Beehive on my roof

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by bobjase, May 7, 2012.

  1. bobjase

    bobjase New Member

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    A friend of mine is interested in taking up beekeeping and he asked if he could put a few hives on my roof (which is wide and flat). He said the roof is a good place for bees.

    I told him that I didn't want bees all over my yard and he assured me that there would be no increased bee concentration as a result of the hives. I currently almost never see any bees and I am concerned about my family (we have small children and they bring friends over - one friend is allergic).

    While I trust my friend, I thought I would ask the experts to weigh in.

    1. Is there really ZERO noticeable difference in the bee concentration if he puts 3 hives on my roof? (it's very hard to believe)
    2. Is that true even when my family is having a barbecue or picnic in my yard?
    3. Is there something that he or I should do to keep them away from my family?

    I want to be open minded and to help out my friend, but not at the expense of my family.

    Thanks for your help
     
  2. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    1. I don't know that it will be a "zero" noticeable difference so far as seeing them in the area, but unless you somehow crush one of them, there will be a zero noticable difference in occasions to be stung. Since they'll be so high up, you won't be in their "bee line" and bees travel a radius of 3 miles to forage. When they are foraging, they're too busy to be bothered by you. Since you are not threatening their hive, they have no reason to threaten you! Especially since they know that if they sting you, they will die!
    2. Now you are confusing the honey bee with the yellowjacket. Honey bees do not eat meat and, therefore, are not attracted to your picnic. It's the yellowjackets that love your hot dogs and hamburgers. And they also seem to delight in stinging you! And they can sting over and over again.
    3. Don't make yourself attractive to the bee. Fragrances, including hairspray, can make for inviting curiosity.
    You should be pleased your friend wants to have his bees on your roof. If you're a gardener, your flowers/vegetables/fruits will markedly improve. Besides, I'm sure your friend intends to give you a share of the wonderful honey he will be harvesting. Not like that grocery store sugar water. This is the real stuff and you'll love it.

    Hope you decide that this is a go. You'll be glad you did!
     

  3. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    First What part of NY... If its Bklyn..Or SI then you should NOT LET your friend put them on your roof... I'll Come over and put some there ...lol Just kidding...

    Being a newbie myself lets see if I learned something from the great member of this forum...

    First how High is the roof..

    Second how big is your yard?

    Putting 3 hives on the roof is not a big deal .. the footprint could be as small as 4' square.. More then 5-6 feet from the hive the bees will really not have an issue with you.. so on the roof you really shouldnt see any issues. As far as the friend who is allergic they should always have an Epi Pen on them. Do you have a pool. Reason I ask is that if there is no other source of water thay may use the pool as thier water supply.

    Again.. I am a NEWBIE ... and I am sure if I said anything wrong it will be corrected.. ( I HOPE )..lol
    Good Luck
     
  4. bobjase

    bobjase New Member

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    Tia,

    Thanks for your quick reply.

    One thing I don't understand - If the bees will (almost) never be in my yard, why will my flowers/vegetables/fruits markedly improve?
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    The only way I would see a noticable difference in bees would be if there was a dearth on and there was sugar or corn syrup out for them to get into. most likely a trash can full of pop cans. another atractant you may have is if you have a water source a bird bath swimming pool etc . If they lock onto that as a source for there water then you will see bees
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If you have a swimming pool, the bees will be attracted to it. So that wouldn't be good. Do your neighbors have pools?- they might complain when the bees use their pool a lot.
    As others have asked- how high up is the roof?- 10 stories? One story?
    If you have flowers and vegetables or a fruit tree then yes there will be some bees visiting your yard, naturally. A bee might be on a clover flower or dandelion in the grass and get stepped on by a barefoot child. But honeybees from the roof hives will not come in a cloud to attack anyone in your yard. That's what wasps are more apt to do.

    In general I think it's great to have bees around, but I have to be honest- if i was not a beekeeper and someone asked to put beehives on my roof ...and if I had small children bringing their friends to my yard to play and any of them were 'allergic'...well I would say no to the beehives. No sense opening myself up to liability if some kid has to go to the hospital, especially if they aren't even my bees. My vote is to let him find someone else's roof, or maybe a local gardener. But that's just me.
     
  7. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    My recommendation to you would be to ask this friend if he could take you to visit someone in the area who has hives on a roof or in a yard. Not an actual 'beeyard' that is just bee hives in a space, but a setup like what he is proposing for you: a house with a yard and just a few hives nearby. (With an actual beeyard, bee activity is much higher than just a backyard or roof hive.)

    Seeing a setup like that for yourself, walking around a backyard that had a beehive close by on a roof or on the ground, and see for yourself the bee activity, I think it would really help to put your mind at ease.

    I had a yard sale last year, with all the tables set up about 15 feet from the hive, and there was myself and two friends, plus their 4 kids, all hanging around in my yard and on my porch all day. The four kids actually had a little lemonade stand set up right underneath the bees' flight path, all day long bees were flying about 7 feet above their heads!

    And, of course, there were people coming and going all through the day looking at the tables, and few coming into my fenced yard, and walking within 3 feet of the hive, in order to reach an outlet where we would let them plug in electrics to ensure they worked. And most people never even realized they were standing a few feet away from a very active beehive. And no one was stung or even bothered by the bees at all during the day.

