Normal Beekeeping Yard
Most hobby beekeepers have just a few hives they keep in their garden, or on someone's farm. The bees will do well in most places, but there are a few considerations that are important to keep in mind when placing the hives:
- Orientation. The best orientation is with the entrance towards South, but a little turned to East. The correct name for this orientation is South-South-East. Make sure their direction of flight is not too close to your neighbor's yard, or a path circulated by people. A minimum distance is 10 feet, although the legislation says 30 feet to your property fence.
- Leveling. The hives should be on a level surface, but if you have a solid bottom board, you should tilt them a little bit forward, so any water that gets inside will be able to drip back out. You can place the hives on pallets, or on stands. With the stands you can adjust for any terrain slopes easier (see the picture above). Plus, you don't have to work bent down. Keep the grass around the hives trimmed, or pour gravel, or even concrete pads.
- Shade. The bees will really appreciate some foliage shade from the afternoon sun in the Summer. In the Winter, you want the hives to get heated by the Sun to encourage the bees to move around or even do cleansing flights if the temperature allows it.
- Wind break. The hives must be protected from the prevailing winds, especially in the Winter time. If they are in a field, consider building a fence or stack straw bales to make a barrier.
- Water source. The bees need water, and if there is no creeek or other natural water sources, they will get to your neighbour's pool, which can create problems. In this case, it is a good idea to place a water feeder close by.
- Electric fence. If there are chances of bears, racoons or even skunks in your area, it is a good idea to invest in an electric fence. Choose a 110V generator if you have access to a power outlet, or a solar charged battery powered generator if your hives are somewhere in the filed of forest (see the picture above).
Fancy Beekeeping Yard
If you want to get fancy, you can build a beekeeping hut, or a beekeeping shed, or even a full fledged beehouse, like they do in Europe. You still have to orient it South-South-East and level it, but the building will provide protection from the winds and from most predators.
Mobile Beekeeping Yard
If you also want to do pollination services, you can place some hives in an enclosed trailer or truck. Or, you can build a few sheds on stilts that you can transport with a single flatbed trailer. You get protection from wind and predators and easier movement. Commercial beekeepers place 4 hives on a pallet and use a forklift to stack pallets with hives on a large flatbed trailer that can transport hundreds of hives.