I am assuming by "hives" you mean clusters of access points.
Access point placement is an art and can require a serious investment of time to get right. Applications; such as AirMagnet Survey Pro and Ekahau Site Survey; are required to determine the following:
* RSSI (the perceived signal strength at that location).
* SNR (the difference between the RSSI and the noise floor). The SNR is the amount of "usable" signal available to the wireless client.
* Measured Data Rates (the actual throughput between the access point and the wireless client).
The point of any site survey is to ensure that all areas requiring connectivity has an appropriate RSSI and measured data rates while minimising retries and it is the second part of that requirement that can take the time. If the access points are too far apart then the RSSI and measured data rates can drop below the customer's requirements while access points too close will increase the retry rates.