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Thread: Neighbor Issues

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    raleigh, NC
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    Default Neighbor Issues

    I have installed water sources between me and my neighbors.
    I grant that it is a bit cold; but he is complaining because there are about two dozen bees on the sunnyside of his lawn about noon time during the day. It looks like they are feeding on his weeds, and he doesn't like it. He also complained about two dozen bees on his fence.
    any advice on how to appease the neighbors?
    I think once it gets warm and things start blooming there will be less of an issue; but he's worried about the problem now.

    Paul

  2. #2
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    Aug 2012
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    Portland, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    If he's worried about the bees now, warmer weather when 1000's are in his yard won't make the situation better. Be a good neighbor, talk to him, find out WHY he's worried. Try to educate him if you can. Reassure him you understand his concerns/fears. If that doesn't help, look for a new place to keep your bees. Irate neighbors can be a lot more trouble than you want and depending on your local laws, you may have to move them anyway. Better to relocate now before a flow starts than latter, if necessary.

    Hope all works out.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2013
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    Berlin, Germany
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    36

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by beeman2009 View Post
    If he's worried about the bees now, warmer weather when 1000's are in his yard won't make the situation better. Be a good neighbor, talk to him, find out WHY he's worried.
    Good point about talking to neighbor; also to find out how great his concern really is. Most of us end up doing a little looking the other way at times just to keep relationships good with neighbors. (Too bad barking/pooping dogs can't so easily be 'moved'.)

    And what are the local ordinances there concerning beekeeping?

    Also you don't mention how long you've kept bees there. Based on my own experience, I think a few bees are more noticeable early in the season -- here, at least nothing at all has been flying until this week. Once the air fills with flies, wasps, mosquitoes, etc., a few bees may not stand out so much. Then there is the question of what your neighbor is planting or letting grow -- plants that attract bees are going to do so, whether they are your bees or not. Of course, if they are your bees, then your neighbor will also benefit (honey, more pollination).

    Good luck.
    Kevin M. Pfeiffer -- Berlin, Germany

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    It's a fine line you have to walk with neighbors. I've seen it get real ugly with code enforcement officers issuing 30 day abatement notices. I don't know what ordinances you have there but I would give your neighbor some honey in a little gift bag and reassure him that you are keeping European Honey Bees. Give him some literature on EHB gentleness. This strategy has worked for me so far in very urban environments.

    As Beeman says, start working on a "Plan B" now and look for potential sites just in case.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Yes, some people think that all bees do is fly around looking for someone to sting. I moved home around 2 years ago and brought a few hives with me to be used as cell raisers. The neighbors had a few bees exploring around their house and were pretty worried, so I invited them over for a look. Chose a very small and very docile hive which I opened and showed them the combs, baby bees (larvae), the queen etc, and they were fascinated, also astonished how the bees showed none of the aggression they had been expecting. Now they are fine with the bees, and ask after them regularly, and I give them honey.

    Could all turn to custard if you tried it & they got stung though, if in doubt that might happen probably better not to attempt it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by KMP View Post
    And what are the local ordinances there concerning beekeeping?

    Also you don't mention how long you've kept bees there. Based on my own experience, I think a few bees are more noticeable early in the season --
    Good luck.
    I live in the county so there are no ordinances or homeowners associations so there is nothing he can really do to me other than peer pressure or rally all the neighbors against me that don't like bees in their yard (the neighbor on the other side of me is putting in a garden and really likes the bees).
    I am posting simply because I want to be a good neighbor,
    but I also want to keep my bees because they do alot for me, and for him.

    This my third (or fourth) year keeping bees so I am just getting to the point of knowing what I am doing.
    I had four hives last year; this year I have eight and I do not intend to get bigger (at least with this beeyard).
    The bees do like the clover on the sunny area and the sappy woodchips he put out, and yes they probably came from me; but there are other beekeepers within the migratory area and I am sure that I lost some swarms so there are other bees around, but the flight lines of my bees do generally go over his house.

    What I think is happenning is that it is cold there is not much blooming and there are weeds in his yard and on warm days the bees are feeding because it is the closest food source, only food source, and they don't want to forage far.
    There are no bees at all in my yard, but I maintained my yard and killed all my weeds off.
    In general, my (at least I think my) bees have been feeding on the weeds in his lawn.

