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Thread: Neighbor Issues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Western Illinois
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    Default Neighbor Issues

    I am upset. Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I am. My neighbor, who has been a wonderful neighbor for the past couple of years (since we moved to our 36 acre farm), is having night terrors about bees swarming and stinging her and her two horses. She is upset that I had some bees swarm this spring (for which I captured). None went in her direction. But of course, they do visit her flowers and apple trees.

    She is allergic to bees. Really. She is in the process of getting desensitization injections. She carries her epi-pen. Her doctor keeps telling her that he is very concerned she is living next to a beekeeper.

    We live in the country. There is a housing area just north of us with 25 homes. It seems these 1-2 acre lots are in high demand all around here. Anyway, there are tons of bumblebees, native little black bees, wasps, hornet, and yes, honey bees. In fact, the apple orchard owner kept 25 hives of bees across the road (about a football field distance away). He moved them last year when he sold the orchard to us.

    This morning she called and wanted to know exactly where the hives where located. She said, "Now I can't build my barn where I wanted to." I said, "Why not?" Her respnse, "I'm afraid a swarm of bees will come into the barn.... my mother just told me about...." And you can imagine the colorful story of bees living in some church in Nebraska. Then she proceeded to state that her doctor was wondering if there were some regulations on where someone could put hives. Was there a population requirement? "There is a small community around here, you know." And then she mentioned, "I keep finding some bees in the cattle waterer. Where do your bees get their water?" I inform her, "There is a running creek right by them and a 1 acre pond 400 feet from them."

    In other words, she wants me to get rid of the bees. Of which I am upset. I not only enjoy them but have invested heavily in them. In the next 5 - 10 years I was hoping to have about 50 hives (not all here). I have a huge extractor, woodenware, and all the stuff. I don't have to tell you that these things cost money. But I also have enjoyed my relationship with my neighbor. It saddens me that her fear of being stung is affecting our friendship. I mentioned to her that she was much more likely to get stung by a wasp, yellow jacket or bumble than a honey bee. (I got stung by one of those little black bee creatures yesterday while weeding.... got down my pants...quite a funny picture of me jumping up and down with a hoe).

    What to do? I could move them to across the road. But you and I both know that will not change the population of the bees in the neighborhood. But maybe, "out of sight, out of mind"? I have never moved a hive, much less 13 with double and triple supers on them. Suggestions? Thanks for reading this long ranting. As always I sure appreciate your input.

    ~Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Boone, NC
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    39

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I empathize with you Chris. It sounds like your neighbor is being irrational and driven by fear and hype more than fact and reality. Bees are everywhere, whether in your hives or a hollow tree. Did she not see honeybees before you came around? Where is her house located in proximity to your hives? Seems like with 36 acres you could find some middle ground. Out of site, out of mind might just be the solution.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    2,496

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    That is tough. Of course, your neighbor has no right to force you to move them unless you are in violation of some ordinance. I find it very difficult to be reasonable with folks who are irrational. Perhaps living in the country is not a good choice for someone who is allergic. HOWEVER I have finally learned that it is better to get along with people than to fight with them, especially neighbors.

  4. #4
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    May 2009
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    nelsonville, ohio
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    403

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    build a fence between your bees and her. like you said out of sight out of mind. or buy her a bee suite. maby her fear is just lack of knowledge. try to get her in the bee yard with you.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    Whitesburg, KY
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    30

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I've not been a beekeeper for very long and I've only tried to catch a couple of swarms, but the amount of fear and misunderstanding I've heard this spring alone about bees swarming and what they'll do to you really blows my mind. People are really terrified and can't really tell you why. I have a couple hives in the backyard of a house the non-profit I work for owns and it's been great. But a few people did say "those bees are going to swarm in your room and sting you." Obviously not how it really goes. There is also a church that I'm about to do a trap out on. The bees are very high up in some concrete blocks and last week when we went to check out the situation the guy working at the church looked up at the hole they're using as an entrance, there were about 10 bees or so outside of the entrance, and he said "Man, they're swarming again, look at them!" They were about as calm as any bees I've ever seen.

    I just don't know how you educate people on the true meaning and attitude of a swarm. People have seen too many cartoons, too many movies, and too many false reports to go back. I just don't know, but it frustrates me.

