Bee netting

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Lead-Legs 

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Hello,
I intend to start beekeeping next year with 2 hives. I'm intending to use a netting fence around the hives to allow schoolchildren to see in. What is the maximum size of mesh that the bees won't fly through? Obviously the smaller the mesh the more difficult to see through and the more shade it creates!
 

essex paul 

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i once did a similar project.i used scaffold mesh on security fencing and put a shed with a large observation windowat one end[patio door sealed unit] with hive facing it.people could observe a full inspection
 

Moggs 

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I can just imagine the risk assessment for this one. I can only hope that you are blessed with good tempered bees as it will be very diffcicult to ensure complete containment (if that's what you are after) and only one anaphylactic shock reaction to a sting might just spoil everybody's day.

From your posting, I understand that you haven't kept bees before. It can be a steep learning curve for the unwary.
 

Poly Hive 

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Without wanting to spoil your day Lead Legs can you explain a bit more as to what you want to achieve?

Letting kids watch bees taking off and landing is interesting to a point.

Letting kids see inside a hive and what goes on is vastly more interesting.

However in both situations there are dangers.

6mm is your answer but I suspect a double fronted observation hive is the better route after a couple of years hands on experience.

PH
 

Rosti 

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PH beat me to it, but actually I was going to say 3mm. Not because bees can fit through 6mm but because you can still see through 3mm but it has more strength and resistance to damage.

There are observation hives at (RHS) Harlow Carr, run by Harrogate and district BKA, they could give you useful info on running observation hives. You do also need to think about the general direction of travel from the hive site and take your netting to about 2.5m in height to ensure protection - and this needs to be 360' around the hives, necessistating a frame and 'door' in.

When HDBKA do presentations at the gardens (i.e. open the hives) they also provide veils for anyone who wants one, and give a H&S speach and state you are present at your own risk.

You could be taking on quite a personal liability risk by inviting children to watch at such close quarters. More info (from you) needed I think with regard your motivation, intentions and objectives. R
 

madasafish 

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What about bees who stray on their way back to the hive and come in on the wrong side of the fence?


Or come over the fence and decide to explore the strange scents?

A proper risk assessment says a fence alone is not going to work...properly.
 

Rosti 

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Mada you are right to be cautious but Harlow Carrs experience of having hives positively advertised and signposted within in a display garden (and I recall seats in front to watch the bees through the netting) suggests there is another view point to yours! The hives have been there for donkeys, they'd be gone by now if there had been issues I'm sure.

...... who's proper risk assessment by the way?

I can't believe that the Royal Horticultural Society / HDBKA would have placed observation hives and kept them there for so long without protecting themselves with 'a proper risk assessment' supported by anectodtal risk information gathered over the years and stats on bee related incidents around the hives.

Personally, I wouldn't want to have that responsibility, but thats personal choice and perhaps the diff between an individuals risk adverse liability exposure and that of a large organisation.
 

Queens59 

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Private Message in the mail section a member called Kazmcc (just type her name in the 'to' section) - she has a hive that has been set up for a primary school and may be able to explain how/why they have done what they have?
 

RoofTops 

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You can use mist netting which is used by people to trap birds for ringing. We use this at the Devon County Show around a hive and people can get to within a few yards of the hive and no one has ever been stung. But, and it is a big but, the colony is chosen for its temperament and each bee is given a stern talking to before the event.

Mist netting is black and almost invisible so it doesn't get in the way of viewing. The mesh size does not need to be smaller than the bees themselves as they sense it as an obstruction and fly over it. Here is one source of nets: http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?bkfno=187218&ad_id=813
The mesh must be rigged in a wall well above head height in a ring around the hive. The top is open to let the bees fly out.

However, it could not really be left out in all weathers so would have to be rigged when required.
 

Dishmop 

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What about bees who stray on their way back to the hive and come in on the wrong side of the fence?


Or come over the fence and decide to explore the strange scents?

A proper risk assessment says a fence alone is not going to work...properly.
You might as well have a complete blanket ban on bees in the UK then..
 

Poly Hive 

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Not at all true Dishmop but when kids are concerned parents can get a bit err protective?

On the boundary wall at the Beekeeping Centre at Marburg, Germany there were mini nucs set out for mating, the wall some 3 feet high or so, and the neighbour was the primary school.

