Beehive in the middle of vegie garden

vicvic, Feb 15, 12:51am
I replaced my front lawn with a vegie garden 2 years ago. A year ago I planted lots of marigold to attract bees as I heard they're good for the garden and are dying out so thought I'd give them a refuge. We already had a few flowers but the marigold seems to have done the trick. However, this summer they've set up shop smack bang in the middle of my 2 most active garden beds. When I'm harvesting my silverbeet they're flying all around and banging into me, they're growing in numbers every week so could this become a problem later? They won't sting me if I don't bother them right? I don't know where they draw the line between minding my business and intruding them.

The hive is hidden under a small bush so I can't see any of it from any angle so I'm not sure how I'd move it to the edge of the garden, I can only see them coming in and out of it. Is it even possible to relocate a natural beehive?

I took this photo about a month ago before they arrived. The hive is tucked at the end of the path on the right, under the red flower bush and small wooden fence. If you click left you can see the reason why I took these photos :)

oh_hunnihunni, Feb 15, 1:09am
The reason they're banging into you is you are right in their flight path. There are a number of ways to fix this - the best one would be to set up a prepared hive close by but where you want it, and one night move them into it. the other less invasive way is to put a screen in front of the hive, close, but not too close, so they come and go higher than at present , literally flying over your head on a new flight path. You could test their reaction to that by using a temporary one, a plank, more bamboo with a sheet or something stretched between then, or a tall piece of cardboard to see if it works, before going to the expense and trouble of a hive. If you do the wooden hive thing, make sure you place the hive entrance so it doesn't allow the bees path to cross washing lines or car park spaces (bee poo on sheets or cars is a pain!) and doesn't interfere with neighbours enjoyment of their spaces. Usually raising a barrier, or placing the hive entrance towards a fence does the trick.

And I envy you. Having a bee hive in the garden was one of the highlights of my life, though it was a huge responsibility as well as a blessing. Best of luck.

shanreagh, Feb 15, 1:09am
Congrats on the garden and i remember the frog.

I would be inclined to get a bee keeper to capture the bees from their homemade hive. While it might be no problem they swarm when they are looking for a new hive and queen flies away with them. It might be better to have them in an actual hive. If you do this, and beekeeper would be able to advise, you need to find out about hives in built up areas. Hive siting is important as bees like to have a flight path into and out of their hive.

Without all the protective gear you would not be able to safely move the hive to the outside of the garden. If you look up the local Beekeepers Association you might find a beekeeper who does these moves for you. Local council might be able to refer you to one as well.

lythande1, Feb 15, 2:01am
You can even pick them up if you want. so long as they feel relaxed they're fine.
Lucky you.

oh_hunnihunni, Feb 15, 2:05am
And talk to them, they like to be acknowledged (and treated)as part of the family.

Btw, complete novices can work with bees quite happily. We were, and were generously rewarded, but yes, if you start to manage them in a constructed hive, you may need to look into permits etc.

kendall40, Feb 15, 3:30am
It used to be tradition to "tell the bees". My grandmother had a hive and every hatch, match and dispatch, the bees were advised! Her fruit trees and gardens produced prolifically, and this is in what was Rutland, now Leicestershire.

kaylin, Feb 15, 6:04am
Jealous much! Of the hive, and the frog, and the lovely vegetable garden.
You are welcome here if you want to try and recreate the same thing.

junie2, Feb 15, 7:08am
Are these honey bees you're talking about? Not bumblebees? ( or God forbid, wasps?) I only ask because it is a bit unusual for honey bees to make a "natural" hive in a low down place. Bumble bees often do this though, and so do wasps. Honey bees usually like to find tall trees and/or small openings to get in behind weatherboards and into roof spaces etc. If they are indeed honeybees, then yes, you can relocate by getting them a hive with frames. You will find they'll march into it with no fuss usually. Or, a hobbyist club member could do it for you, and put in checks for diseases.If you;re not 100% sure what you've got, perhaps you could post a pic? BTW, I "talk" to mine, as above, lol.

oh_hunnihunni, Feb 15, 7:25am
Yes, that's what I was alluding too. Personal experience has taught me how important it is to tell the bees. In fact, it became one of those significant life lessons for me.

oh_hunnihunni, Feb 15, 7:28am
That's how we got ours to multiply. A freshly prepped hive, close by but not too close, so the scouts could find it and then return to the Queen and tell her to initiate swarming because the new home had been located.

Very clever creatures, bees.

bluefrog2, Feb 15, 8:56am
Personally, I wouldn't try to move it myself.
Contact a local beekeeper or beekeeping club. You should be able to get someone to come look over your bees and give you some options about what's best to do.
You can even rent a hive box in some areas, and the beekeeper will come around to monitor the hive, treat it for pests, and even harvest the honey for you as part of the rental service.

speeedy1, Feb 15, 10:16am
Because you have a cricket pitch?

No, you are so lucky to have a hive. In my experience, bees only sting when getting stood on; and can you blame them for that? No.
Having that wee green frog amongst your crop, I presume your garden is spray free? Good for you. I only use fish fertiliser and worm tea/castings. Mind you, next season I will be painting the apple tree trunk (at ground level for a foot) with Ripcord to get the codlin and prevent the ants setting up farm amongst my trees.

vicvic, Feb 16, 7:08am
Yes I've observed closely, definitely honey bees coming in and out. Although there are also a few wasps and bumblebees in the garden, but they don't go near the hive. I thought it was a wasp hive at first too, never seen a beehive that low/hidden before. I'll look into that, thanks.

vicvic, Feb 16, 7:09am
yes spray free, no chemical fertilizers - just water, compost tea and worm castings. I also mixed in a bag of paramagetic rock dust to remineralise the soil when I started my garden. That frog was a one off, he stayed all day but no frogs have visited since :(

poppy500, Feb 16, 7:13am
Get them into supers then you will get honey, and be able to treat them for varroa if you want to keep them long term. Ring a beekeeper or apiarist club and get some help. We had a hive in the garden. Ensure they can get water ( and can get out without drowning).

vicvic, Mar 17, 2:06am
what is a super? I don't know how much honey they're making, can't be much as it's a small hive tucked away near the ground. How do I give them water exactly? place a dish near the hive?

deanna14, Mar 17, 6:05am
You need to call a bee keepers club to see if anyone can help you.

A super is a wooden box, part of a hive, I don't expect you have one.

I hope you get hold of someone.

tweake, Mar 17, 6:38am
ask on
there is plenty of beekeepers in auckland who could help.
if you do nothing they will die out.

a word of caution, the season is coming to an end and they will get stroppy if you walk in their flight path at that time of year.

as for keeping the hive and being a beekeeper, talk to beekeepers first. its a big undertaking, lots of learning and there is legal responsibilities to.

tim41, Mar 17, 8:58am
you need to get them into a hive if you want them to survive,as the veroa mite will destroy the colony before to long and you proberly wont have them by this summer if thy arn't treated for veroa,good luck

thistle4, Mar 3, 2:52am
The colony will soon start to thin out. It's that time of year and they probably won't have enough food to see them through the winter anyway. The queen only has a few bees to sustain her through the winter.