How to Separate Your Dogs from Your Beehive with an Invisible Fence
As a beekeeper, you know how dangerous bees can be. Your pet dogs, however, may not. Until they’ve experienced the pain of a sting, they’re unaware that it’s in their best interests to stay away from beehives. If you have both bees and dogs on your property, it’s necessary to separate them from each other, for everyone’s safety and happiness.
What’s the best way to keep your dogs away from your beehive? Chaining your dogs isn’t a good solution. It hinders their ability to exercise, and if they were to be attacked by a swarm, they would be unable to run away. A traditional fence can be used to enclose your beehive, but it would block your own access to and view of it. Not to mention, if your dogs like to dig or jump, a traditional fence may be inadequate for separating them from your beehive.
In some instances suburban beekeepers may opt to place a barrier in the form of a fence covered with vines in front of the hive to force the bees to have a higher flying path when leaving the hive. The barriers however do very little to keep loyal and curious dogs away.
An invisible dog fence is an alternate solution, and many beekeepers find that it’s an excellent way to create a “bee only” zone that their dogs can’t access. Let’s explore some of the pros, cons, and details to keep in mind for installing your own electric dog fence.
It is important to note that the radio signals emitted by either a wireless or wired dog fence do not interfere with the health of the hive. Depending on how your hives are set up you can opt for a wired perimeter dog fence or alternatively a wireless fence.
Pros of an Invisible Fence
One of the biggest advantages of a DIY electric fence is that you can fully customize the areas where your dogs are and aren’t allowed. Invisible fences allow you to maximize their space because they are not rigid and do not block anyone else’s movements beyond the boundaries. Your electric dog fence could be installed around your beehive, preventing your dogs from crossing the perimeter you determine.
If you want to contain your dogs in your yard, most systems allow you to add exclusion zones, which is perfect for beehives. For example, you can install the fence around the perimeter of your entire property, and then you can add an exclusion zone that protects your beehive. Exclusion zone systems are often disguised as rocks, and they project a smaller perimeter so that you dog can be protected from any hazardous areas of the yard, such as ponds. Some underground dog fence systems can enclose up to 100 acres of land, and exclusion zones generally cover a circular area of up to 16 feet in diameter.
Cons of an Invisible Fence
Unfortunately, an underground dog fence and e-collar system will only prevent your trained dogs from getting close to your beehive. It will not stop other animals. If other animals are a problem, you may need to install a traditional fence, too. Very stubborn dogs and digging dogs often can’t be contained by traditional fences alone, but almost all dogs will respond to an electric fence system after they’ve been trained. Invisible fence training takes about 15 minutes per day for two weeks. If you don’t have the time to devote to consistent training, which is essential, then an invisible dog fence might not be for you.
Invisible Fence Cost
Lots of beekeepers choose to install a DIY electric fence because it can save them a lot of money. When you compare a traditional fence with the invisible fence cost, you can save more than 80 percent. The most recommended electronic dog fence, the PetSafe YardMax, costs less than $300. Since most beekeepers are experienced do-it-yourselfers, they often choose to install their own electronic dog fence, saving the $1200 fee a professional would charge. Even people with no experience can install their own invisible fence as a weekend project.
Because an underground dog fence is protected from the elements, there are rarely any maintenance costs associated with using the system. If you choose a system with an e-collar that does not have a rechargeable battery, you can expect to pay about $30-40 per year on replacement batteries. Many beekeepers are worried about the cost of running a system, but a DIY electric fence will only raise your electric bill about $1-2 per month.
Choosing an Electric Dog Fence
Before you choose an electronic dog fence, it’s important to note the features that are most important to you. Different systems have different capacities, so if you have a large ranch or farm, you will need a system designed for acreage. Most systems have a capacity of at least 10 acres, though. There are also wireless systems, which are easier to install but slightly more expensive. The best wireless dog fence only contains up to 0.75 acres; however, that may be more than enough if you only wish to enclose your beehive.Online reviews and electronic dog fence comparison charts are excellent resources for selecting your system.
Other Uses for an Electric Fence
If your beehive is part of your farm or homestead, you may find even more uses for your invisible fence system on your property. You can expand the perimeter to keep your dogs out of your gardens, for example, or use them to separate your dogs from other livestock or chickens. If you have Exclusion zones can even be used indoors to block your dogs from entering certain rooms in your home. The versatility of an underground dog fence allows you to control your dogs’ movements without physically restraining them or caging them.
As a beekeeper and a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to keep all of the creatures you care for safe. Sometimes, separating animals is the only way to ensure everyone can coexist peacefully.
There have been too many pet dogs killed by beestings that could’ve been prevented if they were kept at a greater distance from the hive. If you do decide to install a DIY electric fence to enclose your beehive, be sure follow all installation and training instructions carefully to ensure success.
Published in partnership with www.dogfencediy.com. We encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section. Commenters and those who share the post in social media qualify for a drawing of a $50 Amazon gift card!