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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just curious what kind of stories you guys have, you folks with hives in your backyard. I'm a newbee that installed my first packages two days ago. My hives are located in my backyard about 50 feet from my patio. 24 hours after installing, I sat in a chair about 7 feet from my hives without protection on and the bees could care less that I was there. It was great watching them do their thing. About an hour later I was on my patio 50 feet away throwing the ball for my dog and a bee would not leave me alone. She never landed on me but buzzed my face for like 10 minutes. Do you guys ever get stung for no reason while minding your own business 50 feet away?
 

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I've had that same situation, talking with my landowners.... on occasion a single bee will just be buzzing the whole time, I think it's more out of curiosity or looking for salt or something, cuz they will land and start licking sometimes but usually just keep buzzing away but not really being aggressive. I keep equipment at my house and an occasional nuc under the radar. I don't have any issues and I get lots of the local bees from nearby commercial yards that visit the equipment and pester me when extracting honey but even with a couple hundred bees robbing a little out of a box I will just walk right through the traffic and they'll clear out of the way.
 

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My hive is 25' from my back door on the lot line. Typical medium suburban lot.
I do everything in my yard without them ever paying me any attention, including mowing the lawn.
 

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I have 3 acres, but most is wooded. Five hives are about 100 feet southeast of the back porch along the fence line of our former horse pasture. They face east, away from the house, so the girls take off over the pasture. Never had a problem with them pestering us in the back yard, even when they occasionally wander in and find the bird bath for a drink of water. I have two water sources in the pasture, but every now and then someone turns up close to the house. They drink, they leave.
 

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>I'm just curious what kind of stories you guys have, you folks with hives in your backyard.

I've had bees in my backyard for 40 years. I've had them right by the back door on occasion. Only once I had any issues and those were 100 yards from the back door. I requeened and resolved the problem. It is good to have a plan in place for the possibility that they turn mean. You may never have to use it, but it's nice to have a plan so you can implement it quickly if things ever get ugly...
 

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My hives are located 20feet to the left of my front door never had any problems though ...wait there was this one time some lady came by smelling like a flower garden she got stung lol never came by with perfume on after that :) :)
 

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For the most part, I wouldn't know they were there, and they're only about 50ft from the house and car. I did leave a honey super on the back porch and found an awesome way of keeping intruders away from the house when on vacation, lol. Walked out the door and they were flying all around, but not aggressive or anything, just wanted the honey. I get one on the outside of the window at night occasionally, but I've never had one in the house, unlike bumblebees or wasps.

They're much less intrusive and more interesting than dogs or cats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh good. Y'alls stories are reassuring to me. I don't mind them hassling me but I'm more concerned about my dog. She can't get near the hives tho. Check out my link below to see my apiary. BTW Michael Bush, when I installed my packages, I didn't spray the bees with sugar water or plain water. The did fly around a lot but I think they'll be happier for not starting out in their new home sticky.:D
 

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Yes..but rarely. When you are minding your own business it always seems to one bee that won't leave you alone. Rarely stung but occasionally so. Family members have been stung when walking through the bee yard. Puts them off to say the least.
 

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I was just going to post something in this vein myself. I am getting a bit frustrated with the bees interactions with people in my yard. We have a 3/4 acre property on which I have 5 hives all of which are booming now. Previously I had them scattered about the yard but they were becoming a real problem when we mowed the lawn and usually attempted to sting every time (perhaps it was the vibrations) once they grew to mid summer strength.

In any event, I now have 4 hives on a stand made of 4x4s and cinder blocks away from the lawn and with 4 booming hives even 35 feet away there is still the risk of the bees getting caught in hair and stinging. I already have moved 3 hives to a buddy of mine with over an acre and no close neighbors, so I may have to move some more.

I guess it comes down to finding out the "maximum capacity" for your yard. In my case these hives are the strongest I have ever had so early and so I have not ever dealt with so many bees in the yard at once--its only going to get to be more of an issue(Does any body have any hints to avoid issues other than putting a large flight path blocker in front of the hives?)
 

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I have never had problems until this past Sunday when several of my hives swarmed on the same day. Needless to say, the wife was not happy when she got one caught in her hair. I moved my hives away from my home due to having small children and not wanting to take the chance of them getting caught in the crossfire. One or two is probably fine around the family, but more than that and eventually someone will get stung.
 

