Selecting sites for Apiary/Beehives is a very important determinant of the success or otherwise of apiculture or beekeeping. Poor siting of an apiary may lead to lower production in honey, a high cost of production, conflicts with human and many others. It is, therefore, necessary to consider all possible factors that will enhance the life and activities of bees for higher honey production.
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In this post, we take a look at the factors you need to consider when selecting sites for apiary/beehives.
1. Availability of flowers
Site your apiary near a nectar source like flowering trees and shrubs, food crops and cash crops. Moreover, a beekeeper should know the flowering periods of the various plants in and around the apiary.
2. Availability of water
Site your apiary close to a perennial source of water. However, if there is no permanent source, you can provide water in neat colourful bowls or containers with floating sticks for bees to step on and avoid drowning.
Water is a necessity for bees for various uses in the hive such as cooling (temperature regulation), feeding of larvae and own use.
3. Accessibility and topography
An apiary must be accessible for easy management and transportation of honey. Flat or gentle sloppy lands are more preferred for an apiary for easy management.
4. Shelter or Shady area
Shelter beehives against strong winds direct sunlight and wind blowing off the top covers. The swinging of the hives makes the bees rowdy and hostile. You can do this through the use of trees for shade and as a windbreak. You can also use artificial shades.
5. The proximity of human activities or human conflicts
Site an apiary away from public places or areas where human activities take place every day. Avoid areas close to schools, markets, hospitals, playgrounds, highways, cultivated fields etc. as bees become a nuisance to the people.
6. Presence of pests and the use of pesticides
An apiary should be free from areas with frequent attacks by pests (honey badger, ants and man). Site your apiary should far from fields which are sprayed with pesticides to avoid bee poisoning and honey contamination.
We recommend a well-drained site to avoid being washed away by a flood. Also, waterlogged soils cause rotting of hives.
A well-sited apiary/beehives are almost permanent and productive over a longer period.