Hive Placement

We position the hives where they get
good solar exposure, preferably south or southeast. Here where I’m at in the
woods, I’m doing the best I can to get good morning sun. It comes up right over
here. The quicker the hives warm up on marginal days, you know 50-55 degree days, the more likely they are able to get out and get some pollen to feed brood, so sunny locations are best. Full sun all day is fine. I generally raise hives about knee high. This stand is just a little bit low. Most of the stands hit right about my knees. That makes for easy lifting, for the bend and lift, until they get as tall as the last
one we worked with. Also, by getting hives, you know 16-20 inches off the
ground it reduces skunk predation. Skunks are pretty big on eating bees. They come to
the front door, they scratch on the front of the hive. The bees come out, they
squish them and eat them. They chew up wads of bees, get all the good juicy stuff out and spit out
these wads and you’ll find skunk sign in front of your hives. A lot of times I find it opening a hive and the bees are really aggressive. If the bees are really
aggressive and I haven’t experienced aggression from that hive, I’ll look around
the front on the ground and nine times out of ten I find these
little pallets of bee parts where the skunks have been working on a hive, so getting your hive up off the ground helps reduce that risk. Skunks are thick, heavy guard hair furred
animals and it’s hard for a bee to sting them but they’ve got a little soft area on
their belly so if they have to stand up really high to reach that hive, the bees nail
that belly and they tend to leave the bees alone. So, some of our hive components, you might have seen in the previous video, on the bottom we have our bottom board. There’s both screened and
solid bottoms. I’ve used both. Screened bottoms provide a lot of ventilation. They
also provide an easy way to assess mites. There’s a plastic sheet called a sticky board that slides in a channel
under here and as mites drop you can evaluate your mite levels. Then the
first box here’s our brood chamber. This particular hive is a double brood chamber.
Most southern beekeepers tend to run a brood chamber and a super which is a
narrower box like you see here. So here we have a brood chamber and a super which is more common from the Mid-Atlantic south and then the Mid-Atlantic north more people run two deeps or a double deep hive. That just allows more room for winter storage.
This box when it’s full of honey could weigh 70-80 pounds, so that’s a lot more
honey stores for a longer winter. In a more moderate latitude, from say Virginia
south, a hive body and super. This is actually an Illinois or medium super. It’ll hold about
forty-five, fifty pounds of honey. So here I am at 3,500 feet elevation in the
North Carolina mountains. My altitude is similar to a further northerly latitude
so I run a lot of two deep colonies just so they have plenty of resources
for winter, but they winter okay with a deep and a super. If I have 40-45 pounds of
honey in the super though, I need to make sure there’s a couple frames of honey below September-October so they have more than enough to get through the winter. Then another configuration that folks use this getting really popular among hobbyists, just due
to ease of maintenance and lifting is three supers. These are three medium supers. In this set up, all the frames can interchange from one box to another
so if you want to move resources around say this box is largely empty you can
move a couple of honey frames that are on the wall down to this lower box if need
be or rearrange empty frames. There’s a whole host of management strategies
where having all the boxes the same size is to your advantage and then the main
advantage to an all super situation would be easy on your back for lifting.
This full of honey would be about a 45 or 50 pound box versus this one being a
seventy, eighty pound box. So, much easier on the body. Once we get our our area for brood, this
is what I would leave for the winter configuration: two deeps, a deep and a super or a triple super situation. We use the queen excluder then we have the
telescoping top. Underneath the telescoping top we have on this hive a screened inner cover. I use screened inner covers from May through September because it allows the
bees to get a lot of ventilation. If bees can move air, they can dry honey
faster and then I move bees to honey locations and what the screened or
ventilated inner cover, I don’t have to worry about hives overheating when I
close them up to move them but typically in the fall I’ll switch that to
a solid inner cover, looks more like this. So that just helps the cluster.
They’re heat doesn’t escape as easily above the cluster in the winter. Some folks in more northern states will put a layer of insulation on this inner cover for winter. There’s a lot of different ways to winter bees. I don’t tend to do that and they winter well, but this is my inner cover
from October through March or April. This is an entrance reducer. It’s got a large area and a very small one. On
a weaker colony I might place that to where bees can only enter an exit
from the small opening. As you’re growing a new nuke or a package out, you’re probably going to use an entrance
reducer. The larger openings usually fine if you have a colony that’s in
weaker condition and you have lots of strong colonies especially this time of
year as we approach August, there’s a dearth. There’s very little nectar
available. I may reduce entrances just to reduce the chance of other stronger
colonies taking advantage of weaker colonies because bees will rob weaker
colonies. Survival of the fittest.


  1. John, I am a Canadian Newbie to the beekeeping hobby. First class this June. After seeing alot of you tube videos and reading alot of books I would like to thankyou very much for your videos. You sir, have a very good, strong knowledge of beekeeping. Hope to see more vidoes in the future. Once again, Thankyou for a job well done.

  2. How is the colony's ability to keep (the queen) warn affected by deep verses medium boxes?
    Deep box means more bees to heat the space, but more space to heat.
    Medium box means less space to heat, but fewer bees to heat that space.
    Which is better?

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