I'm a beginning beekeeper and I need some advice about hive placement. If you live in a big city/urban area, where can you keep hives? Are there specific people to talk to about storing your hives?
I have a tiny yard and live in a community of tightly placed houses. And no, there is no "roof-space" to put hives. My mother, who is one of the folks out there highly allergic to bee stings, is really pushing me to find alternative locations - that is, not around the house - for the 2 hives I'm getting this Spring.
I live in Southeastern NC - Wilmington, NC - and am looking forward to hearing your suggestions.
You may want to check with your local town /city government. There may be ordinances that prohibit honey bees or require certain set backs to be met. After you do the checking you can weigh the pros and cons of getting caught or people finding the bees and filing a complaint. This is just one side of things to consider.
I live in the city and keep 3 beehives in a half acre back yard. I am moving in 2 weeks to a yard one third that size. I erect a 6 foot stockade fence around the hives to get the bees up over peoples heads and to keep the hives out of sight.
It has worked excellent and I have had no problems, The only person stung by my bees was me, 5 times in a year. My first year at that.
Hopefully you town does not restrict beekeeping.
Welcome to Beesource and good luck with your bees. You will find a wealth of information here on Beesource and the people are very nice:thumbsup:
I thought about placing a hive in my back yard. My concern was about the mosquito spraying that my city does. They come by in big trucks and spray crap all over the place. They tell us to go inside the house and keep all pets inside while they are spraying. I guess they are worried about the whole west nile thing. I don't know what it is they are spraying, but I'll wager that it's not vitamins! Can't do the bees any good.
Grimbee's got it. I've kept as many as 8 or ten colonies (temporarily) on our quarter-acre Main street yard. Make sure they have to fly UP and over some sort of barrier and folks'll never know they're there. Or at least point the entrances so they're not crossing human pathways (especially public ones like a sidewalk) for 15 or 20 feet. Also be sure to educate your neighbors in a non-confrontational way. Unlike your mother, many folks who are not truly allergic think that they are, and they are convinced that they're as good as six feet under if you put a beehive in the neighborhood. For example "well last time I got stung my whole arm swelled up and my doctor told me that I'm deathly allergic" when that's actually a normal reaction. Add a little hyperbolic memory of the pain and swelling, and you'll understand it's scary for non bee-lovers when they get stung! Here in CO our extension office's entymology dept. publishes some good info about stinging insects, noting that 9 of 10 stings in the state are due to yellowjackets alone (honeybees are a part of the other 10%, shared with other wasps and hornets, bumblebees, etc).
Also HIGHLY recommended (and fun) from my experience: spend time with your colonies! When my neighbors see me sitting unprotected, pint glass in hand, feet propped on the hive stands watching entrance activity, they feel a lot more comfortable coming up and asking questions about bees when they see I'm not getting stung. If you can work your colonies in street clothes and a veil, ideally without gloves and even in short sleeves, that's a lot more comfort-inducing than looking like you're fresh from the Chernobyl clean-up crew which makes bees seem scary.
And a jar of honey with some lip balm for Christmas goes a long ways too.
If all that fails and you truly need an outyard, try community gardens if the security's all right (vandals are the biggest problem for outyards generally). I have had GREAT luck advertising on Craigslist for hosts: one of my best outyards' hosts built a bear fence at their expense, just begs me for more hives, and are the nicest folks you'd ever meet. I do offer honey rent and free mentoring of course. Another good relationship was found through a local farm and ag newsletter's classifieds; the bulletin is put out by the local extension office.
Between a Craigslist ad and that small farm bulletin, I still have a file of probably 25 good sites that I will likely never need to use, and almost twice that many more that just wouldn't have worked out for one reason or another. Now's a great time to develop relationships with colony hosts, with all the publicity of CCD in the news and the bee movies that are out. Lots of people are interested in hosting bees but not necessarily in keeping bees. I just Google map their location to get an idea of forage opportunities and you'll be amazed what great spots people offer!
The first consideration is for the people nearby. I have 5 hives in the backyard with houses close by, but I talked to neighbors beforehand and there have never been any problems. On the other hand, if one had said they were highly allergic to bee stings (have to carry an epi-pen) I wouldn't have even considered my yard as a location. My hives are on a hill, so the yard by the house isn't in the flight path, but we get stung a few times a year stepping on bees barefoot, just a minor inconvenience if you aren't allergic. If your mother is highly allergic, find another location.
Hi all! I live in a very urban environment and I'm going to keep a few in my backyard. It's fenced all the way around, but I have about 10 more I need my first outyard for. I was using google earth to find suitable looking places to find to knock on doors to get persmission, but Craigslist sounds easier...they can come to ME! Can you share what your craigslist add looks like...and what section you post it in?
Originally Posted by Ben Brewcat
thanks!! This might solve my problem.
I'm with Berkshire Bee. Your mother is highly allergic. I assume that means that she has a reaction, a real reaction to a bee sting. I also assume that she lives there. If that's the case, I wouldn't increase the odds of her getting stung by adding hives to a small property. While we often discuss the fact that you can get stung by any old bee, not just one of the bees from your colonies, the fact remains that you're introducing lots of them into a close area.
Beyond that, the advice as listed is good. Neighborly relations are important. Well kept hives that are reasonably disease free is important too. No need to display them so that all can see but I personally don't believe in absolute camo either because, at some point, folks will find out about the hives and it's pretty hard to say that you've cleverly disguised them just for fun. You'll basically have to fess up to worrying about what the neighbors will say if they found out....which will be what you'll be learning right about then.
Finally, be proactively considerate. In other words, think of your neighbors when you do anything. Place water supplies for your bees in an attempt to keep them out of surrounding swimming pools (which is tough sometimes). Manage to prevent swarming. Don't overtly prance around in your bee suit that we all think of as a tool but that non-beekeepers think of as proof that protection is needed against bugs that sting and kill. Not to say that you should hide it, but it's hard to convince a frightened neighbor that there's nothing to be concerned about while you're covered up from head to toe.
OK..I lied. One final, final thing. As much as I love the concept of introducing non-beekepers to a colony, don't do so until you're pretty comfortable out there yourself. And then, watch your visitor closely. I had a terrible experience when I took a swaggering visitor who swore that he was afraid of absolutely nothing, out to my hives a couple of years ago. He immediately took off his veil because he said that there was no need for it since the bees were so busy with gathering pollen and all. A second later, he got head butted and started swatting the air furiously. That brought a few of them in and he took one in the forehead. Made him run. He swelled something awful too. I won't bring him back but, if he had been my neighbor and had that male ego which so often causes problems, I would have had my work cut out for me.
I'm still hoping for some Craigslist advice :-)
I can't remember if it was in general or yard and garden; the latter I think. The title was something like "WANTED: hosts for honeybee colonies. Bees need your help!" and then I just said local beekeeper has honeybee colonies that need a good home. Varied flowers for forage within a couple miles preferred, need to be able to access the site to manage colonies. Colonies will be managed for gentleness and provide free pollination for the area. I will be available for questions and to help with any problems that come up. Apprenticeship, honey rent.
I probably went on a good bit more knowing myself but that's the gist. I had WAY more interest than colonies to place, and some sites were either not suitable or they only wanted one colony which makes it kind of a hassle to visit from an efficiency standpoint.
I actually did get some of these ads flagged and removed for some reason I never could find out, but in the couple days it was up I got more than I could handle.