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How Big Does Backyard Have to Bee? Sprinklers okay?

We live on half an acre, and i’m wondering if this is enough space for the Flow. We also have sprinker system and wondering if this would interfere with the hive at all

Hi Vincenzo, I’m in Ontario too and have 1/2 acre, and 6 flows and 4 Langstroth hives. You have plenty of space.

Most jurisdictions have their guidelines for hive densities on property sizes. This is the Australian one and could be useful (Australian Honey Bee Council, 2007). It is strongly recommended that new beekeepers commence with less than the maximum number of hives outlined below and when they improve both their skills and confidence and build to these numbers.

       Property area        Maximum Number of Hives

up to 400 m2 2
400-1000 m2 4
1000-2000 m2 8

To prevent swarming, a beekeeper can split hives. It is permissible to retain the original and split hive for a period of no longer than three months, subject to the maximum number of hives not being exceeded by 50% at any given time.

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Thanks so much…do you place them in the back corner, away from the patio etc? I have about 80 ft from my patio to the back part of the property. If it put it there, will my backyard be swarmed with bees? Sorry for asking so many questions but it’s a big investment, and it’ll be a ton of fun!.

Also, what do you do in the winter? Do the bees survive or return?

this makes me feel alot better!

Depending on what your property borders you can put them in a spot that gets full sun but isn’t going to get the bees flying into a neighbour who isn’t signing up for being part of your new hobby. In my property I have them in a corner zone just so that I can see them from a specific window to keep an eye on them most of the time when I’m sitting in the house. You will have more bees in your yard for sure, but its not like an invasion of thousands of bees all at the same time so generally you can enjoy your yard without any big issue. If you have a salt water pool or near you they will be attracted to it and you will find a lot of bees near it. They tend to hang out on my inground pool stair stainless railing for some reason which freaks my wife out when she wants to use the steps. Other than always rescuing floating bees and them just being present they aren’t a bother and we haven’t had stings in the pool from them.

I remove my flow honey super for the winter and keep it in a warmer area of my garage after harvest. I read that the plastic can become brittle in cold weather and so I just didn’t want to chance leaving it out for the winter, and I definitely didn’t want the queen moving up to the flow super and laying eggs (if you leave the super on the bees might go through the queen excluder to get to the honey stores and since the queen can’t get through she could die in the brood box if they left her there). Other than that, I wrap my hives with insulation from the Ontario Beekeeper Association Bee Cozy wraps. Treat your hives for pests like Verroa, feed them on the cycle you should (spring/fall) and enjoy.

If you haven’t taken a beekeeping course you should really look into the videos available on YouTube from the University of Guelph Honeybee research program— super helpful.

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Thanks so much Tim…we have a saltwater pool so now I’m nervous

Like I mentioned, they tend to hang just around the shiny part of the stair railing into the pool. If you have a water source closer to the hive that will diminish the amount they go to the pool, but you will get bees at your pool regardless (and so will your neighbors). It hasn’t been a problem, but it is an usual sight for most pool lovers and they get nervous. We just walk right in past them and they don’t attack or anything like that. You’ll find as you make waves in the pool you’ll have bees that lose their grip on the railing and are then lost into the water— some right themselves and fly off, others drown. No way around it when you have bees on property and a pool I’m afraid.

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This Best Practise Guideline for residential beekeeping by Oregon State Uni is a good primer.

Regarding water set something up from the start and see if they will use that in preference to the pool. It is hard to shift them once they have started.

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Oh. I don’t have the shiny railing. Maybe I’m okay. Lol

Vincenzo Pasquantonio

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True to form, my new bees would rather have scuzzy muck water than clean water. I made the little bottle waterer from some scrap cedar and they didn’t drink any of it until I added the mud! Otherwise I find them by the hose.

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