    His exact complaint is that there are two or three dozen bees in his back yard (which I believe), there are some on the fence (which I believe, and I put out additional water sources to abate), one was in his seven year old shoe?, and they were coming in on the dogs (hard to believe), and one flew by while we were talking by his garage and he flipped out...so he's complaining that he feels that he can't use his driveway for the kids to play because I have bees flying around. When I talk to him by his garage at noon; bees do fly by and they do feed. He's worried its going to get worse when it gets warmer (which is a valid worry, but my hives are about as chock full of bees now as ever; I plan to split and sell soon to keep at 8)
    His complaint is that "He didn't buy a house" to have to maintain his yard, and not be able to enjoy the outside. He's got little kids so I am sure that they are like bee bee bee.

    You know how it goes; everybody loves the farmer; but not in my backyard.

    bottom line is that there is really nothing he can do to me; I am not going to be able to educate him; is there anything I can do to further abate it?
    I politely suggested that he kill some of his weeds and he got mad....
    Like I said; I just want to get along, and I do not want to cause any problems for him either.

    I have all the hives at least 50 feet off his property line; installed water sources, and I am feeding now as well. the only other thing I can suggest is a fence; but the bees will simply fly over the fence and settle on his weeds again?

    I actually have a place to move the hives; but maintaining an outlying beeyard is something I have been avoiding until I was ready to get up to 20 hives or so......I have eight, I manage them closely, and its been going well except for the neighbors!

  7. #7
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    Apr 2008
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    Leominster, MA USA
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    165

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    You need your own weeds! Your bees are trying to tell you

    Ramona

  8. #8
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    raleigh, NC
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramona View Post
    You need your own weeds! Your bees are trying to tell you

    Ramona

    ........hmmmm but then my neighbors wouldn't be perplexed, I have flowers blooming all over the place and I have more bumble bees floating around then honey bees

  9. #9
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    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Thumbs Up Re: Neighbor Issues

    Media has fed an irrational fear of honey bees. I don't have the answers but will share some things that have worked for me over the years, not in any particular order below. As all things in life, you are going to have to make your own way on this, you will figure out what to do....You may even make some mistakes.

    • While a neighbor is apprehensive of the bee at our feet or in their bird bath, reaching down and picking it up then letting it crawl on my hand usually changes the topic of conversation to how bees are not aggressive while foraging.
    • Is it possible for you to mow the weeds that draw the bees? If you keep the weeds from making seeds (by mowing) they won't be there next year if they are annuals.
    • I have sprayed my neighbor's grass when he was not home.....
    • Would your gardener neighbor have a spot that would ameliorate the situation, even a little bit?
    • Education is what your neighbor needs. I brought my neighbor kids over to my new apiary and showed them the hives, how they are assembled and talked about bees as long as they were interested to listen (their mother is a regular complainer about the bees).
      • That exposure has satisfied their curiosity and I don't see the kids around the hives, ever.

    • Sometimes I explain that there was a robust bee presence in the neighborhood long before the arrival of my bees.
    • At a bee club meeting I learned that there are nine hives a half mile away, now, every neighbor I have knows about those nine hives.
    • Some members here have built tall fences around their hives to keep the flight path as high as practical.
    • Honey is a peace maker!


    HTH

    I was lucky, and my neighbor paid $250 for two NUCs to live in my hives. He wants pollinators for his garden.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  10. #10
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I woudl ask him if he was born a spineless wuss or did he have to train for it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I woudl ask him if he was born a spineless wuss or did he have to train for it.

    I really have to get along.....and unfortunately what I see daily is a society of spineless wusses

    I want to abate the situation if at all possible, I do not need the conflict.

    What I saw was foraging bees....and not a freakish amount and his report was a couple of dozen, which again is not freakish.
    The two dozen are likely partially attibutable to me. However, I am aware of other beekeepers within a half mile as the crow flies from his house that he likely won't believe as a source.