The bees were so good tempered it was remarkable and yes I was impressed, very.

Can we do it here. An emphatic no.

Why could they do it? Over 50 years of breeding. Breeding note, not mating as such but proper breed books and line breeding by AI, and opened up to the beekeepers via isolated mating on islands.

We are so primitive in the UK it beggars belief. No doubt some will want to disagree but I am convinced in my own mind that we throw away opportunity after opportunity. In my own little experience over the last 20 years we have made NO progress at all. None.

Cattle men improve their stock, so do all live stock owners, apart from us.

Shameful really.

PH
 

Teemore 

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Perhaps some beeks in the UK and Ireland could be more professional/organised about their approach to bee breeding and the tracking of genetic lines but we should not engage in bee improvement just for the sake of it.
Cattle-men etc. may improve their stock but there is a lesson to be learned from their "improvements".
Consider the Holstein cow - it is recognised that they produce vast quantities of milk in each lactation but to produce these large quantities of milk they actually go into physical decline - they can't eat enough to maintain their bodies AND produce all the milk. On top of that Holsteins are not much use when it comes to beef production and they are relatively short lived.

Compare that to 'older' 'traditional' breeds of cattle that produce milk over a much longer working life and are dual purpose breeds having a commercial value in terms of milk and beef production. I am seeing more farmers turning to older breeds of cattle instead of Holsteins - strains that are better suited to their particular circumstances.

I hope that bees aren't "improved" to the extent that some characteristics are developed at the expense of others - think of the health problems associated with some breeds of pedigree dogs....

P.S. the screening used on scaffolding is a good idea and can often be gathered up (literally) for little or no financial outlay. You might also consider the windbreak type of netting sold in garden centres...
 
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Silly Bee 

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I have a net which has about 25 squares per inch. the Sunlight gets thro' and I can see the hives easy enough, I put it up as a windbreak while I wait for some bushes to grow.

I was intending to grow worcester berriers as a hedge, but changed my mind due to their wicked thorns. I didn't fancy getting a swarm out of them if I happened to miss a QC,
 

Liam C Ryan 

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Would it be an idea to put viewers into a protective netted box ,top and sides, with a long protective entrance into the viewing area.
 

Poly Hive 

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I agree with you Teemore to a point.

The Germans have by managing their breeding improved honey yield and temperament at the same time.

They light a smoker but rarely if ever use it that I saw.

Can we say the same?

PH
 

Stiffy 

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You can use mist netting which is used by people to trap birds for ringing. We use this at the Devon County Show around a hive and people can get to within a few yards of the hive and no one has ever been stung. But, and it is a big but, the colony is chosen for its temperament and each bee is given a stern talking to before the event.

Mist netting is black and almost invisible so it doesn't get in the way of viewing. The mesh size does not need to be smaller than the bees themselves as they sense it as an obstruction and fly over it. Here is one source of nets: http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?bkfno=187218&ad_id=813
The mesh must be rigged in a wall well above head height in a ring around the hive. The top is open to let the bees fly out.

However, it could not really be left out in all weathers so would have to be rigged when required.
Mist netting may be suitable for what you want but you wont be able to buy it without a licence!!
Cheers
S
 

hedgerow pete 

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the way i would go is slightly more techno but better off for all,

i would have all the kids in a class room with an ob hive or you could try a camare and a live feed audio and video to some where else for the kids to be so as they ask questions you can show the video to suit there requests. or lastly i would invest in say 4 new small beek outfits and use a small group of four kids at a time.

the biggest problems you will by far is that dealing with minors you will have to do a risk and meathod statement for the schools you will visit, whilst these are very simple to do appling them is a lot harder
 

RoofTops 

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Stiffy, you are right and when I originally drafted the post I said something along the same lines but then I found they were available on the internet - but I didn't check the fine print near the bottom of the NHBS page!

But they are available on a well known auction site and I suspect the sellers may not be so picky...
 

Dishmop 

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Would it be an idea to put viewers into a protective netted box ,top and sides, with a long protective entrance into the viewing area.
Thats what some kids need in supermarkets....

Somebody a few months ago posted some pics of a bee farm place in France(?) they had visited and everybody was just walking around between the hives...Quite a lot of people...
 

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