  6. #6
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    May 2009
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    Frederick, MD
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by 11x View Post
    build a fence between your bees and her. like you said out of sight out of mind. or buy her a bee suite. maby her fear is just lack of knowledge. try to get her in the bee yard with you.
    I think that a fenced in bee yard is a good idea. I do have to absolutely disagree with trying to get her in your bee yard if she is in fact allergic to bees. You do not want to put yourself into a situation where you are then liable. If your neighbor gets stung on her property its almost impossible to prove who's bee it was. If she gets stung with you, on your property, next to your hives; it can just open up a whole new can of worms for you. Especially if your insurance company doesn't know you have bees on your property. I recommend that you find a middle ground with your neighbor, even if it involves moving your hives to a different part of your property. If I were you I would sit down with her and talk it out face to face. Over the phone is okay, but you seem more concerned if you take the time to meet with her. That will go a long way.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2008
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    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Be careful though - sometimes when you accommodate people's concerns - they sometimes go for the 'the mile' instead of being content with 'the inch'. You are within your rights to keep bees on your place (I am assuming that you are not violating any ordinances), you know that moving them is not going to affect their behavior/flight/etc., which means you can predict that there is at least a reasonable chance that after you move them, she will continue to complain that your efforts did nothing to alleviate her fears/concerns. That has the potential to turn into a never ending headache.

    If it were me, I would decide if she is the type of person who will see my efforts to accommodate her as a sincere effort to alleviate her concerns and be a good neighbor OR if she is the type of person who, no matter what I do, will not stop complaining until the bees are gone. Based on what I decided, I would act very differently in each case.

    Just my 2 cents

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    1,260

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    How long has she lived there? The previous owner had 25 hives, but across the road? Now she has a problem with bees? This does nothing to alieviate your problem but is shows what irrationality can do to an otherwise sane person. That swarm really freaked her out apparently. Considering she has apple trees and bee's travel up to 2 miles she's going run the risk of having bee's on her land no matter what you do.

    If I was you I'd build a visual barrier to keep the bee's out of site and out of mind. That's what apparently worked when they were across the road. Short term depending on how many hives you've got, at $3 a hay bale, I'd say $30 to $60 worth of bales will make a quick and easy wall as you drop in some evergreen trees or get a fence quote. You could also paint them in natural tones that don't stand out and scream "look at me... now freak out". I'd also do my best to keep swarming to a minimum and put some inocious looking swarm traps out to minimize the chance for swarms to land on her land. Make sure to give her honey every year, even from various harvests if she likes honey. If you have to move your hives wait for early spring otherwise you'll merely bust your hump. If you have to explain they are simply too big to move right now, as they truely are.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    Frisco Texas
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    163

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I agree with NDbeekeeper. What kind of person is she. If she is reasonable and can be educated I would work with her. I would tell her she is in no danger and leave it at that.
    In most cases, not all, but most peoples fears are not rational (sensible and capable of making rational judgments). Because of this they become driven by the fear and nothing else matters so it will not matter what you tell her.
    Tell her you have an all new kind of bee and that they are all fuzzy and cute and unable to sting. The all new Hyper-allergenic teddy bear/kitten bee from Al Gor

    Steve
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 07-08-2009 at 11:05 AM. Reason: profanity

  10. #10
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Slee View Post
    Tell her you have an all new kind of bee and that they are all fuzzy and cute and unable to sting. The all new Hyper-allergenic teddy bear/kitten bee from Al Gore
    LOL! I was drinking a soda while I was reading that! Thank you, I spit soda all over the monitor and had soda coming out of my nose! HAHA!

  11. #11
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    Jun 2009
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    knoxville, tn
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Can you still contact the former owner of you property, and if so ask him a few questions about her. If he had an apple orchard and 25 hives then things have not changed. You might make the suggestion that she kill all of her flowers and trees, that will lessen the chances of bees on her place, after all she is attracting them to her yard. If she is that allergic then she does not need to go outside in warm weather. She has cattle, just tell her you are terrified that her cattle will stampede and come through the fence and hurt your family and that she should sell them immediately. If there is a fence between you and her....eletric-complain you could get eletrocuted, barbed wire-complain you could get cut, woven wire-complain the bunnies can't get through. Fight fire with fire, just be as absurd as she is. Good neighbors are hard to come by, but the nuts are a dime a dozen. If we had to bow down to every little whim that someone came up with you might as well be living in a cardboard box, but then someone would complain about that also, do you know how many tree were cut down for that box. I would just go about my business and forget about her.

    I don't mean to sound so off the wall but I guess I have had my fill of nutty people around me. I go out of my way to help most people and be kind to them, I guess my heart is getting hard. Seems everybody is out to get what they can from you and then dump on top of you.

    Sorry for the little rant and did not mean to stray off topic.

    Out of sight out of mind, plant a hedge around them.

    G3

  12. #12
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    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    RIGHT ON G3!

  13. #13
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    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Thanks for your thoughts. I laughed so hard about the cute little fuzzy bees from Al Gore. Ha! Ha!

