bee Guy


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