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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    54

    Default etiquette -- neighbor with an allergy

    I just got my first two hives, and found out my next door neighborhood has a serious allergy to bee stings. Her husband used to keep bees, so she knows all about them, and she has her own epi-pen. She wasn't angry that I had bees, but glad to know so she can be careful. The hives are on the other side of the yard from her house, so she won't be directly in their flight path, but she knows they have a wide radius they travel.

    I said I'd give her honey when we get some, and she liked that. Other than that, is there anything else I can do to be neighborly about this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default

    Mention allergy shots and desensitization, not because you want her to get them for your bees, but for herself.

    In fact, maybe you mention it to the husband, and he mentions it to her.

    Also, you can offer to get rid of the bees. Sounds like she would say no to that offer, but that would be the most neighborly thing to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,470

    Default

    You could also mention that foraging bees rarely sting, theirs no advantage to it. So she is more likely to get stung by a Yellowjacket or other type of wasp. Seems like her husband aught to have known that.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Hanover, MA, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default

    I agree with arthur. Offer get rid of them. Sh'ell say no but be prepared if she accepts. You can still keep bees somewhere else. Many people do.
    Your relationship withyour neighbor is the most important thing. Even if she doesn't put up a stink, you will feel 3 inches tall every tiime she sees you working your bees if you don't make that offer.
    Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rainier, OR
    Posts
    247

    Default

    My own neighbor disclosed his allergies when he found out I was keeping bees. Without telling him, I moved my colonies--and let him know the next time I saw him.

    To my surprise, he was disappointed--he'd been looking forward to the benefits to his garden. The bees are back now, and he's their biggest fan.

    Most people who are aware of a specific allergy are also realistically aware of the risks. I agree--offer to move the bees, chances are in your favor that the neighbor will a) protest the move and b) really appreciate your concern. Goes a long way.
    Pocket Meadow Farm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    edmonds, WA, USA
    Posts
    348

    Default

    be especially careful not to anger your bees. If your bees become mean, requeen immediately. consider requeening with a strain known for being extremely gentle. Dont increase your number of hives. Consider finding another location for your hives close by, and keep only nucs at your own place. Keep a water source in your yard so the bees dont search the neighbors yard for water. Keep your hives of equal size, reduce your entrances if the weather is not too hot and Feed your bees during the dearth so they dont become bothersome robbers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    Wow! It is refreshing to hear about good neighbors who are reasonable! Mostly we hear about the opposite...

    Sounds like you are on good terms with them. I agree that you could ask her how she feels about it, and offer to move them if she doesn't want them there, but it sounds like she is accepting that they are there. You'll see her husband around if you keep them, I'd guess....

    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    somerset county, nj
    Posts
    60

    Default

    personally, i would not offer to move them. the nice response to such an offer would be how nice of you to offer, but that won't be necessary, but are you prepared for her to say thank you, i really appreciate you getting rid of them?

    i mean, if you ARE prepared for that, and have easy access to a new location, that's one thing. but if not, i wouldn't be so quick to give up my own rights as a homeowner as a courtesy to someone else.

    i would take the position of education, good management practices (diligent swarm prevention, requeening aggressive colonies, etc) and offerings of honey at regular intervals.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pasco, Wa.
    Posts
    109

    Default

    We're on 1/2 acre residential type community. Most everyone has something unique...either a pole building, ATV's, a horse or something. We have a large garden. Great neighbors all around us, save for our left flank. They stay indoors, rarely venture out, don't take care of the property. 4 dogs, that stay indoors, and 3-4 cats they let run ferrel. Which means they use our garden for the toilet.

    Am I going to give them an opportunity for me to send my hobby elsewhere? I don't think so.

    Of course, I didn't provoke things. Rather, did what others have suggested....barriers to 3 sides of the hives, hive location reasonably away from both neighbors. Trying my best to keep them well maintained. Also, painted them nonthreatening easter colors....yellow and green. Someone else suggested background colors is a good choice as well.

