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Hives in the vicinity of public places


I’m about to set up my first hive, and live next to a local primary school (children 5-12 years of age). I was wanting to locate my hive against the fence adjacent to the school, it is the sunniest and most protected place I have from any winds. I was just checking with the local government “code of practice for bee keeping” and it says hives should not be located in the “vicinity of schools, hospitals,other public facilities, etc”.

The fence is 2m high, and the part of the school I propose is a remote rarely used part of the playground. I also propose facing the bees in the opposite direction of the school. Any thoughts on ow I should approach this?



Sounds like a perfect location n with that high fence should force tour bees flight pattern up n away from students. The question I might ask is: what are your local laws or restrictions of beehives in your region, city, Etc… You really don’t need any problems after you place your Hive(s)…

I’d do a good check first.


I would ask your local city regulator. My local bee inspector is very friendly and available. I know you are in Australia and I am in the US, therefore our rules may differ hugely. However, my city says that hives must be 16 feet from a boundary or 100 feet or more from a school, playground, hospital or senior care center.

Just be sure that what you do is within the regulations, especially if you are required to register your hives and have them inspected. :wink:


I know Dawn is always on the best side of common sense and decency, however if you are in Australia then DO NOT let your local council know about the bees next to a school. They do not have your best interests in mind, only the interest of the Councils and they hate getting complaints as this will mean they need to do something and so will go to great lengths to prevent you having bees in your yard. I do know some good people who work in local councils and they have told me at length the mentality of the regulators and inspectors. Put your bees in and take all the necessary steps to shield them from the school grounds and you’ll be fine…


Indeed: my councils default position is they don’t like you having a beehive- regardless of where it’s located.


Hi Thomas,
My advice is to be cautious on this one. I would suggest you do your own legal research as best you can to establish exactly what the law is. Laws relating to bees in Australia can be Local Government, State laws and Commonwealth too, all applying at the same time, so there is much to learn. Find out if the code is legally binding. In Tasmania, one local urban beekeeping code suggests a 3m distance to a boundary. Not sure of your experience level etc. but perhaps visit an urban hive if you can to look at flight patterns and to give you an idea of what to expect. Consider swarming too. The general recommendation is for two hives to deal with disease etc. so consider that too.


Hi Thomas, I would put the hive well away from the school fence, especially if the fence is transparent. I would hide the hive from view. It’s not that important to have your hive in the sun & out of the wind. You don’t want to let any swarms land anywhere in the schoolyard. I have seen the dramas involved when swarms land in schoolyards.
This is a swarm I removed out of a schoolyard after an urgent phone call from the school administrator.

This is the Palmwoods swarm removal as well as the palm tree swarm removal I spoke about in the schoolyard video.



Hi Jeff - I’m pleased that you have given this advice. I have not had the experience you mention but I can only imagine the mayhem. As the prime swarm usually lands relatively close to the hive, if it is located as far as possible from the boundary it might be ok, but it needs to be legal so the law needs to be investigated fully.


And lets hope there aren’t any large flowering gumtrees or flowers at the schools either. Isn’t that what bees are attracted to.

Maybe a forward thinking councillor could remove any flowering trees.
What a place we live in.


Thanks Dan, it’s usually the groundsman that spots the swarm. He alerts the administrator, he/she alerts the principal. Then the principal gets someone to make urgent phone calls. By the time the beekeeper gets to the administration office, everyone knows about it. I’ve had a few over the years.

In the mean time they rope the swarm area off. The last thing they want is a child getting stung.


Think about when you have to do inspections too. They don’t always go as smoothly as the FlowHive videos. :wink: Because of my inexperience, one of my inspections went ‘pear-shaped’ and the bees were all over the place and not very happy. You would not want that to happen during recess, lunchtime, after school sports, etc.


