I’ll admit it.  I like for areas around the farm to be fun and whimsical…or as some have called it “cutesie.”  To me, it’s cheerful and adds something different to the typical farm scenes.  I also think it helps children who visit the farm to be less fearful of certain apsects…

like beehives!

I’d always thought that my beehives had to be institutional looking, you know, all white.  How boring!  When I approached Dave about painting “fun” scenes on the front, he wasn’t very enthusiastic.  Okay – maybe he had some cause for concern.  He’s seen me get a bit crazy with some of my ideas.

His suggestion was to stick with our farm colors – green and white.  Not much you can do creatively with those two colors!

When I went to the Beekeeping Conference last year, we went out to the the hives for a demonstration.  One of the hives was painted like a building from an old Western town.  It was darling!

I approached the instructor after class and asked about the hive.  Was it okay to do that to a hive??

Sure!  The bees don’t mind.  Personally, I’m thinking with all those females in one hive, they’d probably like to have their home spruced up a bit!  Who wants to live in a neighborhood where everyone’s home looks the same?  Where are the bragging rights in that kind of situation?

So I came home with renewed vision for my beeyard and a note from my instructor 🙂  Not really, but I would have asked for one if I’d had any resistance to my new ideas for the beehives…

I have since learned that painting something on the front of each hive helps the bees locate their hive, especially if they’re lined up together.  If the hives are all white and the wind is blowing slightly, “drift” will occur.

A female will come home with nectar and full pollen baskets and be blown off course a little – to the entrance of the hive next to hers.

A hive will not accept a whole party of new girls into their home, but if it’s only one visitor and she’s coming with food, that colony will gladly accept her into their hive.  And that hive will become her new home.  Pretty soon, that colony on the end will show the effects of “drift.”  Their population will be greater than the hive at the beginning of the hive stand.

But, if the hives have a “marker” on the front of the entrance, a way for the bees to identify their home, they’ll not venture to someone else’s hive.

So see?  I actually have justification for painting my hives!  It’s to help my girls find their way home.  And maybe the hives don’t have to be quite so elaborate and bright, a simple triangle or circle on the front would have sufficed. But I had a good time painting these and I think they’ll look “fun” in the bee yard.

Go ahead!  Let your imagination run wild and paint those hives!!  You now have scientific proof that it’s good for your bees 🙂