Safety of Beekeeping on small lot

awayinthegardenMarch 6, 2011

I've been reading about beekeeping for a year and am in a beekeeping class taught by an entomologist and was all geared up to do beekeeping, but now am getting cold feet. I am not worried about myself; I am at peace with the idea I may (will) get stung, but I host large functions at my house in a small S. MInneapolis lot 40' x 60'. I am wondering how bees would handle a stream of people filtering through my yard (up to 100) and am concerned they may get in the flight path and get stung or step on a bee ground feeding on clover. I would have Italian bees and would place a 5-6 foot barrier in front of the or raise it. The hive would be about 15ft. from the sidewalk. I am also concerned about our 12 year old black lab. I have a great water source a fish pond we created. Can someone who's an experienced beekeeper in a similar situation shed some light.

Many Thanks!

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One hundred in the middle of the day? That would offer a lot of chances for things to go wrong. If you're hosting evening parties, you don't have to worry, since bees go to bed around sundown.

I have a tiny urban yard with a couple of hives, and the bees have certainly bonked into us if we got into their ever-changing flight paths. It's a bit unnerving when a bee flies into your face.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Thanks for your perspective, that's what I'm afraid of. Maybe not 100, probably closer to 60 throughout one day (for a plant sale and art crawl) just a few times a year. I would probably place notes at the gates to alert them of the hive and they can decide if they want to go in the yard. I still want to keep bees, but maybe it will have to be in another location.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

In a lot like this I would consider harmless mason bees.
I can't see myself have one hive...what happens when you have a swarm or two,...then you have two or three in no time. One hive in peak
season can have around 60'000 bees.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:55PM
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You could also block the entrance of the hive for one day. Just screw a board in place the night before the event. Wear your bee suit, and work at night, when the bees are all at home.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:51PM
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Having the bees fifteen feet from a sidewalk is not a good idea. Bees tend to view everything within twenty-one feet of the hive as their domain especially from the front of the hive. although an occasional trespasser won't stir them up a steady flow will agitate them and put them on the defensive. If it get to bad, they can start attacking anything that comes by or they could abandon the hive.

If that is the only place you have to put the hive than I suggest that you put a 8 foot privacy fence all the way around the hive with about six feet of space on each side so you have room to work the hive. This will give them a sense of peace and privacy and force the bees higher into the air as they come and go providing some protection for your guests.

Word of warning: For some reason, people who no nothing about bees inevitably want to take a look down the entrance of the hive and usually get stung for their efforts. Be absolutely sure that you can prevent your guests from approaching the hive unaccompanied or you can have some bad feelings or an emergency on your hands.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Thank you konrad, lisascenic, and shadowmystic for your advice. I like the idea of blocking the entrance of the hive for a day if needed. There is no worries of anyone peeking in the hive as it will be surrounded by thorny raspberries. I will rearrange any functions so that there are not streams of people because the hive is only fifteen feet from the sidewalk. Mason bees are a great idea, but I really want honey from the honey bees. Thanks again and appreciate all the advice given and any further tips!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 7:29PM
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I rarely ever get stung, but I don't have big parties. I hang my wash right by the hive and walk in their way all the time. They seemed to know me. Sadly they're dead so I'll have a new bunch to get used to me hanging my clothes in their path.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:02AM
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pyewacket(z7NJ and z5-6ME)

I would consider this very carefully; perhaps a temporary tall trellis in their flight path, and diverting traffic flow away from hive. If you decide to block the entrance, do not close it off with a solid board. Get #8 (1/8") hardware cloth and bend it to fit into the bottom entrance, then duct tape around edges. Cut another piece to fit over top notches or holes and tape. Bees need ventilation!

I have kept one to two hives in the back yard of my small property in a neighborhood of closely-spaced houses for six years. A couple years ago we were on a local house tour which included our deck, but I asked that no one be allowed to wander the back yard. We often eat and relax on this second-story deck in mild weather and have never been bothered (yellow jackets yes, honeybees no) EXCEPT when one hive became very hot last spring. During the month this lasted my dog was chased and stung several times; when we went out on the deck, a few bees would be flying around out heads in a menacing manner within minutes. I took several measures (split hive, re-queened, provided closer water source) and they eventually settled down. I'm still not sure if what I did restored the hive's gentle disposition, or if it was just a temporary aberration. However I was extremely anxious about neighbors, even people passing by my house on the sidewalk and I have decided to keep only one colony in my yard (and move the other to a farm where my other hives live) and that if it happens again, they will all go to the farm.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:41PM
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