Directing bee flight path

I got my first flow hive last spring and a few weeks ago split my hive into two.

Unfortunately now my children are nervous to go outside into our yard because of the increased bee activity.

My research has indicated that if I have a fence or hedge in front of the hive entrance, the flight path will be directed upwards.

What kind of grown hedges do you recommend for this kind of barrier? I would have to purchase them from a nursery to have fully grown plants since time is a factor.

Thank you!

Hi @Myinnervision.

I think your local plant nursery may give you the best answer on a particular plant. But in general, the hedge must be about 8-10 feet high to make bees fly above peoples heads. Higher the better. Not sure if nursery would be able supply hedge plants of such size though… Another option is to install some screens (fabric for example) as temporary control while hedge grows.
There is another thing. Having a hedge helps against the stream of speeding bees accidentally colliding with one’s head. But there still will be some amount of bees “patrolling” the area around hive hedge or not.


I agree with @ABB about consulting a local nursery. Some kind of cypress might be good in your area. However, we made a bee enclosure in a community garden using t-style fence posts, galvanized trellis mesh and garage door insect screening. Six feet high was plenty to keep the bees out of peoples’ hair. You could always grow jasmine or some other vine up the trellis mesh.

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Yes I’m with Dawn here. Your barrier does not have to be that high and does not have to be plants. As long as it is a bit above the height of the hive. Creepers also grow well on fences and some are bee friendly.
Our 6 year old Grandchild just walks in and out of the flight paths. Bees bang into her and go on their way. I tell her not to walk in the bees path, but she forgets sometimes till a few bang into her and she shift her direction.

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Looks like you have a lot of Eucalypti in the background. E. sideroxylon perhaps behind you hive?


I am not an expert, but when i looked them up, it seemed that quite a few were ironbarks, as you say. :blush:

Instead of a hedge, you could install a frame covered in shade cloth until the hedge gets growing.

Be aware that even with changing the bees flight path, there will still be the odd guard bee that will attack without warning several meters away from the hive. This may never happen, however it can happen. Also make sure the children’s feet are covered because there’s always a few dying bees on the ground.


I’m getting ready to set up my first flowhive and have been looking for something to:

  • Direct the flight path up and out
  • Protect the perimeter from marauding skunks and raccoons
  • Provide overhead protection from neighboring palm fronds during storms
  • Give the little guys some shade

At first I was going to build something, or more likely have someone else build it. Then I found this beautiful Agriframe bower that is pretty much what I had in mind. It might need more screen or chicken wire here and there, and possibly a front gate of some sort. So I ordered one and will let you know how it goes.

That looks lovely, but it probably won’t keep out raccoons and skunks. They are not a problem if you make sure that the hive entrance is at least 14" above the ground. That way they have to expose their tender underbellies to guard bee stings, and they are much more likely to give up. For raccoons, you will also need to have a weight on the roof, or a strap around the hive to hold the roof on. Raccoons are quite good at taking the lid off if it is not weighted.

One more thing, we are in the zone of the Argentine ant mega colony, and they love bee hives. I suggest you use the forum search tool (magnifying glass at the top right) to see some choices for ant deterrents. :wink:

Thanks so much for the good advice! I ordered a second brood box, as you suggested, and will look into ant combat strategies. I don’t know how high the legs on the Flow Hive can be adjusted, but it looks like about 6-8". If I put it on concrete blocks, that should be enough. The only problem is that I’m short – I’ll make it as high as I can manage and batten down the hatch!

Here’s a picture of my lower 40 with the jacarandas in bloom. This past summer I built a cedar sunshed down there under the olive tree, and the beehive will go off to the right behind where the sunflowers are. There’s a tall hedge of Cape May Honeysuckle on the property line at the bottom, and I want to direct the flight path up over that hedge and away from the neighbor’s house below. It’ll already be up the slope about 6’ higher than the neighbor’s yard. I’m happy to say (and a little relieved) that this spot meets the distance requirements for Lemon Grove. It faces east and gets full-on morning sun.

