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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I happen to be locating a small colony on the roof of my home and the issue is chimneys and smoke. As we know smoke alarms bees to fire and my concerns are them breaking their winter cluster from the slightest smell of smoke. I have two fireplaces where one is used pretty regularly the other maybe twice a winter (for an hour or so) and if I place the colony 15 feet from the little used and 30 feet from the high use chimneys will this present any problems for the colony in the winter. Most winter winds here are from the southwest and I always learnt to point my hive's entrance south, so I could direct it south-east to aid the situation. I live on a 1/4 acre of land and figure this location would be better then on the ground to retain neighbor relations. Thanks for any insight.
 

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I heat my northern NY house with wood stoves. We have predominantly winds from 240 degrees (slightly more west than southwest) - but I have to tell you that we frequently get winds from all the other compass positions as fronts and storms go through. Of course if youor chimney is drawing nicely it should be carryng the smoke up and away from the roof's surfaces. certainly higher than hives, I would think. But, then, again you may have trees, buildings, etc. which deform your smoke column.

Can you build some kind of shield around the bees on the chimney side (kind of like a wind barrier)? Facing them SE wouldn't be a problem. In MI, during the very late spring and into mid-summer your sun will be coming up in the northeast, anyway.

Are you sure that's the only place for your bees? Perhaps a location on the ground with fencing around it to move the bees up and away from human-height would work. I have had bees in non-ground positions (does hanging suspended from ladders and on second-story platforms count?) and it makes working bees more troublesome. Once I got my hives down on the ground, it made things sooooo much easier! I can't imagine having bees on the roof in the winter when you might not be willing to go up and visit them because of the slipperyness of snow and ice. I'm on my way out now to see if my girls need more food --- and I couldn't do that if they were on the roof because my roof is covered with snow and ice. (And keep in mind that I am part mountain goat and am regularly up on my roofs.)

Still, there are people here (Shinbone has posted pictures of his roof-top apiary) who have their bees on relatively flat roofs, so maybe it will work. It just adds extra work, and risk, to what ought to be just plain fun.

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The little to no use fireplace chimney extends ten-plus feet above the roof, which it appears to be the most probable location at this time. As you note the wind flow would direct smoke well above the colony if I'd even need it for an emergency use. Working the bees will be little problem, especially at this location, if I'd do it early in the AM (7AM) on Saturday or Sunday, due to neighbors 30 feet away and pedestrian sidewalks twenty-five feet away. That'll give the bees a few hours to settle down before activity starts scurrying around my home's proximity where maybe a few straggler bees might still bear a grudge for my intrusion and be scouring the area looking for any revenge, especially for an oblivious unsuspecting passer-by.
 

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I think that putting the hives at ground level is a better choice. If neighbor relations is an issue, tell them you are getting into composting and plan to set up several compost bins made from scrap pallets. :)

Then build a "privacy fence" around the compost bin area, to shield the neighbors from the horrible view of those ugly compost bins. Make the fence such that the slats are closely spaced and relatively tall. Instead of compost bins, puts your hives within the fenced area. The relatively solid fence will encourage the bees to fly up above head level when leaving the hive.

Also have an attractive water source for the bees in an effort to avoid them visiting the neighbors' pool, hottub, fountain, etc.
 

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I am also a huge fan of rooftop beehives because although bears aren't frequent guests it only take one pass through to understand their destruction. I also have a chimney nearby but never gave it much thought because typically the bees are inside too during heating season.
 
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