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Living next to chemicals


I would like to start keeping bees and have a question that should probably be answered before I get started. I live on six acres of land one of three homes on about twenty acres. On my property I have a tree lined stream, a koi pond, apple tress, willows, lilac bushes, grape vines (just four) and two blackberry bushes. Across the street from my property there is a field of about twenty acres that is kept as a nature preserve and we are surrounded by corn fields on even years and soybeans on odd years.

My neighbor is very meticulous with his yard and does use quite a bit of fertilizer and dandelion killer on his yard. I do not use any chemicals at all on my property. I have a location where I would like to put my hive which is a concrete pad where a large polebarn once stood. It is roughly 20x40 and sits about twenty feet from the property line of this neighbor.

Now I’ve seen plenty of bees in my yard over the years so I’m wondering given these conditions could I successfully maintain a hive? Will this chemical use be a concern for my hive?


I would imagine that it will affect your bees if your neighbor sprays during the day when the bees are out flying. If he has a lot of dandelions your bees will be on them and if they get on them soon after he sprays they will bring it back to the hive. It probably would be best to have a discussion with your neighbor. If he still intends to spray you could ask him if he could do it either early in the morning or late in the evening when the bees are in the hive and not flying. Do you think if you informed him that you were getting bees and that his chemical spraying could impact them? I would also talk to him about the positive impacts the bees will have on the flowers, trees, and other vegetation requiring pollination.


If you get on well with your neighbor, you could ask him to let you know when he is going to use chemicals, then you could choose to shut your bees in the hive for a day. If it was me, I would just put some hardware cloth (fine wire mesh) across the entrance. That way the bees can ventilate the hive to control temperature, but they can’t fly and gather herbicide with the nectar. They should be fine that way for 24 hours or so. Pesticides are more of a problem than herbicides, but I wouldn’t want Roundup or weedkiller in my honey - it is toxic to humans too.


Yeah there is no talking to this guy. I’ve seen him outside cutting blades of grass with scissors before. He is a freak about having weed free green grass. He hates that I go extra weeks without mowing and the sea of dandelion’s. I moved out of the burbs and housing developments for this exact reason.

So it sounds like starting a hive here would not be recommended.


What about if you offer him a free jar of honey from your hives, but if he doesn’t want to eat herbicides, he might want to tell you when he is using them? Might that work?? :smiling_imp:


Hi Greg, I think I would go ahead & get the bees. Your bees will cover a huge area, something like 50 sq. klms +. The good thing about how the bees work is they wont all be on your neighbors dandelions at the same time. The bees might be working something completely different while he is spraying anyway. Folks who keep bees in the “burbs” don’t really know what any of the hundreds of neighbors that the bees visit are spraying in their yards.


There are basically 3 types of chemicals that landowners uses:

  1. Herbicides - kills weeds and plants, not generally known to kill insects (though could be other long term effects)
  2. Fungicides - for moulds, mildews, and other fungi that affects plants - not known to be harmful to bees in the short term
  3. Insecticides - Neonicotinods and others - self explanatory, it kills bees. Corn producers may plant seed with embedded insecticide, the effects are not truly known but is not good in general for bees. No nectar but bees may collect pollen from the corn flower. Considering that corn only flowers for a short time, the rest of year your bees will probably be in peoples gardens and the nature reserve.


You’’ be fine: I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of corn, soybeans, and other evil farming practices yet my bees thrive. They should rename them neo-myth-otinoids lol. I watch my bees work the corn and soybeans each year.