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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, I have no ill will towards honeybees and have lived in harmony with them for years (except ones that moved into our house). I have 2 neighbors that keep bees and they probably have 30 to 40 boxes between them. They live about 200 yards down the road.

My problem started over 3 weeks ago when I setup a pool for our kids. It is a small above ground pool with a saltwater system, but I think my neighbor bees think I set it up just for them. At first it was only a handful and we tried to coexist. Every morning we would find a half dozen or so in the pool an skimmer, but none of the deaths were on our hands.

About a week after there started to be more and more bees and they tended to act slightly more aggressive. The kids wouldn't go near the pool and it was very annoying for my wife and I to skim or vacuum it. At this point we started shooting them with soapy water. We were killing about 50 a day, and while annoying it was manageable.

This week has been terrible. They are all over the pool. We shoot them with soapy water and I have started just knocking them into the pool and sweeping them into the skimmer which holds them down and kills them. Between the 25 to 50 each morning we find that have committed suicide and the hundreds a day we are killing it is getting to be more of a pain than anything. It is unmanageable at times and the pool is unusual.

I don't really want to kill all these bees, but it ridiculous and beyond being just a nuisance. I have informed one of the keepers and will try to get in touch with the other this weekend, but I'm looking for suggestions. If I or they cannot put a stop to this hostile takeover, the Terro Ant Poison is coming out in mass and in a few weeks I'm certain colonies will collapse. I had to use Terro to wipe out a colony 14 years ago that took up residence in our floor joist. Local beekeepers at that time wanted to charge about $400 to collect them and the Boric Acid in the Terro was quite effective on the bees and took less than 2 weeks to wipe the entire hive out.

Will I be able to repel and coexist with the local bees, or do I just need to eradicate the whole lot of them? Killing them one at a time, hundreds a day will never get the job done and is ridiculous. Hoping someone here has a better idea than us just poisoning entire hives with Ant Poison.
 

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I would talk to the neighbors and see if they can put some type of water source closer to the bees, bird bath, kiddy pool, etc. A friend of mine added vinegar to his neighbors pools and that helped his situation, but some people on here add vinegar to the bees food and they like it so not sure what else to do.
 

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This response is just to tide you over until the experts chime in.

Having just finished "bee school", this is one of the things we were warned about and asked to take responsibility for. Bees need water, and if a beekeeper next door to a swimming pool fails to provide water for his bees, what you are seeing is going to happen and it gives beekeeping a black eye. We were told to be sure we have an appropriate water supply close to our hives to discourage them from visiting the pool.

It may be that one of your beekeeping neighbors is not doing this. Contact them in a friendly manner and explain your problem. If they need to supply water, the fix is simple. But this is also "swarm season." Overcrowded hives make a new queen, then half the colony leaves looking for a new home. If one of their hive swarmed, it may have settled in close to you, and does not have water. Any good beekeeper hates seeing bees go to waste like this. If there is a swarm established near you, there are usually beekeepers expert at and eager to capture them. Your beekeeping neighbors either do this or likely know someone who does. Some local beekeeping organizations have response networks set up for just this purpose. So have a friendly chat with both beekeepers and see if they won't point you in the right direction.

If you can manage to follow these bees back to their source, it would be useful, but that's harder to do than spotting a "Golden Snitch." Bees are smaller and harder to see.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Golden_Snitch
 

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bees like salt and various other minerals and they love water. You have set up the ideal bee watering system. as the neighbors had their bees before you got the pool i would suggest switching to a chlorine based sanitizer. a properly balanced chlorine based system is off-putting to bees.
 

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Contact the people you know keep bees they will probably work hard to help you.

You should know that it will be hard to prove that the bees they keep are the bees that are visiting your pool. "Allowing" bees to visit a neighbors is not a crime. Poisoning their bees intentionally ( which is a crime) and it will be fairly easy for them to prove, easier with this post.

If you decide to play hardball, good luck it could get far uglier than you can imagine .
 

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There not just after the water, it is the salt as well. If it is not one of your neighbors bees, one of them will be happy to track them down.
If you think the bees are making your outdoors unpleasant, start a battle with the neighbors. Talk to them or show them what you are facing.
 

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First, I have no ill will towards honeybees and have lived in harmony with them for years (except ones that moved into our house). I have 2 neighbors that keep bees and they probably have 30 to 40 boxes between them. They live about 200 yards down the road.

My problem started over 3 weeks ago when I setup a pool for our kids. It is a small above ground pool with a saltwater system, but I think my neighbor bees think I set it up just for them. At first it was only a handful and we tried to coexist. Every morning we would find a half dozen or so in the pool an skimmer, but none of the deaths were on our hands.

