Mowing

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by crazy8days, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    With my bee yard (back yard) being on the small side I need to keep it mowed (city limits). What are tricks to mowing around my two beehives without getting attacked. I was thinking in the morning before they get active plugging the hole? Only takes me less that 10 minutes to mow the back. What do you think?
     
  2. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I'd just put your bee suit on and mow when it's convenient for you.
     

  3. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    I make a couple of quick passes in front of my home hives(backyard)and then mow up to the sides, the only time they even got alittle pizzy was when I bumped the hive stand. I don't close them up or TRY to figure a good time to mow, I just do it. A queenless hive will be more agressive, and make sure to keep the mower exhaust (engine & grass)pointed away from the hives.Jim
     
  4. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    I mow right next to them with a walk behind. It's a bagger, so there's no chance of blowing grass into the hive. I no longer weed whack around the hives, that was painfull. :wink: They don't mind the garden tractor as long as it doesn't get too close...they'll let me know when it's too close.

    Walt
     
  5. jmblakeney

    jmblakeney New Member

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    I have never had a problem mowing around my hives. I pass directly in front of the with push mower, zero turn, and weedeater. As stated just make sure the dicharge chute is pointed away from the hive.

    James
     
  6. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I use my reel mower, but I only have 1 or 2 hives. Takes a little longer, but there is no noise or exhaust.
    Generally if it is a nice day, they are so busy foraging that they ignore me. Just have to try to pass through the flight path as quickly as possible.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    crazy8days,
    like all have said, but wear a veil. i have a guy who mows my land, but he leaves mowing or weed whipping in the front of the hives to me, after being stung a few times on his ears. you're mowing in front of their flight path, some days it won't bother them and some days it will. some city beeks use grass clippers or shears to neatly trim around their hives.
     
  8. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Mostly I can do a quick pass on the mower without anyone getting annoyed,
    I get about a foot away at best...... Any time of day
     
  9. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    The only stings (plural) I ever received was when I blew grass toward the hive last spring with a now deceased riding mower. The neighbors still talk me about diving off the mower, running around the yard, and rolling around in the grass. I mowed with a veil for a while after that.

    In time, though, I have learned to mow either with a bagger or mulcher on. As long as I don't blow debris on them, they seem to be ok with it. I can mow right next to the hive. I do approach from the rear and don't linger to show them my new mower.

    A neighbor mows a yard that borders about 40 feet from the hives with a big green grass blowing machine. Last year, after my run in with the bees, I watched closely as he made his pass and thought the bees were getting anxious. I turned the hives to face away from the mowing and they seemed better.
     
  10. BoilerJim

    BoilerJim New Member

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    I laid weed barrier felt down and then put about 3" of gravel on top of that went out 3 to 4 feet around the hives so that when I mow I am not that close to the hives and after two summers of mowing they have left me alone.

    Now watch me get my rear end stung about five time tomorrow for bragging about not being stung when mowing.:???:
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    If you've got calm bees, you should be able to mow right past the entrance, with the restrictions already mentioned--no exhaust, no clippings into the hive. I would only add, move smoothly as you pass the hive, no stopping, no sudden changes of pace. 99% certain that they will totally ignore you--even if they bump into you by accident.
    (I know what you're thinking---"what about that 1%? One percent out of 30,000 bees means 300 stings :rolling:. Not really, those that don't ignore you don't automatically sting). If it's a "nervous" colony, wear protection.
     
  12. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    I am going to be mowing this morning and after yesterday going into hives to see if queen out and removeing their gages I will be wearing the veil over my head, turned mean from installing.

    kebee
     
  13. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I've only mowed mine once since setting them up, but they're due again. My bees are down in a pasture and probably 140' from the back of my yard. I cut two 54" swatches around "hive row". The first round...no problem. When I started the second round there were several bees on the front porches, not a posse or anything, just curious bees it appeared. After I made the second cut and was driving away from the bee yard I looked back and it looked like the posse had formed...a pretty good crowd bees gathered on the porches. I think one more round might've got some of them in the air doing reconnaissance flights. I kept on driving back to the house. ;)

    kebee, you said your bees had turned mean...did you smoke them and give them several minutes to get mellowed out before opening the hives up? What seems to work for me is using a *little* smoke and waiting a few minutes afterwards before opening things up.

    Ed
     
  14. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    Thinking they were still mellow I open the first hive with nothing but hive tool and brush, came after me quick, ran back put on jacket and veil, went back and they got even more pestice, than went for smoker, queen gone out cage out, open holes a little more on surp cans, cover up. Second hive must have been in cohots with first hive, before I could even get smoke in they had me twice, one on left hand and one on right. Did the job anyway and closed up, they got the smoke too. Going to be perpare better next time when I go back in in 10 days, have my gloves and all on and good smoke. I mowed with my veil and jacked on out about 20 feet, didn't bother me at all, snicket they are will try to get me next time, I got their nature will be pepare.


    kebee
     
  15. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    It's spring, the nectar flow is on, as long as they aren't queenless you could probably stand in front of the hive with the mower for the whole 10 minutes and not even have a single bee waste time checking you out. During the summer dearth and after the fall flow, put a bee suit on or at least a veil.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Kebee, you went into the hive without smoke. That is a BIG no-no. In so doing, you caused the bees to fill the air with guard pheremone. That made all bees protective and ready to attack, even in the other hive. NEVER open a hive without smoke.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    definitely what Iddee said and in CAPS. I have heard reports (locally) of folks that promote the keeping of bees without using smoke because it is cruel to the bees (not humane). All those stings in your body and cloths means a lot of bees died for no good reason besides someone did not see the necessity of lighting a smoker. The logic of this kind of thinking just alludes me.
     
  18. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    my sentiments as well, it stresses the hive, and additionally, my 1 cent, sugar syrup in a sprayer.

    kebee, a puff of smoke at the front door, a puff at the top entrance, if you have one. take the lid off. a puff through the hole of the inner cover, pry, another puff, you're good. no mad bees.
    and i don't mean fill the hive with smoke.

    btw, happy mowing!
     
  19. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I had no trouble mowing last week with the current hive of cutout bees, but I wore a full bee suit and gloves anyway. Last year's bees, with a full suit and gloves I only got one sting, but they did their best to kill my mower. (They absconded, and I believe I was grateful afterward. Sad, but grateful. Should have requeened. Didn't know how.)

    I wear a suit, veil and gloves when mowing near hives. Their mood varies, my skin thickness doesn't. And I hate benadryl.

    Gypsi

    ps: If I am only peeking and topping off a feeder, I do not always light a smoker. As long as my suit is clean (haven't been on a cutout with angry bees while wearing it), my bees don't get upset. That is my current bees. If I am doing more than topping off a feeder, I got a new smoker that actually works. I believe that the alarm pheromone accumulates on my gloves and suit - helped another beek a couple of weeks ago. My bees developed great hostility toward my gloves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  20. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    I learned my lesson well after a few stings, my suit and veil and a good lite smoker, oh yes and gloves, no more changest of them being nice little bees anymore.

    kebee