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I have three hives in my small backyard. One of them is right on my back deck - which is enjoyable because we can watch the bees from our family room. The other two hives are on the property line - about 30-50 feet from our back door and about the same distance from my neighbor's back deck. I have had few problems, but I am VERY careful about trying to keep things civil between the bees and the neighbors. I don't open the hives on the weekends or when people are out in the yards. I have broken this rule a couple of times -- and I always explain to the neighbors why I need to mess with the bees if it is going to cause them to get a bit riled up and testy. I keep all the neighbors supplied with honey and at Christmas they get lots of honey baked goods + more honey. So far things have been going well.
Two years ago I did have one hive get very, very nasty. When I was working them - my husband said the bees hitting the family room windows sounded like hail stones. They were really horrible. I split that hive - putting the new queenless hive in another neighbor's backyard and requeened the deck hive. Within three weeks everyone was back to being sweet and gentle. But, I did have several conversations with the neighbors and was very apologetic about the bees bad behavior. It has been four years now -- and so far everyone seems to have accepted having hives in the neighborhood. You just need to be really careful about working them and if they get nasty -- be ready to either move them or have some queens on hand to quickly dispatch the nasty queen and get things quieted down. I do a couple of early splits each year to insure that I have one or two back-up queens on hand. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
3 days into my new beekeeping hobby and I learned the hard way not to swat at a bee. She landed on my neck and crawled around for like 4 minutes, then she took off a buzzed my face. After a minute of that I had had enough and swatted her out of annoyance. She immediately stung my eyelid and I spent all weekend with one eye swollen shut. This happened 60 feet from the hives. Lesson learned.
 

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and I learned the hard way not to swat at a bee...
Sometimes the instinct to swat is just so hard to control. My second un-asked for sting ended the same way. Angry bee landed on the bridge of my nose deciding whether or not to let me have it, and I couldn't stand to have her sit there anymore. I too spent one weekend with a swollen eye. On the bright side, I avoided one this weekend. I had taken off my bee gear and gone inside to write in my journal when I heard the distinctive buzzing. My young son said "you have a bee on your back". So I hoped up and went outside. The bee decided to climb up on my neck and ear. Haven't been stung there yet, and really didn't want to find out how that felt. So I hollered for my son to bring me the "bee bottle" that is filled with anise scented water. After a few good pumps, the bee decided I wasn't a threat, and flew away.

It's always a good idea to keep the "bee bottle" close to where the family is enjoying the outdoors for those couple of scouts who get a little too interested in what you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ruthiesbees, I had to google "anise scented water". lol. But a spray bottle is a good idea. Because I spend so much time in my backyard, I've developed a mild case of bee sting paranoia which I hope doesn't turn into buyer's remorse. I really want to keep bees back there but I can't be hassled constantly either.
 

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ruthiesbees, I had to google "anise scented water". lol. But a spray bottle is a good idea. Because I spend so much time in my backyard, I've developed a mild case of bee sting paranoia which I hope doesn't turn into buyer's remorse. I really want to keep bees back there but I can't be hassled constantly either.
The spray bottle is something I picked up from Rusty on another bee website. (Can't remember it at the moment.) I don't use a smoker on my bees, and I don't like the sticky sugar water. So I put a few drops of anise oil in a spray bottle full of water to cover up the bee pheromones when I work my top bar hive. So far, it's worked great. and I totally get the bee sting paranoia. I use BVT for my arthritis, but having the girls sting me when I'm not expecting it, really throws my day out of wack.

I like your blog, by the way.
 

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After inspections I usually get one or two that are very aggressive, usually buzzing in my ear or at the back of my head trying to sting me through what little hair I have left.

I usually squash the offending bee, as they never seem to give up once they start this behavior, and I like to watch them without being harassed. Never more than one, and most of the time if I walk away they let me alone, but if they persist I smash them. I have too many people and dogs around, some kenneled, to allow agressive bees.

Only happens after inspections so far. The rest of the time they may fly into me if I get in their way, but otherwise they ignore me.

I might try the spray bottle.

Peter
 

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Last year was my first year, and I started from packages. For a long while they couldn't have cared less about me. Mowing, weedeating, clearing brush, chopping wood and other such activities right in front of the hives was no big deal. Then, I learned about how attitudes can change during a dearth. At that point, walking to the hives and observing was still good, but making any significant vibration within 100 feet of the hive brought out a recon party that followed me for up to 100 yards. Things cleared up once the fall flow began.
 

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For some good news, I have 4 hives and a nuc on 2/3 acre suburbia. Knowing I have dogs and 2 yo, I decided to put up a 6 ft enclosure attached to a garden shed. All the hives are in a 10x15 space. Since the whole thing is fenced in, no problems with the bees. Not even away from the hives. The only downside is that the fence creates its own shade, and the hives don't get much direct sun, but they don't seem to mind.

Now once inside the fence, they will get ornery in a dearth. But once I shut the gate and am back outside, I've not had any followers.
 
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