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Hive placement and foot traffic

We recently purchased, assembled, and painted a Flow Hive 2, and are awaiting a package of bees that should arrive in the next week.

Based on the TheBeekeeper.org videos and threads on this site, we’ve selected a location for the hive that will get maximum sun, including morning sun. Because we live in a very wooded area, we had limited choices.

We have organic and non-gasoline lawn services that come every two - four weeks. The grass trimmers would be working about 6 feet from the front of the hive and not likely to be dressed in white clothing.

So two concerns:

  1. Will the bees feel threatened (and attack) people using a riding mower, and using a trimmer on foot along the hive area? If so, we could convert part of the lawn in front of the hive, so that the trimming would be further away.

  2. Even if the bees don’t feel threatened, the humans might. So if we keep the hive pointed East (towards my wife in the picture), but want a psychological barrier so that people aren’t looking directly at the front of the hive (where there is the most bee activity), we are thinking of two options:
    a) Keep the hive pointing East, but put up a low shrub/flower garden (no higher than 3 feet) which would also push the grass trimmers further away. Or:
    b) Mitigate the risk by turning the hive NE or N, away from the grass area, and would that be “less ideal” for encouraging the bees to forage in the morning? Morning sun will still fall on the side of the hive. Worth the trade-off?

Please see the following pictures for our proposed location:

The above is a view facing NE, at 9 AM. The sun is coming from behind my wife, and as you see falls directly on the hive location. The front door to our house is about 40’ behind her. You also see the corner of a flower garden that is attached to our house (the house is casting the shadow).

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Nick

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I think you should be fine… But it depends on the bees. Your main issue might be interference with the flight path when walking across the lawn. If that turns out to be a problem just put a screen up or a taller (deciduous?) plant in front to help force the bees to fly a little higher and above people’s heads. Anything about 5+ft tall should do the trick (the official advice here in Oz is typically 7ft though…)

Edit: I say depends on bees because it comes down to their temperament. I can walk past my hive no issues but if I take a mallet and start adjusting paving nearby… Watch out!

You will want to consider how much sunlight the hives will get under what looks like an Oak tree and if any limbs look like they could drop directly on top of your hive in placement. While you look like you have plenty of space to not worry about the lawn care situation (I can mow right next to mine and as long as I don’t linger they don’t freak out) I would be more concerned about the trees falling. You might not have a better spot on the property, but at least look to position it where you suspect a big branch won’t fall, or be sunblocked from leaves when they are fully out— you are in CT and that is a beautiful location that is going to help with your spring build up of brood with all that pollen from the local tree sources. Good luck, AND you did awesome posting pictures— they are always super helpful.

70 foot oak fell last sunday near me, and had my bees been under it… and there was no signs the tree had an issue in advance— it was alive and healthy but apparently there was a water problem deep below what we could see.

Hi @SnowflakeHoney, thanks for the observation. We are getting Italian honey bees, which are supposed to be “laid back”.

@Tim_Purdie wow I’m glad you and the bees were not crushed by that tree! The spot we choose is not blocked for sun by either of the big trees’ branches, which start high up.

I’d love any thoughts on whether it should be okay to rotate the hive entrance away from facing the morning sun and people paths (East), to face N or NE (in the direction I took this photo, or even more left). They would face woods (instead of lawn), but have at least 15’ of flight path before having to disperse. Here is a picture facing NNE from where we plan to locate the hive.

The general thinking is to make sure the box gets its entrance toward the sun rising and where it can get the most amount of sun to keep beetles and disease down. It won’t be that much of a difference however as commercial beekeepers face them in whatever direction is convenient and the bees have no problems. I say put them where you think it is best for your layout and not overthink it— after you install the bees they will simply sort out their flight paths, and from the looks of things you don’t really need a screen/tree/bush as you have enough setback distance from the lawn care situation in my opinion.

Any bee colony will go defensive if it feels it is under threat, so when I’m mowing and whipper-snipping around my hives I always wear at least a veil, sometimes the bees ignore me but have had some days they give me a loud and clear message… Better to be cautious I think.
Cheers