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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Triad area, NC, USA
    Posts
    116

    Question Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Here's a question I'm sure has been addressed before, but I'm going to toss it out again since there are so many of us that are new here.

    How do you mow or trim around your hives?

    My hive is located in my lower back yard. While I don't have to keep the grass as neat and trimmed as my front yard, I still have to trim it, about every two to three weeks. In that part of the yard, around my hive and crepe myrtles, I use a push mower. And I usually wear my veil while mowing that close to the hive.

    But a couple of weeks ago, I mowed the lower yard with my riding lawn tractor, and one of my girls head-butted and followed me all the way back to the house.

    I'm thinking the lawn tractor makes more vibrations than the push mower, maybe that's what shook her up.

    So give me some ideas on how you mow around your hives. I'm sure the advice will help me and the many other newbies on here.

    Mark

    PS - Here's a look at my hive. I'm kind of like the guy that wants to show you pictures of his kids, huh?

    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Marlin, Texas
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I have a foot or 2 of dead grass around the hives, but sometimes the girls are still a little testy about me mowing. What I do to avoid upsetting them is to mow a partial area near them and move on; come back in a little bit and do some more, etc.

    It doesn't take that much more time, and I don't upset the bees.

    Walt
    "Having Fun with Nature"
    www.rgf-tx.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I moved my hive twice this year, only about 4 feet each time. I can tell you that they really did not like that! I had no choice in my situation.

    Anyway, it seemed to really confuse them. They hovered around where the old location was for days. Forgers would come back to the old location and gradually work there way over that last agonizing 4 feet to the new location. I'd just mow around them they'll get over it quicker than they would if you move the hive. You could use a hand grass trimmers by the way, to get around close to the hive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garrison, New York
    Posts
    4

    Big Grin Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Hi, just put on your bee suit and mow and weedwhack all you want to, that's what I do!! The earlier in the AM the better. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    You either mow for about 3 seconds and leave immediately.. in your full suit, or not mow at all. I was fully suited up last week and mowed all around my hives. I took about 30 stings on my gloves and couldn't even count how many in the suit. I have never seem my hives be that aggressive towards mowing. But needless to say I'm not mowing anytime again soon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Triad area, NC, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt B View Post
    What I do to avoid upsetting them is to mow a partial area near them and move on; come back in a little bit and do some more, etc. Walt
    Walt: I read somewhere else, can't remember where, that someone also uses that method. They mow around the general area of the hives, giving the girls a "heads up" that there is activity in the area -- I guess time to get accustomed to it -- and then as they finish, they mow around the hive. The theory is that if they see you -- slowly and gradually -- they don't feel a threat.

    I've been doing just fine mowing down there until a couple of weeks ago, then I was followed back to the house, and she just wouldn't let up. And the grass needs mowing again, so I'm trying to see what works for others.

    I was told by some southern Virginia beeks that a guy was weed-eating a bee yard for a guy in Pittsylvania County and got stung multiple times. This was a few months ago. Anyway, he apparently got close to a hot hive, they nailed him, he apparently panicked, which in-turn caused him to have a heart attack and he died.

    In my situation, I have a really docile hive most of the time, but...I just want to do what's best. I like to keep the girls happy...and my neighbors too!
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Triad area, NC, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishon View Post
    Hi, just put on your bee suit and mow and weedwhack all you want to, that's what I do!! The earlier in the AM the better. Good luck.
    Mmmm, I would think that mowing around a hive would probably follow in the same category as working a hive: do it in the middle of the day so a lot of the bees would be out in the field. I'm thinking that early morning or late evening would be the worst time...since the box would be full of bees then.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    West Richland, Washignton USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I have mowed around my hive several times this year. Have not had any problems or issues with the bees. I do see a few more come out to investigate but since I don't spend a whole lot of time around them, they just leave me along. This next year I will be putting down mulch around on the ground just for weed and grass control (less lawn to mow) since I hate to mow.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Petaluma, Ca, USA
    Posts
    11

    Wink Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    As early in the morning as possible.
    Or as late as possible, air temp cool->cold.
    Using veil / suit Weedwack, there is less vibration.

    When honey is sealed in hives, the girls are more defensive. So you will notice the ease in mowing in the early summer and spring, and it gets a little more testy as the nectar flow increases.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I have a old rideing mower, banks, pops, and shakes !

    I mow around the hives about once a month,I just go by fast, with the exhaust and grass discharge away from the hive.

    Other than that nothing special, but I would suggest " DON"T bump into the hive ".

    PCM

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishon View Post
    The earlier in the AM the better.
    I do it after I'm home from work, about 5pm. That way most of the foragers are out and about. If you disrupt hive activity by mowing early in the day that might tend to set the hive back for the rest of that day. Likewise, I try to work hives later in the day while foragers are still out so that I disrupt the hive as little as possible. My theory is that the more you work the hive and disrupt them, the more likely they are to abscond. I know it's anecdotal but so far, it's worked for me. I see very few hives abscond anymore. Of course I've changed just about everyything else (foundationless, no treatments, IPM bottom boards) I do since the days of huge deadouts and empty hives. It could be any of the factors or any combination of them that's leading to my success. It could also be the ceasing of treatments that's leading to my success. I'm not going to perform trials and find out. I like success.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,528

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Smoke the hive then mow around them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I mow in front of my hives every weekend, blowing past them on my ZTM, cigar blowing smoke, passing through a cloud of bees 12 hives long. They usually leave me alone. This time of year I like to do it later in the day, when most of the foragers have returned and the runways are less crowded. But, I don't have to mow around them, only in front of them, about three feet away.

    Back when I had only three hives, I mowed all around them with a push gas mower. They never bothered me. But, I only walked directly in front of the hives once.

    Even earlier, when I only had two hives, I mulched all around them and planted flowers. They looked nice, and I didn't have to mow as close to them.

    My how times have changed.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Clarksville, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I use my John Deere and a weed whip. Does not phase them.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Triad area, NC, USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    Quote Originally Posted by PCM View Post
    I would suggest "DON'T bump into the hive".
    I learned that lesson over the weekend. I was doing maintenance on my hive and while trying to get a bunch of bees out of one hive body into another using the "shake" method - I misjudged the distance and whacked the top of the hive.

    They were NOT pleased!
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I usually mow during the time when most of the field bee's are out working. I'll wear my vail until I've mowed about ten feet out from the hives. Then I finish the rest of the back yard. Seldom any unhappy bee's. I also like to mow shortly after working the hives...as they've been recently smoked and are usually not concerned then about the mower.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,729

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I would suggest using a lawn mower. They seem well designed for mowing grass.

    Roland

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Azle Texas USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    You people need to get new hives. ( JOKING)! I have 12 in my back yard and my wife mowes right in front of them. Not even a head but. They don't care. They consist of 2 Russians, 6 Muts, 2 NWC, and 2 MH. They just don't care. She mowes 2-3 times a week. Good luck.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    I too have 12 hives in my back yard. I mow right past them. Some of them are within 6 inches or closer of the mower deck. I cut the grass as often as it needs it. This week it was 2 times. I have only been stung once. I use a riding mower and I wear shorts and a t-shirt.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Mowing around your hives. How do you do it?

    my wife mowes


    How did you pull that off???
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

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