Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: doodlemor on December 08, 2012, 11:11:34 PM

Title: Bee Keeping Etiquette Update p. 25
Post by: doodlemor on December 08, 2012, 11:11:34 PM
There was an article in the Buffalo News today about a woman in a nearby suburb who wants to keep a beehive in her yard.

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121207/CITYANDREGION/121209258/1003

She wants to do this because it is good for the environment.  She already has a hive in a vacation home that she owns in a rural area, so she does have some bee-keeping experience.  She feels that she knows the proper bee keeping procedures and that her new residents would not bother the neighbors.

Two years ago bee lady sent the neighbors a letter that she intended to put a hive in her back yard.  She backed down then when some of the neighbors protested.

There is going to be a public hearing about her request to keep bees in her village.  One neighbor has already told the woman that she is extremely allergic to bee stings.

What do you think about this, ehellions?  At least one person [the allergic neighbor] is likely very opposed to having a hive nearby.   

Is the neighbor justified in protesting what the bee lady can do in her own yard, even if the village board approves the hive?

Even if the hive is approved, should the bee lady go ahead with her idea when some/one of her neighbors is very concerned about having more bees in the area?

I think that the basic etiquette questions here could be extended to those who want to keep chickens and goats in populated areas, too. 





Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Phoebelion on December 09, 2012, 06:15:31 AM
I have mixed feelings on this one.

As long as the city allows it, the woman has the right.

But then, DH is also extremely allergic to bee stings - any kind of sting actually.  He carries an epie pen.  He's so bad he's been told he has 20 minutes to get to the hospital even with the epipen.  No more camping for us.  And certain bushes/flowers have been removed from our yard. 

I'd say it would be the degree of the allergy - maybe.  And how far the woman lives from her - maybe.   

If the city allows it, I think she should get the neighbors together and educate them on bees.  While they may have a wide flight range, I believe they are less volitile than other stinging insects. 

I honestly don't know what we'd do if a neighbor kept bees.   
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: veryfluffy on December 09, 2012, 06:24:39 AM
As long as something is legal, and the person follows the rules and best practice on their own property, I don't think it crosses into the bounds of etiquette. Bees, perhaps, do spread out of the owner's yard -- but if you are allergic then it is up to you not to have anything in your garden that will attract them.

Otherwise, how far does this extend? Bees can range over quite a wide area, so what if the neighbour three doors down has them? Should your next-door neighbour on the other side cut down their apple tree to make sure the bees don't fly past your yard to get there?
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: camlan on December 09, 2012, 08:29:05 AM
I have really mixed feelings about this. I know someone who keeps bees at his vacation house, and no one has ever been stung there. But the hives are a distance from the house, and there's plenty of vegetation all around, flowers, strawberry bushes, grasses, etc.

It seems a little Special Snowflaky to me to want a second hive when she can have all the bee hives she wants at her vacation home. Why does she need to have one at her other home? And if it is a typical suburban environment, the bees may have to search longer distances to find pollen.

On the other hand, bees will set up a hive anywhere they want to. So there could be a hive on your property or your neighbor's and you'd have no warning about it, until you came face to face with a bee. It's not like she's introducing a danger that could only be present if a person introduced it--bees can live just about anywhere.

What it comes down to, for me, is that she can have as many bee hives as she wants at her vacation home. Therefore, I think she should be content with them, and not try to introduce a hive into an area where she knows at least one person is very allergic to bees.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: DollyPond on December 09, 2012, 08:40:18 AM
But you just KNOW that as soon as Allergic Lady gets stung (by anything, be it a bee or a wasp) she'll be blaming BeeKeeper and wanting to sue.  If BeeKeeper had not informed the neighbors all would probably be well.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: DollyPond on December 09, 2012, 08:43:49 AM
Quote
I think that the basic etiquette questions here could be extended to those who want to keep chickens and goats in populated areas, too. 

One place where I lived (definitely not completely rural) said I was allowed to keep up to 4 chickens.  I lived in an apartment.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Dazi on December 09, 2012, 09:06:00 AM
I'm severely allergic to bees and I carry an epi pen and a back up one in case the first one fails.

Personally, as long as it is legal in her area, it wouldn't bother me. 

