A couple of weeks ago I got the call that I constantly dread. A call from one of the residents who live near where I keep my bees.
My bees are on land zoned agricultural, but there are homes around two sides of the perimeter of the pasture. I have been very proactive about doing everything possible to maintain good relations with the people around my beeyard. Many of the neighbors have my cell number. Also, the business that owns and is located on the land is obviously easy to contact by anyone in the area. They don’t give out my cell number, but they call me and pass along the caller’s number and I call them. I am also careful to follow all of the city ordinances in my town regarding the keeping of bees.
My bees are very visible near an intersection in our town so everyone knows they are there. People do get very stressed out about bees. The thing is, there are bees everywhere. But usually it’s a case of “out of sight out of mind”. When they can see my hives, people get very jumpy. If I had it to do over again I would probably place them somehow where they weren’t so visible. But they are where they are.
Anyway. So I get a call from a Bee Neighbor. He was understandably upset because bees were bothering some guests in his beautiful back yard that had clearly been designed for hospitality and entertaining. He expressed that he really didn’t think it was a good idea for me to have my bees where I have them which of course breaks my heart. I’ve gotten complaints before but no one has suggested that they would force the idea of moving the hives.
As I thought about the situation it occurred to me that I had just done a hive inspection a couple of hours before he called. In fact, one of the things I said to him was “Hmmmmm, I just did a hive inspection and everyone seemed fine….”. What I now suspect is that the girls got grouchy from me poking around in the hives and they were taking it out on my neighbor and his friends. So, I pondered solutions and came up with this. I decided that I would work with my neighbor to figure out when he would be entertaining in his yard so that I could time my inspections accordingly. This week, that looked like me doing hive inspections Monday morning before work. Traditional wisdom says that hive inspections are best done during the middle of the day when the most bees are out foraging. But, I have noticed recently that when I’m out checking my gardens in the morning there are plenty of bees in the cucumbers. So, morning inspection here we come!
Only time will tell if this will improve Bee Neighbor relations long term. I’ll let you know! I’d also love to know any tips you have used for good relations with your bees.