About a week after there started to be more and more bees and they tended to act slightly more aggressive. The kids wouldn't go near the pool and it was very annoying for my wife and I to skim or vacuum it. At this point we started shooting them with soapy water. We were killing about 50 a day, and while annoying it was manageable.

This week has been terrible. They are all over the pool. We shoot them with soapy water and I have started just knocking them into the pool and sweeping them into the skimmer which holds them down and kills them. Between the 25 to 50 each morning we find that have committed suicide and the hundreds a day we are killing it is getting to be more of a pain than anything. It is unmanageable at times and the pool is unusual.

I don't really want to kill all these bees, but it ridiculous and beyond being just a nuisance. I have informed one of the keepers and will try to get in touch with the other this weekend, but I'm looking for suggestions. If I or they cannot put a stop to this hostile takeover, the Terro Ant Poison is coming out in mass and in a few weeks I'm certain colonies will collapse. I had to use Terro to wipe out a colony 14 years ago that took up residence in our floor joist. Local beekeepers at that time wanted to charge about $400 to collect them and the Boric Acid in the Terro was quite effective on the bees and took less than 2 weeks to wipe the entire hive out.

Will I be able to repel and coexist with the local bees, or do I just need to eradicate the whole lot of them? Killing them one at a time, hundreds a day will never get the job done and is ridiculous. Hoping someone here has a better idea than us just poisoning entire hives with Ant Poison.
Hmm... pretty sure that putting poison on other peoples hives is going to be illegal and hopefully you get whatever punishment is warranted for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the responses. As I have mentioned I have already talked to one and haven't seen the other yet. Hoping to see him this weekend. I'll even thank those of you for the somewhat ugly sounding replies. BTW, setting out poison is not a crime. I'm not aware of any laws in NC against killing honey bees.

Lol, did someone seriously say I can't have a pool and enjoy it because someone else had bees. Is that the mindset of this site? If so have the admin delete my account. I'm sure my neighbors are not as irresponsible or ugly to think like that.

My wife is the only one that got stung so far, but my kids are too afraid to go near it. Changing it to chemicals is not in the cards. I'm not looking for added expenses of constant chemicals, testing and fighting algae. I've already invested in the saltwater system.

Thanks again for the constructive replies.
 

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I understand your problem. I have bees and a pool they are about 25 yards from each other. The bees were using the top of the winter cover for their water source until this past weekend when I took it off. I also have a birdbath 5 yards from the hive that they ignored. What I am doing is as soon as I took the winter cover off I put about a 2ft dia. shallow container filled with gravel and water on the side of the pool where they mostly congregated to drink and very slowly about 2ft every 2 hrs or when I think about it, move it towards the hives and birdbath.. I'm halfway there and have no bees at my pool and they are using that container exclusively. You may have to put a winter type cover over your pool for a few days to get this done but it is doable. You also may have to add salt to that water in the container. on a side not my pool is a chlorine pool. I'm sure any decent neighbor/beekeeper for that matter would be willing to help out and understand your situation.. Hope this helps.
 

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Jake, I'm betting it's 100% the neighbors bees going after water that close, he needs to talk to them and make sure they've set up water for their bees, if they haven't, they're out of compliance and need too. Gibson, you may have to cover up the pool for a few days to get the bees to seek water elsewhere. It will be a constant struggle though, but keeping it covered when not in use is your best option.
 

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As your pool has become somewhat unusable, how about this? Drain it for a few days and let the bees find some other source (they must, & will).

This spring my bees found an over turned grass catcher, from my John Deere mower, was collecting rain water. They were using it by the dozens at a time - more and more every day.

I didn't mind until the location became a bit too much "in the way", so I drained it and moved it about 20' closer to the hives. I set up a jug of water to keep the basin wet. That was 2 weeks ago, and they are still refusing to use the same catcher in the new location. They obviously found another source. I'll admit, I'm a bit disappointed that they don't like my "moved" offering, but they are a bit unpredictable in that way. They appear to have begun using my wife's flower pot drain trays, way out front, though in far fewer numbers.

Bottom line - if you can drain your new pool, and leave it dry for a few days, they MIGHT (most likely) just find another source.

'Sorry for the inconvenience - 'just trying to help in a simple constructive way.
 

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Colobee, I don't know the size of S Gibosn's pool, but I doubt it is a kiddy pool. The cost of refilling a pool is not trivial, even a modest above-ground pool. If his is salt water, where to dump it?

If a cover is available, that's almost certainly preferable.

