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British Beekeeping Association: “Criteria for apiary sites” –

It will rarely be possible to find a perfect location for an apiary, but below are some factors to bear in mind when searching for a suitable spot.

Family, neighbors and the public: Unfortunately many people are afraid of bees. While honey bees are usually not aggressive whilst out foraging, sometimes the public confuses wasps with bees and may come blaming you when they get stung. To try and make your bees less visible, it’s good practice to enclose the apiary with a barrier of some sort, such as a hedge or fence to force the bees to fly in above head height… Keeping your hives less visible also helps reduce the chance of vandalism or theft…

: Try to find out the amount and type of food sources available within your potential site, by taking a walk about and/or by asking local beekeepers… Bees usually forage within a 2-3 mile radius of their hives. It takes four pounds of nectar evaporated down to produce one pound of honey; it takes about a dozen bees to gather enough nectar to make just one teaspoon of honey, and each of those dozen bees needs to visit more than 2,600 flowers…


A flat site is easier to place hives on!
South facing is warmest.
The site should be sheltered from wind…  
It should be a site which does not flood
Keep hives away from the bottom of dips in the land…
Most books advise that sites under trees are unsuitable…

The bees will need a water source to produce brood food, dilute honey stores and cool the hive in hot weather. If a suitable pond or stream is not available consider providing a shallow water source in a sunny position, with stones bees can rest on to avoid drowning. Place this away from their main flight paths to avoid fouling. Adding a distinctive smell, such as peppermint essence, will help the bees find the water.

Access: Easy access to a site throughout the year, with a hard path down to the apiary, is important. Honey supers are heavy, so if you are using an out apiary it helps if you can park your car nearby. Sites which require climbing fences or ditches to enter are a bad idea…

Space: You need room to stand while inspecting and somewhere to put the roof and supers down….

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