I am looking to start a top bar hive this spring but have recently found several articles that talk about how bees and horses do not get along. We live in a rural area and several of our neighbors have horses. There would be a distance, about 100 ft, between where I would like to put my hive and the nearest horse pasture. Is there a safe distance to keep my hive away? Is there a particular type of bee that would be better around horses? Is there anything else that I could do to help ensure that my bees do not cause problems with the neighbors’ horses? Thanks for your help!
Thanks for your post! While bees and horses aren’t best friends, I wouldn’t be terribly concerned. Mostly for the horses comfort, as long as they corralled 30+ feet from the bees there should be no issue. I would focus most on getting bees that are docile. The breed (unless they are africanized!) should have no impact upon their docility. Many, many beekeepers have horses along with bees, and the only time I’ve heard of issues are when the bees have been VERY aggressive and VERY close to the horses.
Please let me know if I can answer any other questions!
Suggest that you have an adequate drinking water source for the bees - hopefully this would keep them from being attracted to the horse’s water supply.
Years ago I had three hives; two were from swarms from the first one. They were placed in a paddock with horse stalls on three sides. They were very gentle hives; I worked them with just a little smoke dressed in jeans and tee-shirt. I was stung two or three times in the two years I had them. There was no problem with the horses. That is until I came back on a sunny day after ridding my horse bareback with some horse sweat on my jeans. I put my horse away and walked over to a hive and lifted the lid. I was hit about twenty times before I could get into the barn. Lesson learned. The horses did not like bees flying around them but for the most part the bees left them alone. The bee’s water and nectar supply was toward the side without horse stalls so there was little contact.
Has the beekeeping near horses progressed? I wanted to know because I’m planning to be a beekeeper too and I have the same problem. I just don’t want to take too much risk in keeping the bees near the horses.