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"The City has received several complaints that the bees you are keeping within the city limits of 'Town, State', are leaving your property and swarming the Senior Citizens housing area, as well as other areas within the city limits. As several of your neighbors and occupants of senior citizen housing are allergic to bee stings, your keeping of these bees has caused a great deal of alarm and the resulting complaints.

Under these circumstances, this letter is to inform you that you must immediately remove your bees from within the city limits of 'City, State', as well as to remind you that you may be held legally liable for any and all damages and harm the bees may cause.

Sincerely,
'City Attorney' "

I dunno what section this belongs in but the above is a quote of a letter that came today.
Although it seems unprofessionally written to me it would seem prudent not to ignore it. Question is, how do i go about responding with the most chance of success in keeping our bees? Does anyone have any ideas? Thank-you, JL.
 

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Swarming is not the correct term and very unprofessional or ignorant of a lawyer. These never go well you could respond with an offer to present your case before the city council and courts. They know they cannot prove they are your bees. It is doubtfull they can prove there are no wild bees in the area. Few people know the difference between bees and other insects anyway. I do not want to get your hopes too high because beekeepers usually lose to fear.
 

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I would ask to have a meeting with whom ever wrote the letter to you and whom ever is making the complaint at the site of the "swarming" bees.

It may be that the bees are yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, even sweat bees.................who knows!!

How many hives do you have and how big of a place are you keeping them in?

How close are you to these places?

I would also ask for specific laws that are on the books for this particular town or city.

Are your hives in plan view from the street? If so just move your active hives out and replace with empty hive boxes, just to see if they can tell the difference in the bees that are "swarming" every where.

That is just some questions to ponder upon.

Good luck with it.

G3
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
*There are six Warre and three Langstroth
*i am quite close. in my backyard
*our entire property is one half acre - the hives are just before the sixty by sixty foot garden at the back of the yard
*currently trying to find out any civil codes (which can be passed quickly i bet)
*Trying to get a visit with the Mayor at my house (small town) to reason with him and solicit his backing :)
 

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Hi Guys,

I would meet with the city. Determine what the problem is. And if any honeybees are responsible. Can the problem be solved?

If not, then get your bees out of there, whether it's your bees causing the problem or not. It's the right neighborly thing to do whether the bees are technically legal or not. It's the prudent thing to do because any bee problem, if you don't, will automatically be associated with you. And it's just a more pleasant experience taking a short drive to your beeyard in the country and having neighbors you can tolerate compared to a neighborhood war.

As beekeepers we love our bees. But to many others they're engender fear the same as poisonous snakes(i know people who like them as much as we like our bees), etc, would to some beekeepers. When commercial beekeeping, my son could jump from a standing position onto the back of a one ton flatbed when he heard those rattlers under a beehive rattle. :>)

Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if your neighbor were raising poisons snakes
and you found them in your garden, on your porch, in your house, in your pool.

Regards - Dennis
 

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Was this letter written on City Letterhead? If so, I would say move the bees. As stated earlier, it's the neighborly thing to do and in my way of thinking, it would be common courtesy to my neighbors. Not all people are overly joyous with honeybees, and their reasons sounded very sincere and very believable. It sounds just exactly what might happen to any neighbor of a beekeeper. If it is not on City Letterhead, I would investigate further, but be prepared to move the bees.
 

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I would guess, being a Missouri girl myself. That Shelbyville just has a lawyer figure head. Depending on your financial situation, call up an attorney, and present your case based on the honeybee being Missouris state insect. But be prepared for a little backlash.

Your bees are probabally on thier hummingbird feeders. But nine hives on one town lot, is a lot. more intimadating than anything though.
 

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I would move all the bees and put several empty hives with no bees in their place. Then when they come to make you move them I'd say, "what bees?". Obviously, then it's not your bees that are a problem. Come winter, move them back. :)
 

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Actually, it seems like there needs to be a lot more education in that town. So many people there are truly 'allergic' to bee stings? The percentage of people who are truly 'allergic' across the country is exceptionally low, why should the population concentration in your town be higher?

Perhaps there is a nature center or community organization that can help you disseminate information on the behavior of honey bees. Their 'field behavior' is different from their 'at home' behavior in terms of defensiveness.

It would be better to look at this as an opportunity to educate rather than a threat. Prepare a list as to why having honey bees in town, be they feral or managed, is a benefit. The risks of someone being stung by a honey bee whether it's one of yours or not is statistically so low that it's almost negligible.

Who will they complain to when a feral bee stings someone?

These folks definitely sound like they need some education. Without it, all they have is fear to go on.

Big Bear
 

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Nine bee hives very close to senior citizen housing and you didn't expect problems? Just wait for the next dearth when aunt Mable is outside drinking a soda.... Move the bees and be thankful you haven't gotten in trouble sooner.
 

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The 50 deaths per year from bee stings are generally in people aged 40 and older, many of whom have pre-existing heart conditions..........

Thats 50 deaths per YEAR on the average......They need, as BBO said, Edumacation........
 

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I had one booming hive, two splits and 6 hived packages at my place last month and even though most had relatively little in the way of bee population, there were still way too many bees for my little place with two nearby neighbors. Relocated the excess to outyards and may keep two, possibly three at home. Everyone's happy. Me, my neighbors and the bees.

I agree, keeping nine hives in a neighborhood as you described has pushed your luck. Find a good outyard for your excess follow Michael Bush's advice.

Wayne
 

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It comes down to the old saying out of site out of mind. Put up an enclosure, fence that blocks there view from the street or were ever they are being seen. I bet it is a close by neighbor who has the honey bees around there yard and can see your hives. They are frecked out by them. Perhaps some education in your defence on how gental honey bees really are, and the importance of there being. Good luck
 

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Are there any city ordinances in place that forbide you to have the bees in city limits? Probably not, but they probably have ordinances in place about public nuisance, and this one is what they would probably get you with. Personally., i would think more than 3 hives on your place, in your situation, would raise eyebrows. To many, wasps and bees are the same. And regardless if a swarm comes from your hives or other places, they want to point the finger at whatever is most visible. Place your hives behind privacy fences, in urban settings, and reduce your potential for problems. In the mean time, go meet with the city attorney, and listen to what he says, and then go see the problem that is being used against you. It could be yellow jackets or guinea wasps.
 

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Last year I built a 10x14 "barn" to obstensively house my larger yard equipment, and coincidently, my beehives. Lots of painted over windows for cross breeze, clear roofing, not heated. Full sun in the morning, under shade by mid afternoon. Same temp inside & out.

The hives are shoved up against the eastern side wall so I can work them from the back. There's a long slot in the wall that can be managed by 2x4s (think ginormous entrance reducer) as the number of hives (up to 4) increase. There's a stack of misc scrap lumber disguising the front entrances, and I can control the flight path by installing various barriers.

I do this because I have a neighbor who is a complete jerk and will never change. When I want to work the bees, I go into the barn, close the door, get on the gear and spend as much time as I need. I always give the girls a little "treat" for being patient, i.e. a nice plate of yummy sugar water in the far corner of the barn. This generally draws any strays so I can undress at the barn door & leave.

I originally built a chainlink fence the minute we bought the property, and then last year, ran 200+ feet of 6 foot wooden fence *inside* the chain link. Did I mention they're jerks over there?
 
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