    Now in response to the other post; I think to change anything; I'd have to get rid of everything and I'd say it would be a 50/50 that he would still have bees until the feral ones died out or the other beekeepers stopped.
    His lawn is really a mess (not that I care), and the bees fly in the area of his garbage cans that might be attracting them as well
    What I saw was bees feeding on his weeds where the heat of the day was hitting. Yes the bees were palpable; but not a swarm. I've seen the bees feeding on the clover in my yard; I killed the clover and they all went away. I never see any palpable bees anywhere on my property other then in the bee yard; but again I killed all the weeds. I can't deal with his problem unless I totally take over his lawn maintenance, and I am a bit uncomfortable with doing that on a whole number of levels.

    well I guess I am screwed.......

  12. #12
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by paul4168 View Post
    I really have to get along.....and unfortunately what I see daily is a society of spineless wusses
    Its sucks but yes we do have a society of splineless yellow bellies. You are not screwed. Getting along with neighbors can be very tough. I told more than 1 to get off my property in not such pleasant terms. I find it rude when the only time they want to talk to you is to complain about something you are doing.

    However to appease useless neighbors it is probably best to move your bees to an outyard. Hey maybe this is just the excuse you need to bump up to 20 colonies. Don't look at it as a pesky neighbor look at it as an opportunity to grow as a beekeeper.

    Have you ever offered that neighbor any free honey?

  13. #13
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I have a 3 word phrase for people like your neighbor but I won't say it here. There's a dozen bees in his yard, tell him to get over it or clean up his weeds that are attracting them. Tell him you put green dots on all your bees and to come find you when he sees one of them on his property.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by paul4168 View Post
    The two dozen are likely partially attibutable to me. However, I am aware of other beekeepers within a half mile as the crow flies from his house that he likely won't believe as a source.
    You should use the following and print out or show him a map of your location with a circle of 2 or 3 miles, and explain that bees from hives in that circle are apt to be in his yard.

    http://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    ...you could also simply move the bees when the neighbor isn't home. Set up a bunch of empty boxes (or 50), and on a day when the neighbor is out in his yard, put on a full bee suit, light your smoker, and "practice" your beekeeping technique. When the neighbor complains about your bees on his weeds, you show him that all of the equipment is empty...and that the bees he is seeing are not yours.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  16. #16
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    May 2011
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    Baden Wurtemburg Germany
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    I would make a "show of effort" so it looks like you have done everything you can.
    " but the flight lines of my bees do generally go over his house." Turn the hives so the entrances face a different way and use shrubs, fences or trees so they don't fly over his house. But most importantly so he can't see the hives.
    Bees go for the best source of nectar at any particular time, so plant a better source for early spring next year.
    Work on all the other neighbors so they know what a good guy you are, how much you've done to solve the problem, give them the whole song and dance about how bees are disappearing and how important they are. Then leave the spineless wuss alone, maybe with a parting shot, tell him the best remedy a for bee sting!

  17. #17
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Neighbor? What neighbor?

  18. #18
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    At one time I had about 30 hives on a 3/4 acre lot here at the house, I have neighbors fairly close on all sides, and I never had any complaints. Only thing is, when I get swarms off my hives they always choose to land in one or two trees on my one neighbors property year after year. The last time it happened they jokingly told me they wish they could transplant those two trees onto my property. Its nice to have understanding neighbors. John

  19. #19
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    raleigh, NC
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    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    Its sucks but yes we do have a society of splineless yellow bellies. You are not screwed. Getting along with neighbors can be very tough. I told more than 1 to get off my property in not such pleasant terms. I find it rude when the only time they want to talk to you is to complain about something you are doing.

    However to appease useless neighbors it is probably best to move your bees to an outyard. Hey maybe this is just the excuse you need to bump up to 20 colonies. Don't look at it as a pesky neighbor look at it as an opportunity to grow as a beekeeper.

    Have you ever offered that neighbor any free honey?
    yes i give free honey to the neighbors on each side; offer the fruit on my blueberries. I installed water sources i have the openings pointed away fro his house; just the mid day sun hangs on his side of the property. I installed another birdbath and water sources between the properties. I planted alot of plants to shielf things but anything takes three years to come in...for me to expand to a 20 hive operation using an outyard; I have to plan that out.....I'd like to get my money out of these hives in their current configuration this year....actually I have a positive attitude, I just don't want to be pissing people off.

  20. #20
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    May 2011
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    Gloucester County, New Jersey
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    208

    Default Re: Neighbor Issues

    Prove they are your bees and not some feral hive in the area.

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