There are benefits for a beginning beekeeper to have two hives. The advantage of having two side by side colonies is that it enables the beekeeper to compare two different hives and one can be used to help the other in the event of a problem. For example, if one hive is weak or loses its queen then brood can be transferred from the stronger hive as a tool to equalize both hives.
Two hives may be arranged one to three feet apart without any problems.
Occasionally, in windy areas, adult bees from one colony may “drift” from one colony to another. This drifting can be a larger problem when the number of packages to be installed is more than three and the bee equipment is brand new with new foundation.
If you are installing a larger number of new packages, we suggest, that the hives be placed in small groups of three or less in a shady area that is somewhat protected from the wind. If drifting occurs after installation, the best solution is to reverse the position of the hive with the large number of bees with the hive with the least number of bees. This manipulation can only be done during the first three or four days after installation. Later when the queen has left her cage, this action could create a danger to the queen and thus the hive.