Hello, newbie here. How close can I ride my mower to my flow hive without bothering the bees and without making them want to sting me?
Depends on the bees. My current Italian bees are incredibly docile, and our gardeners can use leaf blowers right next to hive with no problems. However, I have had colonies which would attack me mowing 40 feet away. They were much better after requeening, but you may not wish to do that if you have a nice locally-bred queen. If you want to avoid problems, you might consider putting the hives on gravel or pavers, or even put a 6 foot flyover barrier (hedge, climbing plants on a trellis, or insect screen attached to a wire mesh fence) around them to force to fly upwards when they depart the hive. This can help reduce aggro considerably:
I have a “bug baffler” veil that fits in my back pocket. As long as I have a veil handy, I’m not against mowing as close as I can get without bumping the hives… but you might prefer to wear a veil the first time and see what kind of reaction you get. Of course the grass needs to be throw AWAY from the entrances…
I mow right past mine with the edge of the mower deck within 100mm with no protection. Sometimes they bump into me because I’m in their flight path. I have no trouble.
I have used a mower and lawn trimmer very near my hives and to date the bees have not cared at all.
My bees are not bothered by the either using a trimmer, or petrol mower. but I do take precaution and wear the FlowHive hat just in case.
Thanks everyone for the responses, I can’t wait to get my bee family.
I’ve heard bees not liking loud noises near their hive but I’ve used a chainsaw within 2 meters of the hive with no problems.
As mentioned earlier it must depend on the bees. I’m thinking it’s more the vibration from the ground than the noise. Of course the time and weather would also have an effect on the bees.
But definitely don’t bump the hive.
Based on my experience vibrations bother my bees more than noise. Doing most things around the hive are fine, including my neighbour mowing his lawn less than 1m away. Only issue I’ve ever had is using a mallet and adjusting paving alongside the hive…and even then it was only a few aggro bees…nothing too bad.
(note my neighbour has no chance of crossing the flight path into the hive due to positioning)
I’ve used my noisy blower n chainsaws right close n personal but I often help in commercial apiary of a friend n that wouldn’t be wise. Know your own bees … We really say, use caution until you know n that can change at a moments notice !
I just had another thought… Some years ago we were visiting a beautiful Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Senior ladies in wonderful traditional silk clothing were trimming the grass on their hands and knees with pairs of scissors. I am sure that the bees would not be upset by the vibrations from that. It could be one way to keep kids occupied and earning their pocket money!
Yaaaah ! That would work I use to have a pair of old sheep shears someplace. The only grass near my apiary are my neighbors yards. They have yard services n neither service complains of my bees nailing them including my feral colony in my Flow-Hive (knock on wood). Often I’m working my bees while they are cutting n blowing. The Mexican that does the yard directly use to help his mom harvest wild tree honey in Mexico. We often chat n swope stories. I did give him a bottle of honey last season too. He looks forward to this year’s honey !
You can get really close, you just need to pick the weather. Always be cautious, however be a bit more cautious if rain or storms are threatening. It might be a good idea to mow near the hive by hand, that way you can push the mower from 2 sides so that your not walking past their flight path.
As everybody else said it really depends on the bees. If you happen to have a colony that isn’t fond of mowing you could always stuff the exit the previous night and do your yardwork in peace the next morning. An open mesh bottom allows them to still cool the hive but still make sure it’s not too hot as they will miss the hive openeing when regulating temperature.
I just ordered my new classic Cedar 6 flow hive. Can’t wait to start.
I can share my practical experience with you. First cut passing directly in front of my three hives no problem. Second cut and I got one sting on my cheek and one on my eyelid. Resembled Hulk for a few days.
Hi. I have located my two hives side by side in my orchards out 2 meters from the fence. On the fence line I have raspberry growing then a 2 meter space then my above veggie garden.
I was tending my veggie garden (putting cow manure out) at least 17-20 metres from the hives when I heard a loud buzz and then a sting on the ear. This surprised me as my bees have been quiet for the 2 months I’ve had them. They are developing and growing well(I got these as nucs). They don’t go for you when you are kitted up. I’m concerned I’ve got them in the wrong spot. The bees seem happy but I need to be able to pick the fruit in the orchard and raspberries and the veggies.
The other thought. I had put perfume on in the morning. Did they think I was a flower?
I went back out to retrieve the wheel barrow and they sent an unhappy bee out. It was trying to sting my butt. However my pants were to thick.
Would love people’s thoughts. Thanks
That is probably a major factor. Bees are extremely sensitive to odors. My husband put some aftershave on about 5 hours before we inspected a hive once. Never again! His veil was constantly covered with 100s of bees trying to sting him. The followed him for more than 20 feet from the hive. He left and washed his face, but even then, they still weren’t happy - probably the smell was still detectable on his clothes. In contrast, the same bees were very peaceful with me, but I hadn’t used anything scented that morning.
One of Jerry’s (@Gerald_Nickel) friends always has the hat part of her veil covered with bees in his photos. I bet she uses a hair product with some essential oil scent that the bees are responding to, perhaps lemongrass or geranium.
I would suggest that when you are going to be near the hives, don’t use anything scented. It is impossible to know how they will react to it.
It would be the smell of the cow manure that upsets the bees from my experience. The spreading of the cow manure 17 meters away from the hive would be more overpowering than the perfume you are wearing.
Thanks. I’m feeling a little unsure. But the best thing is getting out there again.