There’s a primary school down the road here with a beekeeper, a few houses down, who advertises his honey on the side of the road outside his house. He has multiple hives opposite on the other side of the road, less than 200 metres from the school. (One Flow too.) He’s been there for years, no problems apparently.
He probably sells to a lot of the parents of the children attending the school.
Many schools now have vegetable gardens so obviously the bees are beneficial and welcome.
I guess all it takes is one parent to complain though…

Out of curiosity does anyone actually register their hives with their council?
Better to ask forgiveness than permission sometimes. :wink:


200 metres is quite a way - and, depending on the law in your municipality - would be unlikely to constitute, “in the vicinity”, unless that word is specifically defined I guess within the local law. The way Dawn describes the law In San Diego, those hives would probably be legal as they are more than 200 feet from the school. As each local council in Tasmania has either a different law, or even sometimes no specific law at all, (other than perhaps the general local government nuisance/abatement laws), one neighbour can keep bees on their urban block yet the person living next door can’t. You could potentially be permitted to keep bees living right next to the school, yet the person 200m away might not be permitted to keep bees if that second person resides in a different council area with a law such as , “you can’t keep bees within 50m of a residential dwelling”. We have that situation precisely in Tasmania.
Where I am there is no requirement to advise the council about a few urban hives. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that of course there is common law here in Australia applying to bees in addition to any local, State or Commonwealth statutes.


Just GE’d it, it’s the 3rd house from the school so technically they are less than 50m. We are required to register at both the Ag dept and the council in our shire and neither are free. As some of his hives are in plain sight I’d say he is council registered.
Just read the council guidelines, Relevant ones were a distance of 5m from boundary and a screened fence on the boundary, that the bees must not cause a nuisance to any other person(other?) and any complaints will be investigated thoroughly. No hives are allowed on public place.
On the up side I just read that im allowed up to 15 hives on the block now.


Hi Skeggley - 15 wow! Does that depend on your block size there? Interesting how the law varies so much… and we thought we had issues with train track widths and plumbing fittings…mind you, no trains yet across Bass Strait…


Going to go off-topic a little, but this thread has made me think of an off-the-wall solution which I’ve never heard of anyone doing, but sounds eminently feasible…

Is there any law against having a feral colony or two in your roof? Very likely not.
Bees like living in house roofs. I’m a swarm collector for my area and in just the past two weeks I’ve had calls for three colonies living in roofs. It’s high up (bees prefer being out of reach of predators), it’s dry, and in winter it’s warmer than being outside.
In some places, bee hives are enclosed in a shed, or in a trailer, so what difference if a hive is placed in a house loft?

Think of the advantages of having a hive in a loft - it would work for ‘cold roof’ constructions where the loft is cold, dry and ventilated.

No officials are going to notice, and if they do, it will appear to be a feral colony, not a managed one.
The bees will like it.
It’ll make inspections easier - much less adverse affects from windy or wet weather.
It’d be best if a ‘tunnel’ was provided from the hive entrance to the eaves of the roof, could be easily done with a length of pipe and a connector each end to encourage the bees to only travel where you want them to. There will need to be an exit for bees that escape into the loft space when inspecting - most ‘cold roof’ constructions would be suitable with minimal changes needed.
There will be the advantages of much less problems with different types of weather, no problems from bears/livestock, children can’t get near the hives, and if it affects you, small hive beetle lifecycle would also be impacted with the extra height between ground and hive.
The only disadvantage I can see is the possibility of bees in the loft being a nuisance in the house, so you may need to have a very bee-friendly family or have a fly screen arrangement in the access between the living area and the loft.

I would recommend having a few years experience though before trying this at home!


I agree with Rodderick. There´s a saying. If you don´t think you are going to like the answer, it´s better not to ask the question. :wink:


Nice blog about this concept by Rusty Burlew here:


I have two hives in my son’s school and teach some of the kids beekeeping. It is embraced by the school and the community as an environmental enhancement (and necessity these days). And mine is definitely not the only school apiary in NZ.

Schools are (obviously!) all about education. And these days this has gone well beyond literacy and numeracy. You might find that the school over your fence embraces you and your hive.

I also caught four swarms at two different schools last year without any panic.

I say do it and good luck.