Bees can be anywhere and live just about anywhere.  In an suburban neighborhood environment, the best thing for anyone with severe bee allergies is to remove bee attractive plants from their yard, carry an epi pen at all times and be aware of their surroundings.  Even if bee keeper lady doesn't put in her hive, it is almost guaranteed that there are already bees in the area.  Bees rarely sting unless they feel threatened or are stepped on/swatted at.

A HS friend of mines parents kept honey bees on their property.  Never in all the years I knew him, did I ever get stung on their property...and I got fantastic fresh, unprocessed honey. I've only ever gotten stung by accidentally disturbing a hive when I was a child...it was in a fallen log and my foot went through it as I went over it, swatting at one that flew past my face several years later and a repeat of the swatting a few years after that.  After learning how not to appear aggressive to bees from HS friend, I haven't been stung in 17 years.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: buvezdevin on December 09, 2012, 09:11:33 AM
My next door neighbors kept a hive, and my concern was whether or not they were knowledgable - they also kept a rooster, whole 'nother story.  My neighborhood is considered "in town" *now*, but  prior to any housing development in the 50's it was zoned to allow livestock, and that zoning has not been changed, perhaps in part due to a small, but commercial equestrian center nearby.

If neighbors are taking care of whatever activities they are legally allowed to pursue, and they don't present significant risk, or intrusion of enjoyment of other's property - good, though noting that zoning allowances don't always keep up with changes in the general character and use of any area.

In the linked case, I, too have mixed feelings.  I agree that bee-keeping, by knowledgable and diligent folks is usually an environmental plus, and folks with allergies or other like considerations for naturally occurring elements of the environment need to manage a risk that can be present with or without someone's purposeful introduction of bees or the like.  But, if I had such an allergy, I would also pursue legal means to limit the addition of risk to me, in the present case by attending any hearings and requesting that bee-keeping not be allowed.  If a governing body chooses to allow it, I would seek to meet with any bee-keeping neighbor to see what, if any, considerations could be made, regarding hive location and care, and work to understand particulars of bee-keeping and how to mitigate my own risk.

I can't help but wonder how "butterfly poop" lady would address the matter.

Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: MorgnsGrl on December 09, 2012, 09:17:58 AM
But then, DH is also extremely allergic to bee stings - any kind of sting actually.  He carries an epie pen.  He's so bad he's been told he has 20 minutes to get to the hospital even with the epipen.

Slightly OT, but just so you know, that is totally typical protocol for anyone with an allergy to insect venom; it's not necessarily an indication of how severe your DH's allergy is. Multiple (consecutive) epipens can buy you more time, depending on his allergy and overall health, so if you worry a lot about it, definitely ask the doctor some more questions.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Soprych on December 09, 2012, 01:39:18 PM
But then, DH is also extremely allergic to bee stings - any kind of sting actually.  He carries an epie pen.  He's so bad he's been told he has 20 minutes to get to the hospital even with the epipen.

Slightly OT, but just so you know, that is totally typical protocol for anyone with an allergy to insect venom; it's not necessarily an indication of how severe your DH's allergy is. Multiple (consecutive) epipens can buy you more time, depending on his allergy and overall health, so if you worry a lot about it, definitely ask the doctor some more questions.

This is what we have been told too.  We live in a relatively remote rural area.  DD has one epi-pen for every 15 minutes we live from a 24 hour hospital.  So four.  When she wanted to do to camp we were given a script for additional epi-pens. 
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: magicdomino on December 09, 2012, 01:54:30 PM
As Dazi pointed out, there are bees and wasps everywhere.  Honeybees are actually less likely to sting, and will sting only once because the stinger is pulled out of the bee.  Wasps -- including my personal nemesis, the yellow jacket -- tend to be more aggressive in the first place, and will sting multiple times if given a chance.  I haven't been stung by a honeybee in over 30 years, although yellow jackets get me every few years.

I'm mildly allergic to stings, but would still welcome a neighbor's hives as long as they weren't placed close to somewhere I regularly work like the vegetable garden.  My suburban area has few honeybees, and there aren't enough native bees during late summer to fertilize the squashes and beans.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Deetee on December 09, 2012, 02:16:10 PM
As other have said, Bees are unlikely to sting anyone. They are not like wasps that hunt down scraps of food and picnics and therefore interact with people a lot more. i have been stung by wasps multiple times. If I was stung by a bee, it was over 30 years ago. (And I did have a summertime neighbour with a beehive)

Bees also go for the flowers and will lead other bees to the flowers so they keep to a fairly defined area. So you can discourage bees by not planting their favorite flowers or just staying away from the flowers. (The most likely time for a bee sting is picking a flower with a bee near or on it). I love bees and they are at risl in my area so I plant bushes that bees and butterflies like.

