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I have done hours and hours of research on beekeeping. It is a subject that fascinates me. I would really like to keep a couple of hives on my property but not sure if it would be ideal with my current set-up.

I currently live on .5 acre with a 6ft privacy fence around the backyard surrounded by neighbors. Outside of the 4 small fruit trees, there is no shade/cover. If I were to get a couple of hives, I would most likely set up shop in the north-east or north-west corner (morning sun). The plan would be to surround the front side of the hive with flowering bushes to not only help in pollinating but also to elevate flight path and hide the boxes from plain view of the kids. I would also throw in a water source behind the bushes. All of our neighbors have the same size yard as we do so the closest a hive would be to someone's back patio would be 100ft, none of which spend much time back there. While the north-west location would be better because of morning sun and afternoon shade, the north-east would be next to a neighbor that literally only goes out there to mow their grass once every other week. Also, we live near a few farms.

Does this set-up sound feasible to you?

How much would mowing/weed eating by me or the neighbors bother them assuming the hives are 5-6 ft from the fence?

Has anyone had trouble with keeping bees around children? We have a rule in my house: after naps, kids play outside until its time for dinner. So they play in the backyard daily. (Obviously I will walk them through everything about protocols when they are near the hive and never to go into that area unless I am around.)

Thank you in advance for your input and advice.
 

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Similar to my situation. Has not been any problem with the neighbors. A privacy fence is a good thing!

The kids will quickly learn not to mess with the bees! As long as they don't have a severe allergy to stings it shouldn't be a problem, particularly since you plan to block the line-of-sight of the entrances with plantings. I get stung occasionally, but I spend a lot of time looking at the front entrances, so sometimes a particularly grumpy guard bee will take exception to being stared at. I asked my wife the other day if she had ever been stung by our bees, she said no. I've had them 4 years.

Different bees have different personalities. Some ignore you and others are highly defensive. Try to buy a gentle strain of bees. In the south there is a chance of africanized bees coming in and taking over the colony, so have a plan for dealing with the hive if it suddenly changes character and becomes mean. This can be anything from killing the hive, moving it to the country, requeening it. Ask a southern beekeeper for advice IN ADVANCE of getting the bees. Since you are in Louisiana I assume there might be Africanized bees around, but I am not particularly up to date on that topic.
 

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Mowing has not been a problem. I use a push mower and go all around the hive right up next to the stand. I don't waste any time doing it, but don't take any other precautions. Depends on the bees...

Urban and suburban areas have plenty of plants for bees. Better than many agricultural areas actually. People plant all sorts of unusual flowering plants so there is nearly always something blooming. May sometimes have problems with people applying insecticides, but that is also true in the country.
 

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My situation is quite different, but bees are generally gentle, unless they have Africanized genes, or something is spooking them, or they are really hungry. You can generally control these things with good beekeeping.

Five years beekeeping, with the hives close to the house, and my wife is often outside, and she has never been stung, nor any other innocents. I get stung occassionally, but I generally deserve it.

Mowing right up to the hives has never been a problem, both my wife and I do it. That is with a push mower or riding mower. Once the bees took offense with me weedeating around the hives, and I got 2-3 stings in the conversation that ensued.

Your plans sound reasonable to me.

BTW - I live in WA state, but was born in Baton Rouge, and raised in Jefferson Parish. Welcome to the club.
 

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The kids will quickly learn not to mess with the bees!
This is generally our approach on parenting haha and no allergies.

I recently found out an in law has a grandfather with 15 hives at his property so I plan on contacting him soon and learning what I can from him.

Good to hear from a couple of people about mowing not being a big issue. Honestly that would be my biggest concern with the neighbors.
 

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The plan would be to surround the front side of the hive with flowering bushes to not only help in pollinating but also to elevate flight path and hide the boxes from plain view of the kids.
It sounds like your plan will work. I am not sure the bees will find/have interest in a bush right in front of the hive, a fence might be easier long term. Everything else sound good
 

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The back of my hives are a foot to maybe 1 1/2 foot from a 4ft galvanized fence. The grandkids playset is about 3ft from the fence with no issues there. I am fortunate to have bee friendly neighbors. The only problem has been the occasional nusience bee after being in the hives or messing with a queenless hive. I won't normally work my hives the same day the grandkids are coming over. I can mow behind the bees with no problem with a quick pass.They don't like the weedeater.
 

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Good deal. I was hoping to make a border in the corner and fill with rocks to avoid mowing/weedeating directly next to the hive and keep the ground dry. It seems like a quick pass in front of the bushes at the front of the hive won't set them off too bad then.
 

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Sorry, my memory is not as good as I thought. The hives are 30 inches from the fence and playset 6 1/2 ft from the fence. About 9ft from the back of the hives. Just took the tape measure down to the hives.
 

