As long as you are making sure that the clippings and the exaust from the mower/weedeater are not being thrown back into the entrance of the beehives, you can mow all around them. Later in the day near dark is when I do mine since most of the girls are inside and not in my hair.
I mow as close as I can without bumping the hives.
My hives are in a hayfield behind the house so I'm not concerned about keeping it really neat. I probably only mow the grass 3-4 times a year around the hives.
I tried mowing at night twice...the first time there wasn't really an issue. The second time something was "different"...the bees came out and covered the outside of the hives after I made a couple of passes in front of them...then I found a bee or three on me...this was with mowing while wearing a red headlamp....very creepy, uneasy situation. I gave up mowing at night.
If I want to mow the grass around the hives what I do now is wait till after an inspection. The bees have been smoked...if it's been a lengthy inspection I may go back and puff a little smoke at each entrance so all bee's have a fresh smoke. I'm already wearing my jacket from the inspection so all I do then is crank the mower up and start cutting. I normally cut most of the area behind the hives first....this is where I park my Jeep if I've driven it down there (most of the time I walk down for simple inspections). Once I have most of that area cut I'll start on the frontside...I'll usually cut a swath or two away from the hives and work my way to the hives. I'll often go back over parts of it to clean it up a bit (it's a hayfield so it can be a bit rough textured). I might have a bee or three to fly at me, but no big deal.
Other folks appear to cut right up to them with no preparation and while wearing their skivvies, sandals, and a smile...I'm not that brave.
I only have 4 hives right now so it makes it easier to manage, but what I did was to use landscape fabric and then mulch and pinestraw. No weeds or grass to deal with to about 12 feet from my hives. Then I have a push reel mower that I cut with, no motor , never has bothered the bees at all. The push mower is a work out so only cut around 20-25 feet from the mulch, the rest of my yard I use a riding mower. I keep my bees in my backyard and I think it looks pretty good, I even set out some potted flowers around in the mulch.
I am a new beekeeper with two hives. I had cleared about a 1/4 acre on the back of my property for the bee yard. I sowed grass there. It has been growing out of control (including
weeds) for over a month. I decided to go down last night to mow it for the first time. Not knowing what to expect I suited up to complete this task. Big mistake. Was very hot and
wasn't buzzed by any bees. Will just be careful and not wear the suit next time. I did this late in the evening just before dark.
When we set the hives in our new home, I set them so the lawn tractor can drive between the rows. I drive in one direction, nudge right up to the hives, then turn around and go the other way to clean up the other side. When I'm all done with the mower, I get the string trimmer out to clean up under the hive stands. I've never suited up to mow, and the bees have never bothered me while I'm mowing.
Haven't mowed around the bees for 10 days now, grass is reaching 8 inches high, gonna have to get out there this weekend if the rain stops.
As you can see from this photo I mow all around and under the stands. I mow in the middle of the days. If a hive gets agitated I move away for a few minutes (when using the weed eater) and come back in a few minutes.
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