To answer the question, if a person with an allergy had an adjacent backyard (and especially if they were a small child and/or really enjoyed the backyard, I think it would be most polite to not put up the beehive. It sound like the woman didn't need to ask for permission so that may have been what she was checking for. But if it's legal, it is not up to anyone with allergy in a 2 block radius to veto it.

For example, I do love bees and while I plant bushes for them, I wouldn't put in a beehive (for several reasons) but partly because I back right onto a park/tennis court/soccer field and could envision a lot of collisions.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: HorseFreak on December 09, 2012, 02:21:01 PM
I was visiting a zoo a couple years ago (Atlanta maybe?) and they had flowering vines running all along the trellis over the ticket counter at the entrance with hundreds of bees flying around. They didn't bother a single person while we were there and I doubt they would leave that up if the bees were stinging left and right.

For the record, I'm terrified of bees and wasps and have never been stung.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 09, 2012, 03:02:59 PM
She's perfectly welcome to keep bees on her property, just as I'm perfectly welcome to put insecticide on mine.  If her bees stay in her yard, there's no problem   8)
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 09, 2012, 03:17:11 PM
If there is nothing in the town by-laws to prevent bee keeper lady from having a hive in her yard, then she is welcome to do so.  Allergic neighbour, as a PP suggested, then has an obligation to maintain a yard that doesn't attract bees.  The comparison to chickens and goats is a good one but many municipalities pass by-laws which make their keeping illegal.

I live in a suburban type neighbourhood.  To my knowledge, none of my neighbours have bee hives in their yards.  And yet, because I have a lot of flowering plants, my yard is full of bees every summer.  I'm out there gardening all the time and I've never been stung.  They are especially fond of my lavender.   :)
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Deetee on December 09, 2012, 03:21:22 PM
She's perfectly welcome to keep bees on her property, just as I'm perfectly welcome to put insecticide on mine.  If her bees stay in her yard, there's no problem   8)

Not always true. If you lived in my town, you would require a permit to apply any sort of pesticide (insect, weeds, rodents) to any sort of growing part of your lawn.

Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: MindsEye on December 10, 2012, 09:55:14 AM
I agree with a lot of posters that if beekeeping is permitted where the lady in the linked story lives, then she should be able to freely have a hive in her backyard (with all caveats about following best practices and being a responsible beekeeper etc etc). 

Honestly, I think that the only mistake that she made was in soliciting feedback from her neighbors first, which gave the neighbors the impression that they could veto her plans.

In my neighborhood, the zoning allows for backyard beekeeping (1 hive only).  The zoning also allows for up to three chickens, but no roosters, and has some general guidelines for coop construction/maintenance.

If I wanted to have a hive or a couple of chickens, I wouldn't bother asking my neighbors their opinion first.  What if they said that they didn't want me to have a hive/coop?  Then if I went ahead with my plans anyway, relations would be soured.

Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: rashea on December 10, 2012, 10:01:32 AM
I think the neighbor might actually want to rethink this. Having kept honeybees in the area can actually reduce the number of feral bees, or other stinging insects. And because they are gentle, this might result in a decrease in stinging.

I do think that if you keep bees in an urban or semi-urban environment it's important to take steps to limit exposure to neighbors. This means pointing the hive entrance away from common pathways, putting in a fence or bush that will encourage the bees to go up (they are generally above head level after 10 feet). Making sure you provide water so they aren't at the pool next door looking for a drink. And educating the locals about bees. (Sending around jars of honey doesn't hurt).

Bees will range far and wide, sometimes as much as 3 miles to find flowers. So it almost doesn't matter where the hive is, the poor little creatures travel. Oddly, beekeeping in a suburban neighborhood might result in more honey than in a rural area, because the concentration of flowers is often higher.

