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Honey bees and small children


#1

Hi all!
My neighbor harvest honey. He said he has anywhere between 15,000 to 18,000 honey bees. This is a suburban area outside of a major city. So homes are pretty close to each other. I would say his hive(s) are maybe at most 100ft from our backyard.

I have small children, my daughter has been stung multiple times, and my son and I have been stung once. Every time we step foot in our backyard we are followed by the bees. I am thinking because we do have a netted trampoline and a lot of the bees seem to die around it that they maybe they think we are attacking them.

So my question is; how do I keep my kids safe while still being able to enjoy our backyard? I don’t want to cause bad blood between my neighbor and I.


#2

Honey bees do not sting without a reason and provocation. Are you sure there isn’t a ground nest of yellow jackets in your yard? Many people confuse yellow jackets (wasp family) with honey bees.

Here is my daughter with a honey bee swarm. She actually ran her hands gently over them without issue.

I have 25 of my hives within 100’ of the house.


#3

Oh dear, it sounds like your neighbor has cranky bees. He/she probably needs to re-queen the hive. Matters could be made worse if the hive’s entrance is facing your yard or if the hive’s entrance is facing any of your lights. You need to make sure your children are wearing shoes while playing outside because there will be half dead bees laying around.

The netted trampoline is probably catching foraging bees that are coming or going from or to the hive.


#4

Is this a recent problem since he installed the hive or has it always been an issue? I have a hive in a suburban area but there hasnt been a significant increase in bees around due to my hive. My flowers were covered with bees before i set it up, and i still see plenty of bees not from my hive (different colouring) in my yard.

Normally a surburban bee keeper will have a bred queen bee from a more docile strain… it would be unusual for his bees to feel threatened by you so far from their hive. I can sit a yard in front of my hive without the bees taking an interest in me.

Do you know why they are coming to your back yard? Is it for water? I had an issue where my neighbours dog was stung a couple of times because the bees were using her drinking bowl.

Are they normally flying aggressively around you or is it normally a sting on the foot when they’ve been accidently trod on? If your lawn is covered in clover there’s a good chance of stepping on a bee.

The other thing that is worth considering is flight path. Bees from the hive will typically follow the same route from the hive. If the bee hive is near your boundary and facing it there is a chance their habit is to fly across your yard. This can be disrupted by your neighbour putting up an obstacle a couple of meters in front of the hive to force them to fly up above head height before they set off.

You should be able to resolve the situation amicably as it is definitely possible to have multiple hives in a suburban area without impacting the neighbours. We’ll do our best to help you out.


#5

Thank you so much for all your input. I really do appreciate how much people here are willing to help resolve the situation. There are many clovers in our backyard. So this makes sense due to my daughter being stung in the foot. But the honey bees seem to be coming aggressively at us. Even when we rush inside, they just are right on top of us. I asked my neighbor for some helpful tips and he said that I should just ignore them. They do not sting unless provoked. We got rid of the pool because I did notice there was much more bees when I had water around. I just want to find a happy resolution for the both of us.


#6

Thank you so much for responding. I do know the difference between yellow jackets and honey bees. I do have to say that he has had this hive for several years and we never have had an issue until this year. Twice during the summer, the entire hive was swarming in our backyard. Not sure if that useful information I am not sure if he is doing something differently.


#7

Your neighbor is not being very helpful by the sound of things. It’s hard to ignore bees when they are chasing you right up to the door. It sounds like the queen that followed after the last swarm has progeny with a bit of attitude. Your neighbor really needs to re-queen that hive if he has any consideration for you & your family as well as the other neighbors.

A good tip would be to keep the clover mowed. Plus keep shoes on the little ones feet.


#8

I’d agree with Jeff, if he’s had a swarm or two then the genetics in the hive will have changed and the current bees might have had a grumpy dad. It’s definitely worth asking if he’s considered requeening (it means killing the current queen and replacing it with one bought from a breeder) as it won’t cost him much ($30-40 where I am). I’m guessing you are in North America (based on using imperial) and so he may struggle to get a queen at this point in the season - the bees become much less active over the winter. So he might have to wait till the Spring to get hold of a new queen but you shouldn’t notice the bees around as much till then.

It’s also worth asking if he has a water source that his bees use. It took me ages to convince my bees to take from the water I gave them rather than the kids paddling pool or dog bowl.

He’d be welcome to join this conversation if he wants to talk it out more, he might be able to give more definitive information on how his hive is going and what the bees’ behaviour is like and so help you guys come to a good solution.


#9

I agree with all of the comments above. It sounds like your neighbor needs to requeen his hive, but he will not be able to do that until spring. If he refuses to listen to you, and you are in the US, most cities regulate urban beekeeping. You can ask your local city council how to make a comment, and the city may be able to “persuade” him to be responsible and responsive to neighbors’ concerns. Certainly my city has the ability to fine beekeepers or demand hives are moved if there is sufficient concern.


#10

Yes we do live in the U.S… And the bees swarmed our backyard twice this summer. My husband and I were talking and there was something mentioned about an obstacle for the bees? I am now starting to realize that maybe the reason for all this disturbance is because he just cut down most of his trees from his backyard. He is looking to move and is trying to make his home more presentable. I will definitely bring up the usueful information that has been given to me from this group and we can hopefully resolve the situation.

I joined this group to get a better understanding and you all have exceeded my expectations. Thank you so much for all your help.


#11

You’re most welcome. Lets just keep our fingers crossed that the property sells real soon. Problem solved.


#12

Don’t take to Dawn statement,it a small problem to work with, maybe he could use some help rather than the city involvement.
So much is needed in keeping bees and the benefits from bees for flower and fruiting trees. Hang in there and maybe joining two hives into one with a friendly queen in spirit.


#13

Yeah, just ignore me. After all, what do I know? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#14

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