Greetings to all!
I am a new beekeeper and I am trying to determine the best place to locate my hives. There are a couple of variables/issues that are conflicting with the basic information on hive location, so I am looking for some seasoned help :) I have a Langstroth Hive and am building a Top Bar Hive, and I need to locate both of them somewhere on my property...
First, my land has a drop off and slope... my house and backyard is located up at the top, in the back yard are my fruit trees and various plants I want the bees to be able to find to pollinate, then the back yard drops off steeply about 35 feet down, and then gradually slopes back 800+/- feet, down a nice, wide path through the trees/woods to a stream, where I want them to get their water. I would just keep the hives in my back yard, however, my next-door neighbor has a pool. Fortunately this is semi-rural New Hampshire, and the pool is a good distance away, but from my back yard the pool is much closer than the stream, and I obviously want the bees to use the stream at the back of my property, rather than my neighbor's pool. For this reason I figure I have to locate the hives down the path in the woods, but I also want to make sure the bees will make it to my fruit trees and plants to pollinate them. It will be a straight line to the plants, but they have to fly up a good 40 feet on the way.... I assume this is OK?
I also am concerned with how far away everything is for maintenance purposes. It is not the worst hike down to the stream, and for regular checks it should be fine, but I figure carrying hives, full honey supers, etc, it will become more challenging. Fortunately, I can use my lawn tractor with the pull cart if needed, so it is not a huge issue, but I do want to determine the best location(s) closest to the house, that will still ensure the bees use the stream and not the pool.
Then there is the issue of sunlight. Right now the trees have no leaves, so I think I can find the sunnier parts of the woods, but how much shade is too much?
I am going to (try to) attach a picture with estimated distances to give you guys a better idea, there are 3 potential locations, LOC1 in my back yard I figure is out, since the pool would be the absolute closest water source (but correct me if I am wrong!), and I feel like they would never fly way down to find the stream. LOC2 and LOC3 are in the woods, with LOC2 being about half-way between my house/plants and the stream, and LOC3 being the furthest from the house, but closest to the stream. Any of the locations can support both hives, as there is good room in each.
I am eternally grateful for any input on this. Thank you all!