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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might sound like a silly question. I am going to setup my first beehive this year. It will be in my backyard. I know bees can't hear, but how will they react to the vibrations of a lawn mower? How close to the hive will I be able to get without them going nuts while I'm mowing? Any suggestions for trimming the grass near the hive? My whole yard is grass. Thanks.
 

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Roger,
Well bees can hear... they do so by sensing vibrations via an organ in their hind legs. Of course their hearing isn't quite the same as ours. But I'd call it hearing none the less.

Anyway, to answer your questions, I had the same fears when I was starting out, but found that the bees really don't pay any attention to the lawn mower, even when the exhaust was pointed right at the hive entrance. I mow right up to about 6" from the front of the hive and they don't pay any attention to it... the last 6" is part of a flower-bed that doesn't get mowed but does need weeding from time to time, but I just hand-pull them, the bees don't pay any attention to that either.

But here are some tips for mowing that I think helped me...

1. If you have a walk-behind mower/push mower stand to the side of the hive and push it in front of the hive, that way you're not standing directly in the bees' flight path.

2. Mow in front of the hives in the morning or evening either before the bees become really active for the day or as they are winding down for the night.

3. Wear a beesuit? Ok, I know this is the wuss thing to do, but the first time I mowed my lawn after getting bees I was fully suited up, and after doing so I realized that the bees weren't even trying to get me and doing that gave me the confidence to go without the beesuit.
 

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I mow behind my hives on an old Cub Cadet tractor. I mow a little faster on the sides of the hives. I mow quite fast in front of the hives. Really. I've never had a big problem but on really active days with six hives busy, mowing isn't a great idea. Your results may vary!
 

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Hello roger33 et al, as in almost all things, foresight is a good thing to have. Most of the time I mow with suit and veil in the closest areas of the hives. Most of the times the bees pay no attention to me and then when I am a bit futher away I take the veil off. Now having said that, there have been times when one or two did show some intense interest in me and I had to walk quickly through some bushes to confuse them and they left me alone.
I have the theory that vibration frequency does make a difference and that there are some machines that they don't like. So, it is a matter of testing them in the safest manner first. Take care and have fun
 

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As noted; I have had very little trouble mowing around my hives. I use a rider, got a couple of acres, suit up for the first few mows,at least the vail. The mowing doesn't seem to bother the bees, even when they are very active. I am very careful NOT to blow the grass at the hive. A beek friend of mine did it (blew grass into the hive) the bees did not like it one bit :doh:
 

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in my experience wether the bees object to mowing(or weedeating or even gardening) varies. a very docile hive at times will object strongly. just when you think you know what their reaction will be...WHAM! maybe not this year, maybe not next,but...eventually. i get a lot of equipment from ex beekeepers. good luck.mike
 

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I mow and weedwack around my 5 hives in shorts and a tee shirt without a problem. I am careful to blow the grass away from the hive entrance and I try not to stand right in front of the entrance. Unless you bang the hive or block their entrance they won't give you much notice.
 

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Mowing has never presented much of a problem. However, if you run a gas powered string trimmer....I would put on the armour. I have tried this several times and always the same results. Over 100 stings into the spark plug cable. Hundreds in my beesuit with between 10 and 20 always getting through.

Can do the same trimming with an electric trimmer in my shorts. The problem is definately the high pitch of the gas trimmer.
 

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I mow and weedwack around my 5 hives in shorts and a tee shirt without a problem. I am careful to blow the grass away from the hive entrance and I try not to stand right in front of the entrance. Unless you bang the hive or block their entrance they won't give you much notice.
I mow in front of the hives on the rider some times w/o a suit (YMMV).... but dont ever attempt to use a weedwacker without a suit.... they do not like weedwackers!

JoeMcc
 

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You should be ok, I try to speed by mine and make sure the chute is not pointed towards the hive.

As long as you don't have Africanized bees you should be ok. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the reply's everybody. I feel a little better about it now. That was the one thing I wasn't too sure about. I'll just be very careful and quick when I mow around the hive.
 

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I was cutting the lawn last summer after having worked with the bees... about 2 hours after. I was wearing the same shirt, about 30ft from the rear of the hives. WHAM... sucker nailed me in the back of the nexk.

I find if I've worked with the bees, and they're a little annoyed, they'll chase me around the yard... especially if I'm wearing the same colours as when I was in the hives.
 

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One thing I did not see mentioned. I always start with the first cut close to the hive, chute pointing away from them. I go around the yard before making the second pass in front of the hive, don't turn around and go right back in front of them within a few minutes.
 

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DroneDog, I use Roundup regularly around my hives. BUT - I have them up on railroad ties cut the width of the hive, then a regular stand and sbb. I only spray on windless days, and am very careful to spray in such a way that it does not drift into the hive. No use taking any chances. I've not noticed any problems with the bees.
 

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To keep from weedeating in close to the hives can you use Roundup (weed killer)? Will the weedkiller hurt the bees?
I use roundup around all of my pallets, I usually spray at night (bees not flying). Obviously try to spray away from the entrances, not towards them. Round up is absorbed by the grass very quickly when its warm, within an hour you can't even see moisture on the blades of grass and weeds.
 

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I like to lay old carpet or landscape fabric down under and in front of my hives. It controls weeds and grass from growing to close to my hives. Not been stung while mowing, yet.
 

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Me beeiing a welder by day, bee keeper by night and when I'm off, My stands are on a single post set in concret, 24" off the ground. My wife mowes using a push type self propeled mower with no problems. I have as many as 15 hives in my back yard. I just don't make inspections when she is going to mow.:no:
 
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