Then again, if she's only getting a few quarts, she's a pretty low-key beekeeper. The hives near me average about 40 lbs a year. Oh, and I spent a summer apprenticing at the local apiary to learn before I get my beehive up and running this year. I wasn't stung once. And that's with having to actually handle the bees. I'm even at a point where I don't wear gloves unless it's honey harvest time. Bees are much gentler than I ever realized, it's that they look a lot like other things and they get a bad rep.

A tip for anyone who carries an epi-pen, carry an anti-histamine too. It will help dampen the reaction significantly. I'm allergic to spider bites (probably only one kind, but they can't test it) and I carry both. It was the anti-histamine that saved my life.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: camlan on December 10, 2012, 10:07:57 AM
I agree with a lot of posters that if beekeeping is permitted where the lady in the linked story lives, then she should be able to freely have a hive in her backyard (with all caveats about following best practices and being a responsible beekeeper etc etc). 

Honestly, I think that the only mistake that she made was in soliciting feedback from her neighbors first, which gave the neighbors the impression that they could veto her plans.

In my neighborhood, the zoning allows for backyard beekeeping (1 hive only).  The zoning also allows for up to three chickens, but no roosters, and has some general guidelines for coop construction/maintenance.

If I wanted to have a hive or a couple of chickens, I wouldn't bother asking my neighbors their opinion first.  What if they said that they didn't want me to have a hive/coop?  Then if I went ahead with my plans anyway, relations would be soured.

If I read the article correctly, while bee hives are legal in the area, you still have to get permission to have one, and you have to notify all neighbors within a certain radius.

Which I interpret as, bee hives are legal, but you have to get permission for one, and if there are serious enough reasons why the neighbors don't want one, you might not get permission.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 10, 2012, 10:45:48 AM
She's perfectly welcome to keep bees on her property, just as I'm perfectly welcome to put insecticide on mine.  If her bees stay in her yard, there's no problem   8)

Without getting too much into the details, In some communities it is illegal to kill honeybees or spray any kind of pesticides on plants that honeybees pollinate.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Winterlight on December 10, 2012, 10:47:16 AM
It's legal, so as long as she handles her bees properly I don't see a problem.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: rashea on December 10, 2012, 12:45:01 PM
I agree with a lot of posters that if beekeeping is permitted where the lady in the linked story lives, then she should be able to freely have a hive in her backyard (with all caveats about following best practices and being a responsible beekeeper etc etc). 

Honestly, I think that the only mistake that she made was in soliciting feedback from her neighbors first, which gave the neighbors the impression that they could veto her plans.

In my neighborhood, the zoning allows for backyard beekeeping (1 hive only).  The zoning also allows for up to three chickens, but no roosters, and has some general guidelines for coop construction/maintenance.

If I wanted to have a hive or a couple of chickens, I wouldn't bother asking my neighbors their opinion first.  What if they said that they didn't want me to have a hive/coop?  Then if I went ahead with my plans anyway, relations would be soured.

If I read the article correctly, while bee hives are legal in the area, you still have to get permission to have one, and you have to notify all neighbors within a certain radius.

Which I interpret as, bee hives are legal, but you have to get permission for one, and if there are serious enough reasons why the neighbors don't want one, you might not get permission.

Not necessarily. In my area, you have to register your hives with the state, and they do inspections from time to time. This is because they are concerned about the bees and their health. Right now, we don't have heavy varroea mite infestations, and we're trying to keep it that way. By forcing people to register their hives it lets the state keep an eye out for the bees health.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: nutraxfornerves on December 10, 2012, 01:24:37 PM
Where I live, you may keep 2 hives, but they have to be 25 feet (7.6 m) away from a road and 15 feet (4.5 m) away from the neighbors' property.

I took a serious college course in bee biology and I am actually certified to be a government bee inspector, although I only did it once. I was meeting with a bee inspector on an unrelated issue and, knowing my interest in bees, he invited me to go out with him after our meeting. He rounded up a bee suit for me, but when we got to the site, we realized that we'd forgotten boots, so I just wore my street shoes. I had just started smoking a hive, when I looked up & there he was, snapping away with his camera. The pictures looked pretty much like this:
(http://www.motherearthnews.com/uploadedImages/articles/issues/1999-02-01/172-052-01.jpg)

Just replace the boots with bright red high heels.

