BEE HOUSES – SITUATION OF THE APIARY.
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Aspect.—I will commence by giving the aspect best suited for the Bees to be placed in. I have tried all aspects, and have no hesitation in saying that the south is the best. Bee-houses of all kinds I very much dislike; many hives are ruined by them; they are expensive in the first place, and they form a shelter for their worst enemies, mice, moths, spiders, &c., and not the least, dampness, which is ruinous to them. I would recommend the hives being placed south, or as nearly so as may be convenient; if at all varying from it, give them a little inclination to the east, and be sure to place them so that they have the morning sun, for the honey-gathering for the day usually finishes by two o’clock; therefore an hour in the morning is of much importance to the Bees, as well as to their proprietors. Another inconvenience arising from Bee-houses is that several hives being placed upon the same board encourages pilfering, and renders it almost impossible to operate upon one hive without disturbing the whole.Fig. 1.
Stand for Hive.—Having, therefore, for these reasons, recommended the abandonment of Bee-houses altogether, I would say, Place each hive upon r separate board supported by a single pedestal 4 or 5 inches in diameter—a piece of wood with the bark on does remarkably well; place it firmly in the ground, and about 15 inches from its surface. Upon the top of this post should be nailed firmly a piece of board 8 or 9 inches square, upon which should be placed the board the hive stands upon, but not united to it, so that the hive may be removed whenever required without disturbing the Bees.
Clay or mortar should never be used to fasten the hive to the board; the Bees will do that in a much more effectual manner themselves, with a substance they collect from resinous trees called propolis. Mortar or clay tends very much to decay the hives; and hives managed on this principle are expected to stand for fifteen or even twenty years. – 6 -Let the hives be placed about 3 feet apart from each other, and in a right line. The best covering, as a protection from rain, is a large flat earthen pan (a milk-pan) sufficiently large to prevent the drip from falling upon the board. It would in all cases be well to give them the shelter of a wall or fence from the north, but on no account place them close to it, but leave a space of 4 or 5 feet at least for a path; for the operations of taking off small hives, glasses, or boxes of honey, are much more conveniently effected at the back than in the front of the hives. It would be well to clean the boards on which the hives stand four times in the year—namely, in January, March, April, and November. January and March are the most important.
The place where the hives are fixed should be kept clear of weeds; and plants which rise in height equal to or exceeding the entrance of the hives should not be suffered to grow near them.