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Hi! I'm just starting beekeeping this year and am narrowing down where to place the hive. We have an acre of land and supportive neighbors so I'm not worried about them bothering anyone. I was going to put them right against our raspberry canes to prevent a back draft and that leaves me with the option of having them face east or west. If they face east, they go straight out to the yard. If they face west, they'll be right at the edge of my large vegetable garden. Everything I've read gives mixed advice about which is preferable. What would you suggest?
 

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Mine used to face east, and one still does, now the other a bush grew up by the entrance and they found a way out of a cheap bottom board to exit to the west, so when I replaced the bottom board I aimed them west.. I'm in Texas, the south wind in summer would not be good coming in the front entrance
 

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My hives face east. I have them against a tree line that then shades them from the sun/heat in the afternoon. It also provides a windbreak from our westerly winds in the winter. Facing them east or south gets the hives warmed up quicker in the morning and gets the girls working. If you have neighbor or yard issues, construct a fence in front of your hives about 5' away or so. The bees will come out and go up over the fence thereby getting higher in the air and perhaps not having humans in their flight path. The fence should be solid, like a stockade type and should probably be at least 5-6' high.
 

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The Guru's all say optimum hive entrance orientation is south/southeast.
So the morning sun lights up the entrance.

Other Beeks say orientation doesn't matter at all.

More important is available forage, flight path, afternoon shade, water source, off the ground, wind, etc.
 
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I just started beekeeping here in Northeast Ohio this being my first year. When I sat my hive up, it was in early August. At that time of year ,the sun was coming up directly out of the east, so I positioned my entrance, directly east so the bees would get the full morning sun. However, now in November, the sun is coming up more in the south east which makes me think that I should have sat it up facing more that way because the bees will need more of the sun's heat during the cold months ahead. My future hives will face more to the south east.
 

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It's not critical, just make sure your landing/entrance stays dry and clear.
I'm in zone 8 so I don't know what else you need. You are in zone 4 or 5?
I expect you have removed your supers, and closed up the top of the box to keep the heat in, and insulated the top cover R20, minimum.
 
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I agree with all of the above- bees prefer morning and midday sun but are versatile. Thomas D Seeley did a lot of research with t 124 swarms that he then put them in 14 tests sites. He found that bees had a definite preference for for southerly (SE, S, SW). He also mentions a study by Szabo T.I. (1983) found that south facing nests were less likely to get plugged up by snow- winter bees do need to take cleansing flights and drink water.
 

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It's not critical, just make sure your landing/entrance stays dry and clear.
I'm in zone 8 so I don't know what else you need. You are in zone 4 or 5?
I expect you have removed your supers, and closed up the top of the box to keep the heat in, and insulated the top cover R20, minimum.
Rick,
When you say, " closed up the top of the box to keep the heat in, " does this mean no top ventilation or top entrance ?
I'm still learning so please excuse my ignorance.
 

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There should be at least minimal top ventilation, a penny or nickel at the corners between inner cover and telescoping cover. As far as direction I faced my hives east but I had a defective bottom board on a hive and they were going out the back over the screen and entering and exiting to the west. So when I changed their bottom board I faced them west. I do need to lean a board over the entrance area to slow the winter wind if winter ever gets here.
 
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I don't use top vents or entrances during winter.
An upper opening in the winter can let out an excessive amount of heat,
and the bees are known to use condensate from the walls of the hive to thin the honey stores for feeding.
It can cause problems if the bees have to leave the hive to find water.

R20 insulation on the top of the hive to keep the humidity from condensing on the lid and dripping on the cluster.
 
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I use styrofoam insulation on top of the hives to prevent condensation from dripping. But while I didn't place coins this year I have in the past
 
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