1. Follow regulations of the Apiary Code of Practice when setting up your Hive(s); number of hives on your property, distance from fence etc.
2. Bees forage within a radius of 3km; food sources don’t have to be immediately next to the hive or even on your property. No need to place the hive underneath the apple tree you want to have pollinated.
3. Do NOT place the hive in the middle of your vegie patch, as the bees might get aggravated when you work near the hive for more than ten minutes. Bees react on vibration of the ground, e.g. digging or hammering.
4. Do NOT place the hive near an area of lively activities, playground, trampoline, walkway, neighbours’ fence line, etc. – ensure that flight path is not crossing such areas.
5. Avoid stagnant water sources which may become contaminated by dead bees and bee excreta.
6. If not already existing, provide a constant source of fresh, uncontaminated water not closer than ten, but within 50 metres from the hive before placing the hive. Don’t rely on the neighbour’s swimming pool.
7. Place your hive in a dry and well ventilated area - humidity is a major contributor to fungus diseases.
8. Do NOT place the hive in a damp, cool and dark spot! Humidity and low temperatures promote the growth of fungi, which are the biggest threat to bee colony health.
9. Chose a wind protected area if possible; cold winds cool down the hive and the bees need to convert more honey to generate the required temperature.
10. Provide good ground clearance for your hives to keep the dampness out. Always elevate your hives from the ground; on a hive stand, on pallets, on bricks - the higher, the better. It will keep the moisture from the ground out of the hive. If the hive is close to the ground, grass or weeds will block the entrance, reducing ventilation - and all sorts of crawly creatures will have it easy to conquer the hive.
11. Provide protection from the rain if possible; rain cools the hive and increases the humidity inside the hive.
12. The ideal hive location is a dry, wind protected and mostly sunny spot (“sun trap”) where additional shade can be provided on days above 30°C.
By following these proven strategies when setting up your hives you can reduce health threats to your bees.