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Which direction should the entrance face?

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Geoff 

House Bee
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Shropshire, UK
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commercial
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My hive faces South as I thought that would encourage the bees to get out of bed in the morning. However someone I know has his bees facing East and the entrance is shaded most of the time - its because he wants to keep their flight path away from people and his bees are doing OK.
I should soon end up with several hives and am wondering about arranging them.
I have made some hive stands and each will take two hives with the recomended minimum distance between the hives facing the same way. However I am wondering if eventually I could stick a third hive in between with the entrance facing the opposite direction?
The idea came to me while watching that programme "Who killed the honey bee?" The American bee farmers seem to have their hives loaded on pallets while they were sited with the entrances pointing all directions. Now I know they have warmer summers than us but could I point my hive entrance in other directions other than South?
 

Polyanwood 

Queen Bee
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I don't face mine West because the rain usually comes on the West wind, and when on solid floors I don't want extra moisture inside the hives, but apart from that I face them which ever way is most convenient to minimise drift and keep them out of people's way.

What do other people do?
 

Nellie 

Field Bee
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I think mine face North-West ish because that's where they were when I got them. Two other hives face west ish because if they faced east they'd exit the hive directly on the entrance of the apiary. We could point some south, but that faces away from the allotment and is where the spare hives currently sit.

You can tell I put a lot of thought into the direction they face.
 

Bucks_Boy 

House Bee
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I site mine between 30 and 80 degrees to a nice comfortable vantage point on the edge of the apiary - then I can observe easily the activity without being in the way of fast exiting bees "on a mission" .

Therefore in one Apiary they are from South-East to North-East, in another North-West to North-East --- both are bounded by 6 ft thick hedges so not worried about the wind.

However, I have noticed that the ones that get the Sun on the top of the hive first tend to fly earlier, even though the entrances are both in shade --- I guess its the temperature rather than the light that is the biggest factor ... but I may be wrong as I have only a limited sample --- any of the beeks with multiple hives have a more informed view ?
 

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