    I did bring this up at a recent seminar. The instructor mentioned all the previously mentioned things to do, and to try to be neighborly. Then, lastly, he said that (in my state) as long as you're hives are registered, there's nothing they can do about it. Clearly not something you want to go that far, but reassurring, nonetheless.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    225

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by arjay View Post
    personally, i would not offer to move them.
    I couldn't agree more.

    "Your relationship with your neighbor is the most important thing."

    I couldn't disagree more.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Indian Valley, Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Default

    suggest she get some life insurance.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arundel, Maine USA
    Posts
    1,207

    Default

    I would not offer to move them. Make sure you keep a good source of water and plenty of flowers for them to keep busy on. Try to have something blooming all the time. Maybe this will keep them out of the neighbors yard. Sounds like you're doing everything else right...
    Let's BEE friends

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default

    here in Dallas, if there are enough complaints, you will be required to get your bees off your residence.

    Prevention is the best solution.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    225

    Default

    Thank God...here in Washington, if your hives are registered, you're good to go.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Center Valley, PA
    Posts
    2

    Default Keep the bees!

    It is very unlikely that your neighbor will be stung by one of your bees unless she plans to help you inspect or maintain the hives or harvest honey with you. Even then, a proper beekeeping suit would protect even the most allergic individual.

    It is your right to keep and maintain bees on your property as long as you follow your local laws. Here in Pennsylvania we are required to register with the state and be subject to periodic inspections. I believe this is more so for control and prevention of transmissible diseases, and really has nothing to do with safety or protection.

    In today's society, everyone is more than happy to point out their personal risk and how you may be subjecting them to fear or harm. It is more likely that your neighbor would be killed by a drunk driver or a handgun than die of anaphylaxis from a bee sting, especially if she is already aware of the condition and carries an epi pen.

    I would continue your hobby without fear, and would not look to please or placate your neighbor with any free gifts. You and your bees work hard for your honey - sell it at fair market value if you must.

    If I sound terse and conservative, it is because I am terse and conservative.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Thanks for all of your comments --

    I think with this lady, it's probably best not to offer to move the bees, at least at this time. She's pretty cool, but I think she sees herself as queen of the neighborhood. She's an original owner, has told us how our bushes (that we didn't plant, and are in the process of tearing out for our own purposes) bolt onto her property, how our trees make a mess of her yard (hers do ours, too), how our spruce tree is too tall (even though hers is taller). She also backed into our mailbox with her car the first day we moved in and didn't offer to replace it ("oh, it's untreated wood," she said, to make it not her fault), and had her snowplow guy dump snow all over one of our rose bushes that's right near the property line, accidentally, I think, but then never apologized when she saw me digging it out. So I don't want to open the door to her getting to tell us what's okay and not okay to do on our property. Also, I saw her out later on the day I talked to her doing yardwork in a tank top, so I guess she can't be too terribly freaked out. I tend to think she'll be just fine and not get stung, but I know how freaky an allergy can be (I have an on and off scary reaction to avacados), so if she were to even step or sit on a bee in her yard, it could be bad. But then, I could live a mile away and the same thing could happen.

    This is the kind of neighborhood where people share stuff, jams, cookies at Christmas, etc. and she actually brought up honey as a trade for birch syrup her husband gets out of his trees, so I think maybe we're on track in that department. I may tell her husband to tap our birch, too, and just give us a little sample.

    I think I may talk to her husband, if I get a chance, just to get his take on it. And play it by ear, with diplomacy but also my property rights in mind.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by martyred_cars; 04-25-2008 at 01:55 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    301

    Default

    Good luck. I hope I don't encounter an issue like that.

    My usually gentle bees will get more fierce and territorial when I feed them sugar syrup. So I am always careful not to do it when my neighbors are likely to be out on their back porch grilling dinner. I try to do it early in the morning.
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    piperton,Tennessee,usa
    Posts
    369

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lvhbugman View Post
    It is very unlikely that your neighbor will be stung by one of your bees unless she plans to help you inspect or maintain the hives or harvest honey with you. Even then, a proper beekeeping suit would protect even the most allergic individual.
    huh,
    I must not have a proper suit. :confused:

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