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How to win over a reluctant spouse?


So my only location for the hive currently is my backyard, and to be perfectly honest I really don’t want it anywhere else. I like the idea of it in the backyard where I can enjoy the bees and benefit from the pollination in the garden.

However my mother-in-law, who is a wonderful lady, has run a pretty effective smear campaign on bees in general since my wife was a baby. She believes she is allergic, which no one really has any evidence of other then her saying she is… but that is another story. But suffice it to say that my wife is very reluctant to have the bees in the backyard, and links me to every single news story that pops up where people are attacked by bees.

I keep trying to assure her that I am getting a very docile variety of bees, that I had them in my backyard growing up as a child and never got stung so I actually have experience with what I am talking about, that those stories always revolve around people accidentally or intentionally disturbing or destroying the hive. etc etc etc.

She is excited about the benefits of the bees, the honey and pollen and increased yield in the garden. But can’t seem to get her to turn the corner from being afraid of them to at the very least being tolerant of them. She’s not “put her foot down” and forbid it all together (probably knows how well that would be with my stubborn head). She did attend the natural beekeeping conference with me to get some more information, so I know she is trying.

The bees arrive Sunday, so they will be here very soon. I am hoping when she sees that it is nothing to worry about that she will relax. But I know I am going to catch hell if anything or anyone gets even one sting which I know is inevitable eventually.

Anyway TL:DR; want my wife to like the bees and she’s scared of them. How do I get her on board?


Let time do it’s work. Put the hive out of regular pathways, so she can use the garden as before. Tell her the bees will most of the time leave the garden anyway and forage way out of your property. I fenced my hive in to protect it from my dog, who wants to catch them right from the entrance. Maybe you could do the same to avoid anyone get too close to the hive. Bees will only protect their home if really disturbed. Out in the field they don’t have the need to protect anything but themselves, so if you don’t attack them, they won’t attack you. Or the wife :wink:

Thank [insert any higher being you believe in] I’m single and can do whatever I want :yum:


Fortunately I am also the one with the green thumb. I am the only one who ever goes into the garden since I am also the one that cooks most of the time (I am a chef). So other then to just be outside or to clean up after the dogs I am really the only one who will be out in the general vicinity of the hive. I am putting up a fence around the garden and the hive today to hopefully do just what you describe.

It’s gotten so bad that she has at one time threatened to stop doing laundry because she would have to go onto the patio to get to the laundry room which would be approx 60’ from the hive and around the corner of the house… It’s hard to make a rational argument when someone is being irrational (as women are want to do on occasion ;))


I would start by fencing off the are where the bees are entirely so that you can’t see them from the garden.
The fear of stinging insects is really strong in some people and you might have to face the possibility of moving them anyway. I hate to say it but what is more important?
Your marriage or the bees?
Anyway…just a thought


Has she ever been tested by an internal medicine team with a special interest in allergies? If not, I would highly recommend that, because if she is not allergic, then it can lay that anxiety to rest. If she is allergic, then you can be better prepared.

If she is scared of the pain of a sting, I suppose there is not much you can do about that, except that for many people it seems that the more they get stung, the less they feel it on future occasions. I have even heard beekeepers celebrate their first sting of the season, because they feel that one is the worst, it just gets easier after that.

I know that you know this already, but facing the hive away from the garden would help too, so that the flight path of the bees isn’t directly towards the laundry area. You could make a deal with her too - try it for a year, if it is intolerable, find a way to move them. We have 2 hive locations, our back garden and a Community Garden some distance from our home. If we start getting grief from our neighbors, we can move our home hive out. If you have a Community Garden near you, it might be worth exploring whether they would be interested in hosting a hive.

Sorry that you are facing home resistance, hopefully it will work out once she tastes really fresh, pure honey.


Hmmm. Your mother-in-law, whom you are compelled to say is a wonderful lady despite running a smear campaign your wife’s entire life against bees thereby scarring her for life, claims an allergy to bees.

…All this with no evidence to back up said claims.

Sounds like having bees could prove to be more beneficial and/or enjoyable than you previously thought.


She very well could be, but no one ever remembers he having to go to the hospital and she doesn’t have an epi-pen or any other preventative measure. My theory is that she just had a bad painful reaction at some point that simply got self diagnosed into “allergic”. In every other way she is a great in-law though so I hesitate to complain too much. I would probably not make a very good therapist… I have very little patience for irrational fears that can be quickly and easily disproved with facts…


It is very easy to get a skin test or a RAST (blood test) done by an allergist, then you would know for sure. A 15 minute appointment to dispel a life-long myth might be totally worth it. :wink:


Yes I know it would be easy but I doubt I could convince her, but I will bring it up casually to see if I can. BTW here is pic of my hive, as you can see it is in the furthest corner of the yard pointing out of the yard into the alley behind… can’t get it any further from the house then this without removing it from the property…


Just show her my happy busy bees on a sunny day


My wife is not allergic but has the best histamine reaction to stings I have seen, really swells up and itchy. She is now really comfortable with the bees, even to the extent of sitting in the garden with them buzzing all around her. The only thing she won’t do is go closer than about 3 metres from the hive front but will walk up to the back of the hives to have a look.

Time has allowed her to see just how gentle these little bugs really are.

I see you are in Arizona, aee there any African genetics there? If so you may have to requeen regularly to keep them quiet.



Yes unfortunately almost all the bees in Arizona short of queens bred and brought in are Africanized. However the majority of bees are still peaceful, it is only a few outlayers that are the truly aggressive “killer bees”. I have had some local beekeepers say that Russians are nearly as aggressive as the africanized mongrels are. But if I have to I will definitely be requeening, not just for her but for our neighbors as well.


I think President Obama would agree with you… Oh wait, we are discussing bees, right? :joy:

  1. Buy one of those epi pen thingies you jab in . Wife may just like the insurance.

2 . Open up the windows on the flow hive and get wife looking at what’s going on.
The longer you stay there just talking and looking the better.
3. Get a couple of stools (wooden blocks are good) so you can sit on the side close enough to watch the hive entrance. Point out the little dramas that are always happening. Have a laugh at the nectar laden bee who crashes into the girl just sitting there fanning, the pollen sacks and so on. Again longer there the more relaxed wife will be.

Worked for me, (and I didn’t even buy the epi pen), but my bees are so docile and busy to be bothered with anything but the hive.


So I am performing a bit of an experiment. I snuck the package into the laundry room Sunday night, and installed them Monday morning after Jenny left for work. I haven’t reminded her that I was picking them up or installing them in a few weeks. My girls are coming this weekend so I will show them the bees in the hive, and more then likely surprise Jenny that she has been in a back yard “full of bees” for a whole week without even noticing they were there.


Very sneaky, I like it! We are doing the same with our neighbors! :smile:


Familiarity breeds contempt ; -) When she is used to them she won’t even think about them!


Good one :wink: