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Hi, a neighbor is placing 2 beehives on the other side of our 6 ft fence, 8 feet from our back patio and 12 feet from our back door (and 100 ft from his house). My wife and I own a dog who had a bad reaction to a bee sting a few years back. While I’ve read that a fence can redirect bees’ flight path safely above people’s heads, we’re still concerned about the potential for swarming and overspill into our backyard. Are our concerns legitimate or unfounded?
 

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Did you talk to your neighbor about this?
Maybe you can just ask them to move it 1/2 way between his house and fence or maybe just 10 feet in towards his yard.

but really, just go talk to them, don't be an ass neighbor.
Maybe he did it because your Dog barks... a lot.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Tough question to answer thoroughly and asking it here is somewhat like asking the barber if you need a haircut. Here goes my opinion based on what you said.
The fence will direct the bees upwards quicker so you should not see much flight activity on your side of the fence. Swarming is a reproductive event that typically takes place sometime in the spring, but can occur several times during the season. Swarms are not aggressive and usually do not cluster so close to the issuing hive, but it is possible. Bieing next door to a beekeeper, you will see bees, no matter where he places the hives in his yard. Bees will forage up to 3 miles in any direction so a few feet one way or the other is meaningless. Foraging bees are not aggressive either. Unless the dog attempts to eat them, it will not get stung. You may be slightly inconvenienced. Sitting on your patio drinking a sugary drink may encourage some uninvited guests. Also, you will discover what bee poop looks like. Early spring may not be a good time to hang laundry out to air dry. There are benefits though. Any fruit trees or garden crops will produce higher yields. And dont forget to hit up the beekeeper for some honey. I give my next door neighbor at least a quart per year for her continued understanding.
 

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Yeah, talk to him, he probably has failed to think it through. I would not want the hives that close to my patio.

Swarming is not a risk to you, bee swarms are not agressive.
 

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Swarms themselves don't tend to be overly aggressive, but hives that are fixing to swarm, or who are queenless, or who are getting messed with by a skunk at night, or are just one of those hot hives, can be problems. I have lots of hives, but even I wouldn't want some of them 12 feet from my house. And we don't know where the OP is from, what's the chance of these colonies getting Africanized?
 

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I keep bees in my suburban back yard. So far, 4 years, the neighbors have not mentioned any problems, and I am pretty sure they would since we often meet. This spring my bees are literally right next to my back door. I put them against the house to protect them from winter wind. So far no problems for me.

However, in my opinion, putting them that close to your house is a bit thoughtless. I'd ask him to move them closer to his own house. Some bees are more sensitive to things like lawn mowing or normal backyard activities than others, and that close they might get defensive. I don't care if my bees sting me, but I'd feel pretty bad if the neighbor's kids got stung.
 

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Ditto to some other posts, my bees are not right next to my house or neighbors, and my big bear-looking dog can literally lick sugar off the landing boards and has never been stung, but it still seems like a senseless risk to put them so close to your house. I don't run the weed whipper nearby, nor mow right up against the stands, but I presume that it may not be a great idea. Unfortunately as my age increases, I have found that the best neighbors live FAR away. When you have to live in close proximity, it simply invites bad behavior from otherwise seemingly reasonable people.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Although it was not the question asked, I certainly agree that putting the hives so close to your house and so far from his, gives the appearance of being inconsiderate. It may be that that is the best location, but asking him to move them farther away from the property line is a discussion worth having. Many localities have ordinances that prescribe number of hives and location in relation to neighbors. You should check your's out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for your well-considered responses; I greatly appreciate your time and help.
 

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Makes me wonder if your neighbor put them that far away from their own house because their spouse, children or grandchildren are afraid of bees. It doesn't seem smart to have them any closer than 10 feet from the property line. Even calm bees can become aggressive if something or someone is pestering them. They often are I'll tempered if they are without a queen or nectar flow. If that 6ft fence is wooden maybe it will be alright. I would still talk to them though.
 

