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Author Topic: Mowing the apiary?  (Read 4857 times)
TheMasonicHive
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« on: May 15, 2010, 05:48:32 PM »

Hello everyone,


I have a question regarding my new apiary...

As of today I hived my second package of bees.  I was talking with a guy (who isn't a beekeeper but has some knowledge of it through reading) that said that I have to keep the grass around it mowed or I can be giving SHB a place to breed.

The amount of growth around the boxes is minimal and my hives are on bricks to elevate it that are placed on top of lawn paver stones giving me a pad of sorts to keep the grass from getting high around the entrance.

You can see a video of my apiary here:  http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,27980.0.html

I think I probably SHOULD mow it, but I'm curious how I should go about doing that so I don't get popped by an angry hive.

Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2010, 05:58:53 PM »

I use a non moterized mower that I got from lowes.  Like the ones used in the 50's.  It works great!!  The girls have a HUGE dandilion plant right at the entrance I think its cute and dont mow over it.  You could use that right around the hives and a reg. mower for the rest of the lot.  Just my 2 cents.

Dave
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2010, 06:59:45 PM »

I had one hive in my lawn area for a three years, I used a motorized mower but gave them 7 to 10 of space then pulled weeds or cut by hand. I like the idea of push mower. In out yards, I pulled what growth was around them.  The hive in my lawn area sat in a square bowl with bricks inside then filled with used oil. The ants would crawl up the stems of any growth and get in the hive.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2010, 07:51:35 PM »

depends on your bees.  i run the tractor right behind the hives and have no problem.  i start out close to the hives and work my way out.  that seems to give them less time to get ticked off.  of course, that big mowing deck makes pretty quick work of it and might not be the same as a push mower.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2010, 08:09:31 PM »

needless to say the dust is terrible either way if dry. I have some hives where its green and full of flowers. Its let go for them to forage on. No longer have any in my lawn area
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ccwonka
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2010, 08:10:16 PM »

Yeah, I mow right up to the edge of my pad, which is about 2'-4' from each of the hive entrances, and haven't gotten tagged yet . . . knock on wood.  Course I fly by as fast as I can on a riding John Deere, but hey, it's not 'cause I'm scared.  Realy.  Promise. grin
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gardeningfireman
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2010, 08:52:26 PM »

I mow my yard right up to the front of the hives. I just make sure the mower chute is always pointed away from the hives. I also have to mow in their flight path. Not only have I not been stung, the bees don't even pay atttention to me when I go right past their hives! Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2010, 09:22:54 PM »

I just throw on the veil and weed eat around them, seems to work best in the middle of the day when most of the foragers are busy.

In front of my hives I have big pieces of rubber roofing to keep the weed down also.

That is a great idea of the old reel mower, matter of fact I just happen to have an old one in the garage, it was my grandmothers.

G3
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2010, 09:25:23 PM »

I love the reel mower.  It works great you just have to mow it once a week or so.  Mut the maint. is CHEAP   grin
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2010, 11:09:35 PM »

A couple points:  The guy is mis-informed about the height of the grass having anything to do with SHB's.  If anything, tall grass would impede the larvae from reaching the ground where they pupate.  Do you have SHB in your area?  Many places up north don't have a problem with them yet.  As for the mowing issue, it depends mostly on your bees.  If they are gentle, you can mow around the hives as long as you don't pelt them with the clippings.  Last year my son made the mistake of showering the hive with them and they ate  him up!  This year one of my hives got cranky and so I wore my hood as I got close to the hive.  They sent a phalanx of angry guards to chase me several yards away from the hive.  My son took their anger again as he was unfortunate enough to be in the yard--I guess they remembered him from before!  My next plan is to mow at night, as they are typically loathe to fly at night.  I'll turn off the lights when I get close enough to raise their ire.  I'll let you know how that goes...

Kelly
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2010, 11:19:46 PM »

SHB don't breed in grass, they breed in dirt.  Mowing will not deprive the SHB larvae of dirt.
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 02:06:17 AM »

it doesnt seam to matter to my hives , the big weed eater, the gas mover or the neuton battery mover.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2010, 05:29:46 AM »

The last time I mowed in front of my hives.... well I never mowed in front of my hives.  I used to pull the grass back when I had bottom entrances because the bees couldn't get in... but now that I have top entrances I don't do that anymore...
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2010, 05:54:54 AM »

I just mower with my tractor, no special precautions.  The girls don't mind, and just keep going about their business.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2010, 05:56:31 AM »

 
Hello everyone,


I have a question regarding my new apiary...

As of today I hived my second package of bees.  I was talking with a guy (who isn't a beekeeper but has some knowledge of it through reading) that said that I have to keep the grass around it mowed or I can be giving SHB a place to breed.