BTW, for anyone in a Mediterranean climate, I recommend Cape May Honeysuckle as a flight barrier to consider – as the name implies, it’s actually from South Africa. The bees love it, and it makes a great hummingbird habitat. A few years ago I planted 6 of them on a drip along the lower property line, and they have really filled in. They send out runners and can get about 12-18’ high. I see them around the neighborhood and most people prune them into square hedges, but I just let 'em grow.



Gorgeous, thank you for the photo! :blush:

I’ve been using Google Earth to plan the hive placement and flight path, and to get a better understanding of their foraging territory. In this part of Lemon Grove you can have 2 hives, and they must be 25 ft from the property line, 15 ft from an easement, and 25 ft from neighboring houses. Because my property is on a slope, I have 7 next door neighbors! Although there are only 4 in the immediate area toward the bottom of the slope.

Unfortunately there’s very little open space in their foraging area, although there are many citrus trees in the neighborhood. I have about 25 fruit trees, so there’s plenty to keep them busy here. However, their direct flight path will take them out east 30 feet up and over the 125 freeway to Hunter’s Nursery, which is 610 feet away. I read that bees fly below the trees to get to their nectar source, and above the trees when they return to the hive. So, although coming back might be a little more perilous, if they fly above the treetops they should be able to avoid traffic.

Maybe this just means that I have too much time on my hands waiting for my hive to arrive! :smiley:


I had hives that faced a busy highway about 25 feet away. They had a 6 foot fence around the hives, and I never noticed a big loss of bees. I think once they have gained altitude, they stay up unless the wind is causing problems.

I don’t know where your information about the heights on outbound and return flights came from, but if it was Tom Seeley’s research, I would believe it. Otherwise, it is counterintuitive.

Bees take a sip of honey before they leave the hive to forage, but only enough to get them to their nectar source. In other words, if they are wrong about the nectar, it is a one way trip… :cry: Flying outbound, they do 20-25mph. However, when they are laden with nectar and returning to the hive, they only do about 15mph. My memory is that this is Tom Seeley’s research, so it should be reliable. Following on from that, when heavily laden with nectar, it would not be energy-efficient to climb higher on the return journey than on the outbound. However, bees don’t think like we do, so what do I know? :rofl:

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That makes total sense, carrying a heavy load on their return trip. Here’s where I read it. Here’s a more scholarly study of bees and freeways.

Every day a huge flock of crows flies past my house going north on 125, and return at dusk. Sometimes after work I sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and wait for them to fly by. Of course they’re nest robbers, but I like them anyway. Apparently they live down by Sweetwater Reservoir.


I can’t see anything about altitude in there, but maybe I am missing something. In any case, I would suggest that you just try it and see what happens. That is one of the joys of beekeeping - “you never can tell (exactly what is going to happen)…” :wink:

Hi Claire, one would think that all the bees will make a bee line to the nursery, however that probably wont necessarily be the case. You’ll be surprised at how well your bees will do by foraging in suburban yards, parks & verges. Is there any clover in your area during the spring? They do well on clover, as well as other flowering ground covers.



I constructed an arch using t-post and cattle panels. Then, I secured some 90% shade cloth to it. This should provide shade from the hot sun and protect from hail storms that we have here.
The cattle panels are 50” wide by 16’ long - cost about $20. The shade cloth is a tarp 8’ x 12’ and was about $25 or $30.
I wired 2 panels together and wired the shade cloth to them, then, arched it up and tied it off.
I think honeysuckle would climb all over the arched panels.


Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking of! I was hoping to grow something over mine, but apparently the regulations here don’t allow it. We don’t get much heavy rain or hail, but a lot of hot sun in the summer – plus the occasional palm frond.

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The link you provided was a nice looking thing for a garden. Also, I noticed the price. This would be a much less expensive alternative.

Yes, it certainly is on the expensive side. But you know, after weighing the alternatives and my limited construction skills, I decided it was a good fit for my place. It serves multiple purposes. It satisfies the 6’ flyover requirement and should help keep pets and other small animals out. I lined the lower 30" with 1/2" chicken wire and ran it under the gravel. The little front gates are zip tied on and will also be lined with chicken wire. Then the whole thing is covered with a fitted shade cloth cover (which isn’t done yet), with an opening for the flight path. It’s really like a big slipcover.