At the distance to the hives, I still suspect a feral colony closer to the pool. Bees may fly 200 yards to find water, but I'm not convinced they'd be aggressive defending a water supply so far away. A feral hive located closer might be agresssive. If so, finding and collecting it will be needed, and that sounds like a job for a friendly beekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Jake, first I think you are misrepresenting much of what I have said. Secondly I don't think you understand the severity of the problem by your rude "lazy...." comment. If it were as simple as skimming our a couple bees flying around it would be no issue. I would use poison only as a last resort, I thought I was clear on that (and no I wouldn't do anything as devious as some would imply like putting on camo going into someone yard and destroying their work). I tried to prequalified my statements by saying I have no problem or ill will towards bees. Perhaps I came of as callous or rude given this is a beekeeper site. If I did, my apologies, my frustration level is high. Heck with my 2 neighbors keeping and talking about them I have often thought of keeping them myself, but the wife isn't into it. Have a friend in Colfax that keeps them also.

You are correct in that these may not be my neighbors bees. Given the close proximity and direction they come and go I could make a great assumption. I have no issues with my neighbors, and have no problem with them keeping bees. I've been to both their homes. Had numerous dinners and outings with one set of them, and worked with the other. One is a good friend and the other I have always had a good associations with, so the impression that their would be some major neighborhood squabble or war is ridiculous. Although whenever I can get up with him, perhaps he will come by hang out and we can do some shooting. Target shooting! He was quite interested in some of the guns we were shooting one day and has yet to come down a shoot with us.

Again maybe I was less than clear in my original post. If so I apologize as my intentions were to get advice on what I might be able to do to deter them. I was hoping to get input from other beekeepers before bothering either neighbor. I don't think either have water out for their hives, so perhaps it is as simple as them just putting out water.

Thanks to those so far with some of the advice. Maybe there is no magic solution that will keep them away. We have tried the vinegar in a bucket, but they like the pool better. Soap seems to kill them and doesn't run them off. I can cover it at night, but the kids are up at 9 or 10 and ready to swim.

One quick question if I'm still welcome here. I assume bees go in at night, what time do they go in? I'd say the wife and I killed over 100 bees over 30 minutes this evening just to get it clear enough for the kids. We had to maintain the killing and probably killed an additional 30 or so until about 7:15 then there were only a few around and they were less aggressive. The bats come out about 7:30 and lightening bugs shortly thereafter.
 

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Soapy water absolutely kills bees. Millions were dispatched that way in that New Jersey truck wreck a few weeks back. Hopefully a better solution can be found.

Bees go home about sunset, and usually start sending out a few scouts around sunrise, with the foragers getting frisky around when the sun hits the hive entrance. They use the sun to navigate. You may occasionally find one hanging out overnight if their planning was bad, but probably not flying.

Somebody here mentioned using a sprinkler to quiet their bees during a backyard picnic. A fine water spray is harmless to them but may get them out of the area temporarily, and may even be fun for the kids.

If you are right and the bees don't have water at their apiaries, that's the simple fix. We use a small poultry waterer for ours, but there are a lot simple and affordable options. Like someone said above, ours has rocks in it for the bees to land on so they don't drown. Some minerals in the water are probably to their liking ... bees like "dirty water." They will fly 200 yards and more to find water but, being sensible little insects, will usually prefer a source close to home.

I don't know the NC beekeeping regulations. In WV where our hives are, providing water, and specifically providing water to keep bees from using neighborhood swimming pools, is a responsibility of beekeepers. I would not be surprised to find guidelines or rules to this effect in NC. In any case, this is standard "bee stewardship." If they give you an argument, tell 'em I said so. But there is no reason for much argument ... bees should be provided water near their hives if you want healthy bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Colobee, I wish I could, covering as was suggested it is a better option, but with the 90+ degree days, the pool will get uncovered and used. It took over 24 hours to fill off our well (with a few breaks for our pump and well to recover). Draining it is not really an option. I was surprised I got enough out of my well the first time. To have water delivered is several hundred dollars. I did 1 1/2 week of digging, filling, building walls and back filling to make a level enough spot for the pool so the spot is large and permanent. I spent more money on material to prepare the location for the pool, than for the pool saltwater system and supplies.

Thanks for the input.
 

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You are welcome here, much prefer people who are willing to talk, even if I do not like all of what they say. If the keepers do not have instant success please realize that bees do not obey.

Bees start and stop their days at different times in different hives. Roughly dusk.
 

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...My problem started over 3 weeks ago when I setup a pool for our kids. It is a small above ground pool with a saltwater system, but I think my neighbor bees think I set it up just for them.
Like I said - 'Just trying to be helpful.

As draining isn't an option, cover it. That will most likely work better (and simpler) than constant poisoning, trying to get ahold of the other beekeepers, finding the (possibly wild) culprit bees & removing them, or trying to set up another water source.

"The kids won't go near it.." says enough to me. 'Just trying to be helpful, based on decades of living peacefully WITH bees ;) Mine never would go near our kiddy pool.
 
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