The amount of growth around the boxes is minimal and my hives are on bricks to elevate it that are placed on top of lawn paver stones giving me a pad of sorts to keep the grass from getting high around the entrance.

You can see a video of my apiary here:  http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,27980.0.html

I think I probably SHOULD mow it, but I'm curious how I should go about doing that so I don't get popped by an angry hive.

Thanks!


SBH fly in to hives they do not crawl in.



    BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
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TheMasonicHive
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2010, 08:14:45 AM »

I know the guy doesn't know much about beekeeping, he just thought he read that somewhere. 

When he uses beek terminology he uses it incorrectly and everything and I don't know why his point had me going.

Since I've never used this site over the course of a full year yet, I'm unaware as to how much undergrowth there really will be, but I guess I should be prepared for the possibility of having to mow it.

Where do you get one of those reel mowers?  That sounds like a great idea!
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Christopher Peace
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2010, 01:55:14 PM »


I use a push mower out of preference.   They're quiet, always work, zero maintenance, and cheap; I got both of the two I've had for free.    I only have a small lawn though.   I mow the flight path in the front of the hive from the side so my body isn't blocking it at all.   Other than a couple of bees giving me the 'buzz off' treatment there hasn't been a problem.    Now using a mattock to root out a shrub near the hive was a different story ...

Yours,
xperiment


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« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2010, 03:47:58 PM »

Masonic Hive:
Do a google search for hand powered reel mower. Here is one result:
http://www.amazon.com/American-Lawn-Mower-Company-1204-14/dp/B00004RA3F
They may be tax deductible as a health care item,LOL Smiley
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2010, 04:10:58 PM »

I smoke my hives before I mow in front of them. The same way I smoke them before I make a cut in a tree with a chainsaw. It works.


...JP
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2010, 07:57:17 PM »

I just put my entire suit on with veil and gloves and get onto a riding lawn mower in the middle of the day when most of the foragers are out. I mow right up to the hives with no problem. Also have someone who weed wacks all around where I cannot get the riding mower and he never gets stung.  So far very lucky I guess.
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Michael Bach
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« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2010, 08:49:47 PM »

I built a 10' X 10" elevated deck to place my hives on.

No mowing for me.

I like it because I have a sturdy, flat, clean, and dry area to work.  Plus I can monitor easier to see what they are dragging out of the hives.

Pics forthcomming!
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2010, 11:50:52 PM »

I mulch around my hives.
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2010, 12:19:02 AM »

Check out garage sales and especially estate sales for and old reel mower.  Should be able to pick one up for next to nothing.  Some have wooden handles that might need replacing and probably will need greasing and some TLC if has been sitting for years.  I remember my Dad used one even when the powered ones came out.

JC
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2010, 12:27:19 AM »

I saw a new one from sears it was 128.00 frns and not were heavy duty.
real mower that is or reel mover .
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« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2010, 09:12:24 AM »

I think I probably SHOULD mow it, but I'm curious how I should go about doing that so I don't get popped by an angry hive.

HHmmm I just get on my 42" Bolens mower and mow away. I usually cut to about 3 feet in front of the hives, but with the exception of getting bumped into from a leaving or returning bee, I don't get stung.. Maybe they just like the sound of my mower???

...DOUG
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« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2010, 11:17:18 AM »

I just put on a sweat shirt with a veil this weekend for some bushhogging around the hives. 90 degree weather and a sweat shirt was awesome; lost a little weight and got the grass cut.  I can handle the body hits but the stings in the face smarts. Im ugly enough without swollen eyes,lips, etc.
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« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2010, 11:26:29 AM »

Salvage some old carpet.   Lay it under your hives with your blocks on top of the carpet.  No mowing required.   Bigger the piece, less weeds to get in the way of the hives.
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2010, 12:50:37 PM »

Go full throttle and close your eyes shocked   Ditto the advice on pointing chute away from bees.  Mixed that up once, they chased and stung me.  Mowing around the hives is the most eventful and exciting part of mowing the lawn grin
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podius
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« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2010, 01:12:40 PM »

I don't mow, I have top entrances, and I killed the grass and planted clover in its place. It works for me, mowing takes time away from other things I could be doing.
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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2010, 03:18:55 PM »

Where do you get one of those reel mowers?  That sounds like a great idea!


Go to Lee Valley tools www.leevalley.com and look at their reel mower. It's a bit more expensive than what you'll find on Amazon, but they also have the sharpening tools.

J-
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Irwin
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« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2010, 12:53:15 PM »


Lawn.wmv




Next video will be weed eating around it grin


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« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2010, 01:23:40 PM »

Good luck with the weed eating.

