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Hive Placement Distance From Fence Line

What is the recommended minimum distance from a 4’ tall fence (4 horizontal slats) should hives be placed so as to not interfere with flight path?

Thank you. Bill

You could put your hive as close to the fence as you like. If your hive has a landing board, the landing board could be touching the fence if you wanted it to.

Once you position the hive with bees, the bees will work out their own flight path.

Bees are very flexible in that I’ve done many cut-outs. As you can imagine, I’ve seen a huge variety of entrances that bees use to access their nests. None of them conventional.


Thank you Jeff. Question…Do bees determine flight path individually or as a group? I have the hives facing a large garden…and I sowed a field of wildflowers behind the hive.

Will some prefer one location over another to feed or will they all visit both? The field if flowers and the garden are in opposite directions. Thanks again.

For reference, my hive is facing our courtyard wall and is about 25 cm (10") from it. The bees are fine and use the landing board to walk out and take off in both directions or straight up. No issue and they seem happy.

Also, we have planted heavily with nectar and pollen rich bee-focussed flowers beside and behind the hive as well as loads more on 2 of the 3 terraces we have in the direction of their flight path up and out. Not one of our bees have touched any of it that I’ve seen but we are now a very busy native bee smorgasbord. :slight_smile:

Disclaimer: I’m a complete newbie, but all seems to be progressing well.

Good luck, Rob


Having a fence in front of the hive is good in urban areas as it forces the bees up so they are not so frightening for neighbours. As for foraging areas it depends on what the scouts find for each hive, two hives side by side can have totally different pollen and honey.



Thank you Robert.

I don’t know why, but I would have never guessed a hive could be placed directly in front of a wall…and work. But then, I’ve not yet activated a hive (4/13 is starting date).

Question…I get the idea you recently activated this hive. Did you install both brood and super when starting?

Thank you, Bill

Bill Baskin

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My guess is that bees determine their own flight path individually. However, it they’re all going in the same direction, it would appear as if they chose it as a group. As Rob said about the scouts. It depends on what the scouts find. The bees may feed on what you planted, however mostly you’ll see bees take off & fade into the distance. I’ve probably promoted this video a hundred times. Take a close look at the video “City of Bees”. Watch it a few times & pay particular attention to the “Language of the Bees”. A lot of newbee questions are answered in that video.


Many thanks to all. Bill

Bill Baskin

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I didn’t have much option, as it is a relatively small courtyard and we use the space. While i wouldn’t mind bees, i have staff and family/friends that sit out there. Having the hive face into the courtyard would have meant the sitting areas were right in the path the bees would be taking!

There is really no issue for them. As mentioned, they either crawl out on the landing board or straight up the front of the hive then take off either straight out sideways or in a circular climb then over one of the 2 walls. And the neighbours haven’t seen a one of them in there yards at all since they arrived. Although, one neighbour who has their clothesline right up against the wall beside the hive has seen little yellow drops of bee ‘poo’ on her sheets. A promised pot of honey when i finally extract and a day of visiting and learning about the hive and she’s fine.

Yes, only about 5 weeks ago now. But was slightly more than a NUC with 6 full frames and 2 new ones. Initially the hive was put together with the super as there was a heavy nectar flow but after annoying the good people on this forum [(this is one of the many threads i’ve been getting loads of good advice on)] over the last few weeks it was removed and only replaced in the last week as the numbers in the hive grew to the point that it was warranted.

Further to this, I spend A LOT of time out there just watching them through the day (to the point where my office is now the table beside the hive :slight_smile:) and I’ve never seen a single EHB on any of the flowers. Native Australian bees however, at least 4 kinds now!

In saying that though:

  • i live right next to the sprawling University of Sydney campus which is heavily planted with both native and non native flowering trees
  • one block in the other direction are 5 parks full of flowering plants and flowering trees

so, something is in bloom at any given point and I imagine they are off in one of those directions. Perhaps when the flowering dies down further into summer they may sample the ‘local’ plants. Hope so, i spent a fortune on them!

Finally starting the hive has been a huge learning curve and tonnes of fun. Welcome to the obsession.

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Thank you for that story. I hope I enjoy working with them as much as you.

I am near Nashville, TN and my NUC’s will be available 4/13. Bill

Hey @DollarBill welcome! Very exciting to be getting your first nucs soon. You got good answers and info and I’d only add a thought about considering your own workspace in your setup. Your ‘beek-space’ shall we say :smile: Having enough room for you to move around while wearing a suit and maneuvering heavy boxes, plus someplace level to set them down on as you do inspections, is really important & will make it easier to focus on your tasks.

As for me, I’m going to take advantage (going into my fourth year and learning many things the hard way) of the sad fact that the two colonies I lost this fall were located too near a rose bush that I was constantly getting snagged on…that spot will be retired from apiary use!


Yes. Excellent point. Thank you.

At least your Rose Bush didn’t die!


I guess by now you know the rail fence is an easy obstacle for the bees to navigate around and cause no issues for the bees. I know JeffH has about 10 hives at any time at his home facing a brick wall of his home with about a 4" clearance, that is to make the bees fly upwards to clear the hives to make it easier to do work near them.
Don’t underestimate a bees ability to solve a problem.
Regards Bill


I agree with that about the bees ability to solve a problem.

People (honey customers) often ask me if the bees like a particular weather we’re experiencing. I never say “no they don’t like it”. My reply is always that the bees have mechanisms to cope with whatever weather is dished out at them, hot or cold.


Thank you Jeff, appreciate it.

Thank you Peter. Appreciate it.

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Excellent point Eva. Thank you.

You are most welcome Bill. I have a tip on replying to posts. You can include as many people as you like in one reply. All you do is click @ before someones avatar. For example @DollarBill, @Dawn_SD. If you see the person’s avatar highlighted in the preview, you’ll know that person will be contacted via their inbox.


if there are flowers the bees like: they will find them. I once read that bees don’t forage immediately adjacent to their own hives… but I don’t believe it.

It’s a question without an answer really- but I wonder if bees do ever feel happy or sad?

About weather- the other day I transferred a nuc into a larger brood box and I found that two incomplete frames had collapsed inside that Nuc- sometime over the last 4 weeks. Both frames were foundationless and only 60% built and not attached at the sides or bottom- and the combs had fallen off the top bar. One had slumped- but the bees had used it to store pollen- the other had been attached by the bees to a wall of the Nuc and was full of brood. I was able to cut the brood one out and rubber band it into a new frame. I assume this must have happened on a very hot 40C day.