Backyard beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular lately. With beehives, beekeeping equipment, and bees easily shipped through the mail, many people can now enjoy beekeeping from their own backyard.
When deciding where to place your beehives, there are a few things to take into account. You’ll need to consider the ground, the bee’s food and water sources, the sun, wind, and the proximity to houses.
How Close Can Beehives Be to a House?
When keeping bees in a residential area especially, you don’t want your hives too close to houses. You want to keep yourself and your neighbors safe, plus bees need ample space to fly up and over houses. But how close can beehives be to a house?
The rule of thumb is to keep 25 feet of clearance at the hive entrance, as well as 4 feet behind and at the sides of the hive.
This is adequate for a colony with a calm temperament. However, if your colony is aggressive, more space will be needed. In general, the more space you can allow between the hive entrance and people, the better.
Why 25 Feet?
25 feet of clearance at the entrance of the hive is ideal because you do not want to be in the path of flying worker bees. Furthermore, the guards at the front of the hive won’t appreciate you in their vicinity.
Other Things to Consider
Areas that receive a lot of foot traffic are not suitable for beehives. This also goes for walkways, children’s play areas, and areas near pets.
Remember, it is a bee’s job to defend their hive. Even if they are usually docile, you don’t want them to mistaken a person as a threat. You want to find an area where your bees will be as undisturbed as possible.
Vehicle traffic can cause issues for your colony if your hives are placed too close to a road. Like airplanes, bees require space to take off and reach a high altitude. If they do not have enough space for this, they could unfortunately end up on a car’s windshield.
When deciding how close your beehives can be to be a house, take into account that a bee colony’s temperament changes throughout the season. While some colonies are aggressive all year round, there are factors that could cause a docile colony to become aggressive as well.
Nectar dearth can aggravate colonies, as well as pest infestations and illness. Large colonies may begin to get more combative, as they need more space. So, even though you think your bees are calm enough to keep close to your house, it’s best to give them space.
Create a Flight Barrier
If you are keeping your bees in a residential area, it is a good idea to create a flight barrier near your hives. A flight barrier is simply an obstacle in the bee’s flight path that forces them to fly upwards.
This directs them to fly up above the height of people. A flight barrier can be tall bushes, a shed, a wall, or any tall and thick vegetation.
Provide a Water Source
No matter where you end up putting your hive, it is important to provide your bees with a reliable water source. This will help to keep your bees out of any nearby swimming pools.
When setting up a beehive in your backyard, allow for 25 feet of space at the hive’s front entrance and 4 feet around the sides and back. It is important to give your bees ample space to keep them and people around them safe.