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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all! I know there are a lot of questions regarding beehive placements, but I haven’t been able to find a good answer to this particular scenario so figured I would ask as it would directly decide whether or not I acquire hives outright.

My house is on a ~5,500 sq ft lot in a city with other houses close to mine (side-to-side only as we are at the top of a hill). The houses here are built into the hillside such that the ground level of the backside of the house is lower than the front. The backyard of every house is essentially an undeveloped, descending hill several hundred feet away from other houses. Most houses have back decks 15-25 feet above ground level (or higher) which is the only place you'll ever find humans.

I was hoping to place my hives underneath my deck (~25 feet below my deck level) as we are south facing and get a fair bit of sun at ground level. It has easy accessibility for me and as mentioned no foot traffic directly in front of the ideal hive placement. My main concerns/questions are the following:

-Would I be giving myself any unnecessary risk placing hives underneath a deck like this (say, future deck maintenance, weather concerns)?
-My eastern neighbor’s deck sticks out about 10 feet past ours over the hillside, and the first occupied deck is about 15 feet off the ground (so ~15 feet higher than where I want to keep my hives). Horizontal distance left to right would be ~20 feet. Would there be a risk of any appreciable volume of bees flying up to their deck and being a nuisance?

Most things I read regarding hive placement assume most humans are on flat ground and the bees would fly up and over them. But our land goes down and the humans go up here- so I was concerned.

The image below shows the proposed placement (filled red circle) and the first occupied deck (empty red circle at top). There are three more decks above this one with other tenants and the bottom one is not connected to any apartment- just a landing area for the fire escape. The hill becomes fairly steep down from the proposed placement spot and there are lots of plants/weeds/trees a short distance away. At this time I don’t have any good spot to place the hives further down the hill as it’d require some more construction than I’m able to accommodate.

The other side of my house has no decks nearby but faces southwest if angling the hives may help at all.

Iron Metal Baluster Yard Fence
 

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I don't have a situation similar to yours, but I can say with confidence that I can run a lawn mower within 10ft of the entrances of my hives in the spring, summer, and fall and I rarely (if ever) get pestered by one of my bees. This looks to me like plenty of room without the bees directly affecting your neighbors. I don't know what kind of terms you are on with your neighbors, but if its friendly they might even enjoy watching from the deck. If the relationship is not that great (or unknown) you may be asking for problems as the bees could be an easy target to blame things on (ex neighbor gets stung by a yellow jacket in the fall and now it's your bees putting their family's "lives at risk"). If you talk to the neighbors and they are fine with it, I would say go for it!
 

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At 20 feet away unless there is something on the deck the bees probally would not bother it.

I would be inclined to orient the hives to the right to encourage flight that way a bit. I would also flatten out that area because trying to work a beehive on a hill would suck. A wall/fence or trees between your hive and that deck could also help encourage the bees to keep your neighbors deck out of the flight line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I don't have a situation similar to yours, but I can say with confidence that I can run a lawn mower within 10ft of the entrances of my hives in the spring, summer, and fall and I rarely (if ever) get pestered by one of my bees. This looks to me like plenty of room without the bees directly affecting your neighbors. I don't know what kind of terms you are on with your neighbors, but if its friendly they might even enjoy watching from the deck. If the relationship is not that great (or unknown) you may be asking for problems as the bees could be an easy target to blame things on (ex neighbor gets stung by a yellow jacket in the fall and now it's your bees putting their family's "lives at risk"). If you talk to the neighbors and they are fine with it, I would say go for it!
Good to know, thanks! That house is mostly rentals, and at the moment I'm not even sure if that one is even occupied. But I was planning on talking to everyone there to ask/let them know. The one tenant I'm close to (who is moving this summer, sadly) thinks bees would be awesome, so that helps. At least with future tenants they would likely see the hives when checking out the apt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At 20 feet away unless there is something on the deck the bees probally would not bother it.