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Did you talk to your neighbor about this?
Maybe you can just ask them to move it 1/2 way between his house and fence or maybe just 10 feet in towards his yard.

but really, just go talk to them, don't be an ass neighbor.
Maybe he did it because your Dog barks... a lot.
Agreed!!
 

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Did you talk to your neighbor about this?
Maybe you can just ask them to move it 1/2 way between his house and fence or maybe just 10 feet in towards his yard.

but really, just go talk to them, don't be an ass neighbor.
Maybe he did it because your Dog barks... a lot.
My neighbor has a bunch of yappy mutts that bark constantly whenever we go in the yard. My wife hates them. She tells me to go inspect the hives when the dogs are out barking. I think she wants them to get stung...
 

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Makes me wonder if your neighbor put them that far away from their own house because their spouse, children or grandchildren are afraid of bees. It doesn't seem smart to have them any closer than 10 feet from the property line. Even calm bees can become aggressive if something or someone is pestering them. They often are I'll tempered if they are without a queen or nectar flow. If that 6ft fence is wooden maybe it will be alright. I would still talk to them though.
This is Atlanta which is a warm climate for many months. Do people spend evenings in the backyard? Do they turn on lights on their patio in the evening? I don't know what time it gets dark there, but lights will attract the bees for sure. if people spend time in the yard, the bees could be a nuisance. People inside, as in winter, not a problem.
 

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I live in an urban area, and have one top bar hive in my back yard. The back of the TBH is 10' away from my 6-foot wooden fence (property line), and the opening of the TBH is facing the inside of my yard, so the bees' flight path is not over that wooden fence, but goes across my back yard. Orienting it this way has pretty much eliminated any inconvenience to others. Usually the bees mind their own business, but you can get the occasional aggressive hive, or harvesting honey in early September can make a whole hive nervous and aggressive. I agree with the majority of the other posts here that a conversation with the neighbor can be helpful. If I were in the OP's situation, I would like to know if this neighbor is already an experienced beekeeper (what if the hive gets Africanized?), or a newbie. What is the source of water for the neighbor's bees?
 

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My neighbor has a bunch of yappy mutts that bark constantly whenever we go in the yard. My wife hates them. She tells me to go inspect the hives when the dogs are out barking. I think she wants them to get stung...
Lol, Yes this is my thinking. I have a neighbor across the street whose 3 BIG dogs bark all day long. And of course they open from front windows and front door so they literally hang out them (no screens because they busted them) and bark at anything that moves. Or tie them out back to bark all day.
Tell your Wife to do what I do, youtube video of dog barking to a speaker in the window LOUD, see if they get the picture, mine did. I also play this which is kind of irritating lol
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPYKQhsx_HQ
 

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I wouldn't place a hive this close to my own back door let alone someone else's.
 

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Yes talk to your neighbor. Either they are passive aggressive or obtuse to others. Best to find out.
If you get an earful then you know it is a spite hive. Stay calm and talk to a lawyer.
Wish I could believe it was anything other than a spite hive.
Though I have to admit there are really rude people .
 

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At one time we had "neighbors" that always piled their trash cans at the corner of our yard for 2 days before trash pickup, and then always told their kids to park their junky oil-leaking cars in front of our house, instead of in their driveway on in front of their own home. I tried talking to every one of them I saw, they just smiled and said OK, but yet never changed their behavior. Even after having a broken-down tag-less car towed from in front of our house 2 different times, they'd just get it back from impound and drop it back in front of our place again... In the end we resolved the situation by moving. I always told myself that I don't want such behavior to turn me into exactly the same type of person like that which I despise, but for sure it is challenging in such circumstances. In my evolved opinion, the best scenario is 1000 acres, densely wooded for the entire perimeter, with a lengthy curving driveway to your secure secluded "compound" right in the middle...
 
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