    Further clarification: She can not even see the bees from her property. There is a 20 - 40 foot row of trees, brush and other jungle-stuff on the edge of our property between hers and ours. Then there is a nice big field about 200 feet wide and then 10 acres of woods. I have them near the acres of woods so they are protected from our fierce winter winds and still have easy access to the prairie and flowers. She didn't even know where they were. She just knew I had bees. She knew some had swarmed becaused she sometimes reads my blog and I put a couple of pictures on it (tactical error).

    One thing I have realized (as many of you have said), fear makes rational people behave quite irrationally. But perhaps me moving them to the other side of the road in the spring time will help her feel that I am willing to accomodate. I'm just afraid that I'll move them (a big, heavy job) and it will not be enough.

    I already give her honey every harvest, strawberries and raspberries when in season, and sweet corn in August. I do try to be a good neighbor.

    ~Chris
    Last edited by Beacon Woods; 07-08-2009 at 01:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    Jul 2008
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    Spartanburg South Carolina
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    143

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I agree with all the other post on here but I think it might be best if you check the local ordinance for what they said and get a copy for the neighbor,and keep some on hand for next person

  15. #15
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    knoxville, tn
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I am glad you are trying to be a good neighbor, it really sounds like it.

    But if you start moving your hives it will never end.

    You say you have a blog about your bees that she reads, well there you go..........just post on there you are out of the honey bee business and had to sell out because of the neighbor that you loved so much, and how you have suffered a financial decline and the apple orchard is doing poorly. You think you are suffering mild depression from not being able to watch the bees and now will have to seek doctors advice and maybe meds for life. Maybe she is willing to kick in some money for the lost revenues you are and will be suffering.

    I know people like to blog to tell others what they are doing and are proud of their accomplishments, nothing wrong with that. But don't give the nut holding a gun on you more bullets.


    G3

  16. #16
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    Oct 2008
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    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
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    169

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by G3farms View Post
    I am glad you are trying to be a good neighbor, it really sounds like it.

    But if you start moving your hives it will never end.

    You say you have a blog about your bees that she reads, well there you go..........just post on there you are out of the honey bee business and had to sell out because of the neighbor that you loved so much, and how you have suffered a financial decline and the apple orchard is doing poorly. You think you are suffering mild depression from not being able to watch the bees and now will have to seek doctors advice and maybe meds for life. Maybe she is willing to kick in some money for the lost revenues you are and will be suffering.

    I know people like to blog to tell others what they are doing and are proud of their accomplishments, nothing wrong with that. But don't give the nut holding a gun on you more bullets.


    G3



    YEAH! YOU NAILED IT! When you live next to an idiot.......there is NO appeasing them. Stand your ground and exercise your right of land/home ownership.

    I am all for being as accomodating and respect conscious of my neighbors. Good neighbors watch out for and take care of one another. Selfish, backstabbing idiots DON'T fall into this category and you waste your time trying to work with them.
    Last edited by Live Oak; 07-08-2009 at 03:09 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
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    991

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Had a neighbor once who kept complaining about my bees being in his hummingbird feeder(bad drought)..I only keep 3-4 hives here for raising queens, however if he didnt complain about that it was sometning else. So I started building a fence(wire) in my front yard between us. He ask what I was going to do..I told him I was getting some donkies and guenies. (sp) HE hit the roof...we live on 9 acres he has 3...animals were specificially allowed. I told him if he didnt like donkies and guenies to move..he put his house up for sale...sold it and problem was solved!

  18. #18
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    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    This morning she called and wanted to know exactly where the hives where located
    All I am going to say is telling her this may be a mistake, people with this kind of fear may do unscrupulous things...like spray your hives. g/l with her.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  19. #19
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    Nov 2007
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    Barry, TX USA
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    862

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    It's difficult to be rational with irrational people. There was a thread on funny bee stories that gave me an idea. If you could move your hives secretly and then let your neighbor complain for a few months. Even keep empty hives in their place to fool her. Mislead her on your blog. Let her complain for a while and then explain to her that the bees she's been seeing for the last few months are feral bees and not yours. Tell her you don't want her to harrass you anymore and any further calls about bees will be referred to your legal counsel. You've just got to defend yourself. From what you've described I think this woman will haunt you until you put this to rest.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by NasalSponge View Post
    All I am going to say is telling her this may be a mistake, people with this kind of fear may do unscrupulous things...like spray your hives. g/l with her.
    I don't disagree with you in the least.

    On the contrary, I think it would be entirely appropriate to talk to this "neighbor" and find out what could be done to accomodate her and put her mind at ease while at the same time making it CRYSTAL clear the bees STAY. I can sympathize with and understand her fear of being stung especially if she is allergic to bee stings.

    Spraying the hives would be a HUGE mistake on the neighbor's part. The criminal and civil liability consequences would be enormous, especially if it could be proven she contaminated the honey and you consumed it.

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