    I have stood out at my gate talking with neighbors, dog walkers, delivery men and solicitors while the ladies flew back and forth bringing in pollen just a few feet away, and the people standing there didn't even realize it.

    My husband and I have our grill on our porch, about 6 feet away from our hive, and we grill out about 3 times a week now that it's getting warm enough to do so. We grill then sit at our porch table and enjoy our dinner and then we usually hang out on the porch steps right next to the hive, we could reach out and touch it, with a couple drinks and enjoy the evening...and the ladies don't pay us any mind at all.

    You will likely see a few more bees on your flowers in your yard if you go looking for them, but you will not in any way have a yard "full of bees" or have them flying around you.
     
  8. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    I think if you started paying attention to the bees ALREADY in your yard and compared it to someone that has a hive very nearby you wouldn't see an appreciable difference. I read somewhere that the waggle dance that workers do to specify directions to nectar sources doesn't work for distances closer than 100'. The bees in the hive on your roof wouldn't forage in your yard and any that do, find nectar by chance rather than being told but other bees.

    I let a bunch of collards bolt and flower this spring and at any give time during the day there was 25-30 bees working those 4 plants. If you have flowers that bees like they're going to find them.
     
  9. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Look at my message again. I didn't say the girls wouldn't be in your yard; I said that you wouldn't have any unpleasant encounters unless you stepped on them! They will be on any and all of your nectar producing plants, but will be too busy to have any interest in you. They are not defensive at all when they are foraging unless you start flailing your arms around or if you step on them. Of course Medic1259 is correct: your allergic friend should carry an EpiPen (of course, he/she should carry one everywhere, not just in your yard!). And if there are swimming pools around, there may be issues as well. A water source in the beeyard could well allay those problems.
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The only other unmentioned concern is "a few hives on my roof (which is wide and flat)".
    A few hives when plugged full of honey will get very heavy. What span are your roof joists,what roofing material do you have, etc? Also, is there easy access to the roof, lifting boxes etc. up and down a ladder is not easy.
    I'm not trying to dissuade you, just wanting you to make an informed decision.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    there are I suspect several 'unknowns' here. first what is the height from the roof to the yard?

    Density of bees(number of hives) is always a concern in residential areas. Simply stated the more bees the more likely you are to have encounters with humans, pets and/or livestock. On the possible up side bees generally come and go at the elevation of the hive's entry. If humans, pets or livestock are not in movement at that same elevation of a hive's entry disagreements on personal space by both parties is greatly reduced.

    imho the kind of bees someone keeps in a box in heavily populated areas is also very important. when and how the beekeeper manipulate a hives would also be of prime concern.

    haven't been there but it has been reported to me by relatives in lower part of New York City that they have a bee hive on their roof... which I think belongs to one of the tenants... one I think.
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Both these pics are of me. These are honeybees, NOT yellow jackets. As much difference as a house cat and a bobcat.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    This is also Iddee 50555_113344588680208_8246047_n.jpg

    :lol:
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    :lol: :rolling: :rotfl:
     
  15. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    I agree with Omie especially with the concerns you already have concerning bees and your family / visitors / neighbors.

    I would not put 3 hives on my roof simply because of the weight and work involved to care for the hives.
     
  16. CharlieB

    CharlieB New Member

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    I have 22 rooftop hives in the middle of San Francisco and I can't think of a better place to have a beeyard. However, my roof is 4 stories high. Several things you have to make sure you do first:

    1. Make sure your hive stand runs over and along a load bearing wall and that the legs of the stand distribute the weight evenly.
    2. Make sure the roof doesn't reflect to much heat up into your hives.
    3. You must have stable, safe access to the roof for bringing up and down heavy supers.
    4. You must provide wind protection for your bees.
    5. Using 8 frame mediums is highly recommended.

    Good luck!
     
  17. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    I don't know how many times I have seen the same picture at bee club meetings and classes. It seems that a shop owner, in a city that I can't remember, decided the top of his business would be a good place to put his 3-4 hives. It was great until the honey flow. He kept stacking supers on until the weight of the hives collapsed his roof.

    When I started beekeeping, I thought I would see my bees working in my yard. I was wrong. Bees will forage up to two miles away. Occasionally I will see some working on herbs, clover or a dandelion or two. Just thought this information might make a difference in your decision.

    Lastly, to my way of thinking...should this arrangement go sour, it might be a good way to destroy a friendship. If he is a good friend, he will understand if you say no.
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    A Tec snip: "imho the kind of bees someone keeps in a box in heavily populated areas is also very important. when and how the beekeeper manipulate a hives would also be of prime concern. "

    Efmesch adds: I think Tec has hit on the only real possible cause for concern. When a beek manages hives (opening, examining, adding/removing frames and or supers, his/her skill at the job will be a big factor in how the bees respond. They will totally ignore a good beek but can get very excited and wild if mishandled. This is particularly important when honey is removed. In an urban situation, it should be done using a bee repellant or better yet, a porter escape so the bees stay calm even though they are being robbed of their prized treasures.
    On a day-to-day basis no one will even be aware of the presence of normal bees.
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    some good detail there efmesch. I would guess there should be other details of how or when to do that folks might add to your list.

    I myself would add robber guards as an essential element of hives held in heavily populated areas.