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Still doing research as a newbie! I just got one of my Top-Bar books in and can hardly put it down.

My question is if the distance you keep your hive has anything to do with anything?

I live on 35 acres of land, so I have some room to play around with.

I first thought that I should start a couple of top-bar hives in an area that is about 1,000 ft from my house.
Though, there is also a nice area for a hive or 2 that is only about 200ft from my house.

Which area would you pick first?

I was thinking that the area closest to the house might serve me better as a beginner because I could keep a better eye on the hive/s.
 

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Though, there is also a nice area for a hive or 2 that is only about 200ft from my house.
The closer the better, I would think.

One thing to consider is the amount of human activity you will have near the closer location. Think about where the bees flight path will be. Is it an area where you will be spending time, where children might be playing? Will you need to be mowing grass around the hives? These things are usually not a major issue, but they "can" be.

I used to keep a few hives in the back yard of my 1 acre lot, but one day a swarm swirled and landed in my neighbors yard. They had to abandon their back porch and head inside for cover. Not everyone has the same attraction to bees and lack of fear as I do, so I moved them all to an outyard to keep the peace. Keep this in mind regarding your family members if it applies.
 

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I have 15 of my topbar hives and nucs on my 1/3 acre property in the suburbs. Two are directly up against the house and the others out in the converted vegetable garden-now bee apiary. Most every day before and after work I walk around and watch the activity, and peak in the observation windows. I think you will find the more you interact with the bees, the more you are going to enjoy them, so I vote for somewhere closer on your property.
 

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I keep 3 hives 10 feet from my house on the back deck. The big thing is to keep them away from property lines or have a fence/hedge so the bees dont make a bee line into you nextdoor property. Our town requires a 75 ft setback from property line or a fence.
 

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All 3 of mine are about 5 feet from the side of my house. They are in a gravel area that is 10 ft wide between mine and my neighbors house that does not have much foot traffic. I am on a 1/4 acre so I have limited options for how far away from everything else I can get them. Check your local laws to see if there are any requirements that you have to follow.
 

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I keep those colonies I use for queen-rearing (mainly Cloake Board and Joseph Clemens set-ups, usually around 10 or so) within 10-12 feet of the back of the house for convenience. Resource Hives are further away, maybe 100 feet or so. But - any colonies which exhibit anti-social tendencies are immediately confined to a small field furthest away from my neighbour and the road - until such time as they can be requeened.
LJ
 

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Go with the spot 200' from your house. When you start working the hives you will be glad that it is closer. You will always forget something or need something. Hive tool, smoker, more fuel for smoker, super, extra box, frames, etc. Just keep them back 20' from your yard area to allow for their flight path. Better closer for keeping an eye on them too. J
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The closer the better, I would think.

One thing to consider is the amount of human activity you will have near the closer location. Think about where the bees flight path will be. Is it an area where you will be spending time, where children might be playing? Will you need to be mowing grass around the hives? These things are usually not a major issue, but they "can" be.
The only thing that I can think of is having to mow around the hives.
Other activities will be limited around them, though.
 

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Should be fine then. We had our hives set up about 100' from the house back by our vegetable garden. I really enjoyed having them so close to home. I could watch them any time while working in the garden, or whenever I felt like taking a stroll back and checking out their activity for a few minutes. Very convenient for inspections as well. If we didn't have the neighbors to worry about they would still be there.

Mowing is usually not a problem, but if they get a bit defensive when you are in their flight path just throw on your suit for a minute when you mow around them.
 

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I put black rubber mats under my hives and they are in a 6' high dog fence. No weeds, some security, reduced visibility, bees fly high so they don't run into pedestrians, about 200 ' so you have room to work. They can be close together, the bees don't care. When 3 or 4 hives are doing orientation flights at the same time you need space or you may get phone calls from neighbors.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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My 16 hives are about 150' from my back porch. Makes it a lot easier to carry the gallon jugs of syrup I feed from and is not so far when carrying full supers of honey or much needed hive components.The bees do come up to visit so you need to make sure all your family members are on board with you and the bees.
 

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6' high dog fence
You need a solid (split rail or similar) not a chain link fence for this to work. I think of a dog fence as chain link which will not stop any bees. By bee hives have a 10 ft+ wall on 2 sides (houses) a 6 ft fence on one side, and a 20ft pine tree on most of the remaining side so they seem to go up pretty well before flying out.
 

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Some of Tom Seeley's recent research suggests spacing individual hives as far apart as practically possible to help avoid drifting and robbing. So you could place your hives close to your house but separated widely from each other. A bit of inconvenience for the beekeeper but good for the bees. All my hives are located at least 100 feet from each other.
 

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I would be careful putting the hives close to the house in this area. The OP lives in a area with possible AHB. If the hive gets the AHB genetic's in it, the possibility exists that the hive could turn aggressive very quickly. This could lead to a unfortunate incident, especially since the OP is a new beekeeper. Yes it is nice to have your hives close, but in this area it may be more prudent to be cautious.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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4 or 5 inches is fine.
The telescoping tops on my hives are almost touching each other. 5 10-frame hives per 8' long set of 4x4s.

I wish I would get some drift. This was taken at the end of Oct and the blue hive is still packed with bees.
 

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I have three hives about 20’ away from house and patio. I like to visit a few mins almost everyday for going on three years - It hasn’t gotten old yet! Just make sure to point the entrance away from the house and people areas and stay out of the flight path immediately in front of entrance. Mine circle practically straight up about 30 feet vertically within 10-15 feet horizontally of hive, then shoot off in whatever direction they want. My neighbors in every direction say they’ve seen “my” bees on their flowers and bird baths. They go where they want.
I like murdock’s idea of putting down rubber mats, or similar. They’ll keep grass/weeds at bay and deny SHB larvae a foothold.
Good luck with your bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I would be careful putting the hives close to the house in this area. The OP lives in a area with possible AHB. If the hive gets the AHB genetic's in it, the possibility exists that the hive could turn aggressive very quickly. This could lead to a unfortunate incident, especially since the OP is a new beekeeper. Yes it is nice to have your hives close, but in this area it may be more prudent to be cautious.

Do you think the way I want to approach beekeeping will put me in direct risk of having AHB?

The initial approach will be as natural as possible.
I am going to build 1 or 2 very simple top-bar hives for the spring and try to attract feral bees to the hives without any traps.

If I need to be more cautious of AHB, what distance do you suggest?
I can locate the beehive at any distance between my house and 1,000ft.

I have about 3 or 4 acres that I let grow wild. Last year I had tons of wild sunflowers all summer long!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Also, side note.

I believe we have a feral hive somewhere close. When the weather warms up, a few bees can be seen hovering around in my garden.

Do docile bees come up to you? And even land on you?
Why do bees do this?
 
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