Now go and mow in a beeyard with a bunch of hives, say at least 20 stacked in a row, and video that for our viewing pleasure Irwin. Just make sure you bring an Epi pen with you, ok?  grin


...JP
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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2010, 10:15:32 AM »

Weedeating around the hive. You will see me shake my hand one time that's because it had some dog poop on it when you hit a pile it go's every where grin


weedeating around bee hive
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2010, 10:43:02 AM »

I just mowed around seven hives last night, I have a bright orange simplicity with a 54 inch cut,  Maybe they like the orange?  They don't bother me at all. 
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2010, 10:45:14 AM »

Irwin, come on over and mow and weed eat around my bee yard in nine mile point. I have around forty hives there. After that for more fun we can go to my buddy Bailey's bee yards. You don't even need to bring your camera, I'll film.  grin


...JP
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« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2010, 12:43:50 PM »

Check out estate sales or auctions for reel mowers.  Sometimes they have one that has been hanging around in Dad's garage for years, and you can pick them up for next to nothing.  They just might need cleaning up and re greasing and possibly a sharpening.

JC
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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2010, 01:12:08 PM »

Weedeating around the hive. You will see me shake my hand one time that's because it had some dog poop on it when you hit a pile it go's every where grin


So when Irwin's around, you can say that the sh7.. is always hitting the fan!! grin

It helps when the hive is up a bit.  The bees really get TO'd when you start throwing grass in the entrance or whack the entrance a few times with the string.  Did that the other day and they started pouring out like they saw a bear...I watched from a safe distance and didn't bother them for a day or sow.  Other than that my bees could care less about a mower or weedwhacker.
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« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2010, 11:04:07 PM »

So far I can honestly say that they do not care about the mowing or weedeating.  My friend, who did the weedeating for me last week threw so much dirt up onto the hives that the bees came out and covered the front of the hive, but never, never went after my friend or me. Not one head butt. I am actually amazed by this.

I get onto the riding lawnmower and go back and forth in front of them and nothing happens, ever. 

Anyway perhaps one day that can change, but so far since 2006 it has been like this.
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« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2010, 11:13:14 PM »

Ok, thanks to this thread, I am going to make a video of me mowing in front of my hives at one of my bee yards. I have to do it soon anyway because my buddy said his father n law has been taking stings on his hands. Father n law is the one that usually mows. I gave him a hat and veil that he wears but sometimes the bees get a lil angry.

Will do it soon.


...JP
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« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2010, 02:36:03 AM »

I get the same reaction from my bees as Irwin does from his. They don't seem to be bothered by my mower at all. I use a mulching mower so it doesn't throw clippings everywhere. Once though, it did toss several blades of grass at the entrance. The bees went back in then came out after the grass stopped hitting them. Another time I wasn't paying attention and bumped the hive with the mower. I thought my luck was going to run out with that one. They never seemed to notice. But, I didn't stick around very long either. I only have 2 hives so I'm sure that makes a difference. Thanks for the videos Irwin.
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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2010, 07:25:06 AM »

roger33 join the fun and make a video I'm going to pm you with a little story how this all got started and a few link's you will get a kick out of it grin
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« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2010, 12:59:01 AM »

Oh...my goodness...thanks to ALL of you for giving me fall off the chair chuckles on what has more than likely been the worst week I've had in a very long time. I still have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

That actually was our first question when we asked about beekeeping. Our 95 year old neighbor used to mow our backyard with a riding mower. When we told him we were putting a hive in...he said..."Well, I'll stay away from there." He does like to hear about our bees though.

My husband mowed first and gave the hive a good 6 foot diameter. The other neighbor got closer with her mower and now when I mow (hubbie works overtime...I'm home and it's only fair) I've gotten closer and closer each time with in my comfort zone. The girls seem pretty tolerant.
I will not mow with in about 6 inches from the front of the hive because sometimes they fly in there to wander in the grass...(I have no idea why other then...well...I have no idea why.) After inspections I try to help them back into the entrance...hubby thinks I'm crazy because I do this in shorts, sloggers and I'm veilless. (after being in a jacket, jeans, veil and shoes I'm burning up and cant wait to get that stuff off of me) I'm still wanting to get the girls back where they should be so I risk it. They don't seem to mind.

We have a very vigorous raspberry bush right behind the hive that I go in and pick every day.
The girls hardly even notice me. The Japanese Beetles in the bush that swarmed at me though gave me quite the start the first time around.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Best,
Sarita

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« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2010, 07:02:17 PM »

I got my reel mower from LOWES for 60 bucks.  I love it.
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