An apiary is a bee yard where honeybees are reared for their products and pollination purposes. The number of hives in an apiary can vary depending on the availability of bee forage. However an ideal apiary should not have more than 50 hives.

APIARY CITING                                       

Apiary siting is the identification of an ideal site where honey bee colonised can be reared successfully.


      i. Forage (Food)        

An apiary should be established where there is an abundant nectar and pollen producing plants within a radius of 2-3 kilometers.  A beekeeper should therefore have a good knowledge of the bee plants near his apiary.


The presence of a stream of running water or availability of fresh water within a short distance of an apiary site is desirable.  If there is no permanent water source, water should be supplied in suitable containers. Water is an essential part of the diet of bees, and a lack of it adversely affects their nutrition, physiology, brood rearing and normal behaviour.  Water is also very essential for cooling the hive and diluting the feed. 


Bee colonies should be sheltered from high temperatures and strong winds by use of artificial or natural shelters. Strong winds cause bees to be drifted away from their hives while high temperatures cause bees to abscond.


A well-drained location should be chosen to avoid absconding of colonies due to high humidity.  Waterlogged soils cause rotting of posts and make the area inaccessible.


An apiary should be accessible for ease of colony management and transportation of equipment.

vi. Proximity

An apiary should be cited away from cultivated fields, schools, highways, hospitals, industries and residential estates. The recommended distance from these utilities is more than 300 metres.


Areas that are heavily infested with pests which can attack and destroy bee colonies need to be avoided.

viii. Fire Hazards

Localities with frequent bush fires are not suitable for beekeeping.

ix. Distance between Apiaries

This depends on the acreage of floral sources and the number of colonies within the area. Ideally, apiaries should be at least 2-3km apart.  It is recommended that each apiary should not hold more than 50 colonies.

x. pesticides

An apiary should be sited far from fields which are sprayed with pesticides to avoid bee poisoning and honey contamination. Avoid spraying when the plants are on flower or during peak foraging periods. It is important to use bee-friendly pesticides.


Judy Vanessa

Judy Vanessa is an accomplished explorer,a passionate animal health extension practitioner and author. She loves writing about farming articles in various sectors.

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