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I had a hive on my porch, about 3 feet from my grill, for a couple of years. A swarm took up residence in some empty boxes I had stacked there. Last year they produced more honey than any of the other hives. The only issues I had with them was when grilling at night- Turning on the light over the grill would have some of them coming out and flying around, some would occasionally be attracted to the lights on in the house and would come inside. Once in a while one might get stuck in my hair or fly into the grill but I never got stung.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That is good. The kids playset will be 30-40 feet from the hives.

I had a hive on my porch, about 3 feet from my grill, for a couple of years. A swarm took up residence in some empty boxes I had stacked there. Last year they produced more honey than any of the other hives. The only issues I had with them was when grilling at night- Turning on the light over the grill would have some of them coming out and flying around, some would occasionally be attracted to the lights on in the house and would come inside. Once in a while one might get stuck in my hair or fly into the grill but I never got stung.
It blows my inexperienced mind that you potentially can have a hive that close and not have too many problems. I've really only seen 2 hives before though, both at my parents' house. One they made up in a tree directly over the driveway. Never had any problems until it fell one day. The other time they had a swarm get behind their siding on the house and ended up making a pretty large hive before they realized what was going on. Eventually they had someone remove it.

I guess the main thing will be convincing the wife that the kids will be okay in the backyard. If I can manage that then I should be good to go. I have talked her into getting chickens and ducks so I guess we will be testing the limits with bees. haha
 

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You can definitely do this.
I do.

Plan out your vegetation to create barriers to direct your bee flight paths.
Ideally you will want to create "vertical chimney" so to force the bee flight vertically UP/DOWN.
This way your bees will be the least possible disturbance to you and the neighbors.

Of course the bees must be mild in this setup. This is given.

Don't worry the least about providing forage for the bees on your property.
It will be waste of time and effort for you.
Instead think of the suitable ergonomics and living space for both you, the surrounding population, and the bees.
 

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Don't worry the least about providing forage for the bees on your property.
It will be waste of time and effort for you.
My biggest concern was using vegetation to create a barrier like you said and figured finding one they could collect from would make sense. My other thought process was to try and find a couple of trees/shrubs that would be producing during the dearth here to try and calm any over protective bees during the hot summer months.
 

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My biggest concern was using vegetation to create a barrier like you said and figured finding one they could collect from would make sense. My other thought process was to try and find a couple of trees/shrubs that would be producing during the dearth here to try and calm any over protective bees during the hot summer months.
You will find out soon enough how your bees will hardly forage in your own backyard.
The forage located TOO close to the hive is confusing to bees; they will likely ignore it.
In addition a single small tree/shrub are very much insignificant source of anything - too little to worry about.
Will not calm the bees either.

So, instead think of the vegetation that is best for the ergonomics/ornamental value/fruiting value.

Here you see four apple trees of good size directly next to the active hive.
They are being ignored when in bloom (granted, any other tree in the vicinity is blooming).
These trees could not sustain a full-size active hive for any significant duration of time if in dearth (IF the bees actually used them - which they don't do anyway to the excessive proximity).
20200527_105723.jpg
Conveniently, these trees force the bees to fly high (in addition to 6-7 foot high live hedges that de-mark my property).
 

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Barriers such as fences and shrubs cause the bees to fly up and away. They usually don't come back down to ground level immediately. Even chain link fencing is a barrier which the bees see as a nearly solid obstruction. You next door neighbors won't see much of an increase in bee activity in their yards.

In that light, I recommend that you DON'T go warning all your neighbors that you will be getting beehives. Ignorance is bliss in this matter. But if you do give them that knowledge, it is very possible that your bees will get the blame for every type of wasp sting and spider bite in the neighborhood. Search these forums for instances where new beekeepers got the blame, even though they hadn't even obtained their new bees yet. Just quietly go about your business and, with a little luck, a few years from now you might have a neighbor notice your 'new' bees.

I run about 4 hives and a couple splits, as well as swarm traps on just 1/4 acre. Bring your kids in on the hobby and teach them as you learn. There are bee suits in children's sizes. Above all, teach them to respect the bees. Each hive will have its own personality. Teaching them to never play right in front of the hives is lesson number 1. Lesson 2 will come about immediately upon ignoring lesson #1.
 

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Search these forums for instances where new beekeepers got the blame, even though they hadn't even obtained their new bees yet. Just quietly go about your business and, with a little luck, a few years from now you might have a neighbor notice your 'new' bees.
Haha I read one of those threads yesterday where the guy had just hives set up, no bees and got complaints.

Also this is my backyard set up and proposed location in the corner:
backyard.jpg

For reference its 100'w x 80'd.
 
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