I would be inclined to orient the hives to the right to encourage flight that way a bit. I would also flatten out that area because trying to work a beehive on a hill would suck. A wall/fence or trees between your hive and that deck could also help encourage the bees to keep your neighbors deck out of the flight line.
That's a bit what I was thinking too. The photo doesn't show it justice, but the area underneath our deck is more or less flat (although I am going to try and level it a bit more if I proceed). It's only after you go past the deck that the hill becomes steep and I can't do much work on it.

If I point the hives directly out over the hill, they'd face due south. I was thinking possibly angling them 45 degrees west and then maybe adding a barrier to the east side in between the frames of our deck a bit too. I know pointing the hives west is not ideal, but we get a LOT of sun all day so I don't think I'd be as concerned.
 

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I think I wuld be comfortable placing them there, facing South.

How long is your dry season (dearth)? The bees could potentially get pesky in a dearth if occupants of the porch are drinking sweet drinks.

That said, I think it will work fine. Honeybees are generally not aggressive. I have been keeping a few years, and my wife (not a beekeeper) is often around the hives doing outdoor work, and she has never been stung.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I think I wuld be comfortable placing them there, facing South.

How long is your dry season (dearth)? The bees could potentially get pesky in a dearth if occupants of the porch are drinking sweet drinks.

That said, I think it will work fine. Honeybees are generally not aggressive. I have been keeping a few years, and my wife (not a beekeeper) is often around the hives doing outdoor work, and she has never been stung.
We can get precipitation pretty much all year (our winters are cold and can get snow, but not so cold that we always get snow- lately its been 50/50 snow or rain in winter)

Our daily rain chances (average) are 20% in winter and 30%-40% in summer. Some weeks it may rain every day, others we may not get any rain at all. But it is effectively dryer when its cold out.

If access to water is the concern here, I could easily fill a bird bath under my deck via a hose from above.
 

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In term of a nuisance, it depends on the breed of bees you get, mine are extremely relaxed, we walk past our hives to the garden, and no bee is interested in us, one might get a random bump when walking through the flight path but no issues at all.
I am using my mover less then 0.5m from there hives, with no issue at all.
In terms of neighbours, I would suggest to bring them a small glass of honey free of charge to sweeten the situation. An der if they are interested, show them your setup and educate them on how things work. That should keep them happy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In term of a nuisance, it depends on the breed of bees you get, mine are extremely relaxed, we walk past our hives to the garden, and no bee is interested in us, one might get a random bump when walking through the flight path but no issues at all.
I am using my mover less then 0.5m from there hives, with no issue at all.
In terms of neighbours, I would suggest to bring them a small glass of honey free of charge to sweeten the situation. An der if they are interested, show them your setup and educate them on how things work. That should keep them happy
Oh I'll be sharing the love for sure and I fully intend to talk to the neighbors to get their blessing too (well, despite the fact that said units are rentals). But always worth checking to be safe before investing all that money. It is really hard to find sufficient data on flight paths after exit.
 

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This looks OK to me for the situation of a single-home case and absence of close by neighbors.

In your case this might work if you get non-defensive bees and stay that way.
But because one never knows with the bees, I'd be concerned.
Those neighboring balconies are really very close and are in direct sight (not great).

BTW, such setup would never be approved by my particular city beekeeping ordinance.
Something to check before you do anything (NOT after).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This looks OK to me for the situation of a single-home case.
Might work if you get non-defensive bees and stay that way.
But because one never knows with the bees, I'd be concerned.

BTW, such setup would never be approved by my particular city beekeeping ordinance.
Something to check before you do anything (NOT after).
That's fair. My house is single home but the house next door is split into rentals. Our street is an interesting one as many were individual properties but converted into small rentals.

I do have to apply for a permit and I plan on calling the city to ask about this question. There is some confusing language on when a flyway barrier is needed, how long it needs to be, etc.
 
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