Honey Heroes Unite!! Let’s take a moment to stop and think about the best beehive setup – beehive placement, building and more, and make sure your beehive set up gives the best possible results for you and your bees.
Whether you’re about to purchase a new beehive or have recently purchased a new hive and now it’s sitting in front of you ready to set up, you’ll need to follow a few basic principles to get this done right the first time.
Aim for a location that provides morning sun and afternoon shade to aid in-hive temperature regulation
Best Beehive setup – Location
Where’s the Best Place For My Hive?
This is an important consideration for you, your bees, your loved ones, and your neighbors. Your beehive is sensitive to the elements.
Aim for a location that provides morning sun and afternoon shade to aid in-hive temperature regulation. Furthermore, a south or south east facing hive is generally better protected from icy northern winds.
Knowing the prevailing winds in your area is important as you should face the entrance of your hives away from the wind.
Installing a pre-fabricated wind break, utilizing existing foliage or planting new bushes or trees can be hugely beneficial to your hives. The ideal location for your hive – if you have the choice – is in the middle of a hill. Too high and the winds are too strong, too low and the humidity and heat become oppressive.
How to Position Your Hive
First up, make sure your hive is on level ground. Once your hive is installed it should be slightly tilted forward to ensure it doesn’t fill up with rainwater. Next, you need a base because your hive needs to be stable. Remember you’re going to be working in these hives a lot. As a starting point, your hives should be a least 18 inches off the ground. This reduces predator invasion and is easier on your back. Cinder blocks, pallets and slabs of timber all work well here.
If you’re going for the full professional set up, there are some dedicated beehive stands. A word of advice, if you are in a particularly windy area you will need to strap your hives down once they are in place. This is also true if you have any pesky predators who are able to upset a hive. Use rope if you know how or inexpensive straps. Check out favorites below:
If you’re installing more than one hive make sure there’s enough room for you to get around the hives. If you live in an area with bears or other large predators then install an electric fence or some other very sturdy barrier before you install your bees. An electric shock may not be enough of a deterrent if you have bears who have already got the taste of honey.
Let’s Build Your Beehive
Let’s get you started on your way to the best beehive set up to suit your beekeeping needs:
Bottom Board – Lay your bottom board on your base. Remember to keep it stable and slightly forward tilting.
Brood Chamber – Lay the brood chamber on top of the bottom board. This is referred to as a deep super. This is the queen’s house and where she’ll rear her colony.
Frames – Install your frames into the deep super. Some of these frames will need to be removed depending on how you are receiving your bees. Beekeepers in particularly humid or cool environments have found that installing a ‘dummy frame’ on each of the sides aids ventilation.
Install the upper deep, this is the same size as your original deep super. This is known as the food chamber and acts as food storage for your bees. We recommend a deep box here for the best beehive setup, but if you have a medium or a shallow, that’s fine. Install your frames into the deep. This is the essence of a complete beehive.
Inner & Top Cover – Top your setup off with your inner cover and top cover.
Straps – After this is done, use a stone, brick, a heavy weight, or straps to keep the whole shebang together.
Now you’re ready for your package bees or nuc to arrive and install and, guess what? You’re beekeeping!!
Your original deep super and upper deep super will take at least a complete feeding season to fill with brood and comb but it’s worth the wait!
The Best Beehive summary:
– hot but not too hot
– high but not too high
– windy but not too windy
– level but a little bit tilting
– 18 inches high
– give yourself, and your bees, some space
That’s a wrap
Okay, you are on your way to getting the best beehive setup for you. We’ve given you a lot of information here but don’t overthink it. A beekeeping book is a handy resource to have. Your bees are pretty adaptable and will appreciate your care and understanding to get the best beehive setup for your environment. Go Honey Hero, go!