The picture was shared with many & haunted me for years.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: doodlemor on December 10, 2012, 02:04:23 PM
Thanks guys, for all of the responses.  It never occurred to me that so many of you knew so much about bees, or were so interested. 

I still haven't sorted out exactly how I think on the topic. 

The village board meeting is tonight, and I presume that the newspaper will have a follow up article either tomorrow or Wednesday.  I'll keep you posted.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: 2littlemonkeys on December 10, 2012, 02:19:16 PM
I'm severely allergic to honeybee stings and as long as she follows rules set by the village, I would not have a problem with it. Honeybees are (usually) not aggressive and I was only stung because I was running around the backyard barefoot and stepped on one.  We have flowering vines on our back fence that the bees are very fond of and I am able to use my backyard without any problems.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: doodlemor on December 21, 2012, 03:37:59 PM
Update:

None of the opponents of the bee hive showed up at the town board meeting, and the bee lady gets to have her hive.  About five people spoke up in favor of the hive.  Here is a link:

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121211/CITYANDREGION/121219875

The bee lady says that she is going to set up the new hive in April by ordering a pound of bees, about 10, 000.  I had no idea that bees are sold by the pound!

Again, thanks to all who responded.  I certainly learned a lot from you all.
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette Update p. 25
Post by: Phoebelion on December 21, 2012, 05:24:34 PM
MorgnsGrl  and others.  Thanks for the additional info about multiple epie pens.  Docs never said anything about that.  Will get script for additional pens at his March doc visit.   Heaving sigh of relief. 

Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette Update p. 25
Post by: Erich L-ster on December 21, 2012, 05:51:08 PM
I'm glad the hive is going to go up. The only times I've been stung by honey bees were my own fault for walking barefoot and not seeing them in the clover. I stepped on them accidentally so I "attacked" first. I've touched them with my hands on flowers and in my experience they don't sting unless you trap or hurt them.

Wasps, on the other hand, will sting repeatedly without provocation AND don't provide any honey! Little @#$%ers!
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: Minmom3 on December 21, 2012, 09:17:30 PM
*** clipped ***
I've only ever gotten stung by accidentally disturbing a hive when I was a child...it was in a fallen log and my foot went through it as I went over it,

I was running down a very steep hillside at age 5, and my foot slipped under a board/log/branch/woodenthingIdon'tknow - and I kicked the hive.  Racing home, the swarm followed us, and I got more than 100 stings.  I've gotten maybe 5 stings in all the decades since (I'm 57), and I'm used to puffing bees off of me, with no bad reaction on their part.  I think the only frightening bee incident I've had as an adult was when a bee got stuck in DD#3's hair, and was flying around trying to get away, and she was screaming (10 years old?) and I had to pull the bee out of her hair, trying HARD not to get stung, figure out what body part I had hold of, and get the thing OUT...  Much drama! Bees don't generally bother me, but wasps do make me nervous.  They have shorter tempers!
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette
Post by: snowdragon on December 22, 2012, 12:28:27 AM
Update:

None of the opponents of the bee hive showed up at the town board meeting, and the bee lady gets to have her hive.  About five people spoke up in favor of the hive.  Here is a link:

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121211/CITYANDREGION/121219875

The bee lady says that she is going to set up the new hive in April by ordering a pound of bees, about 10, 000.  I had no idea that bees are sold by the pound!

Again, thanks to all who responded.  I certainly learned a lot from you all.

This is literally in my backyard. I went to the Village Board meeting on it - just in case she needed back up that this is wanted. I am allergic to bees, also. I have no issue with her having this many bees close to my house,  in fact I welcome them...they are good for the environment( and hopefully she will sell honey at the village market). 
  Historically, even the Village of Lancaster has been considered rural, and with in my lifetime sheep were farmed with in walking distance of where she wants these bees. There was very little chance she would not get approval, very little. Even the woman who is allergic would not have stopped this, unless she took it to court - even then it would be a tough fight.
  I am thrilled that this is going ahead, for more reasons than are appropriate to talk about here.  I do think that Lancaster will see more such ventures soon.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Bee Keeping Etiquette Update p. 25
Post by: VorFemme on December 22, 2012, 02:13:59 PM
The first time I remember being stung it was a bee - and I was six and stepped on the poor thing.

Since then - I would swear that it was wasps, yellow jackets, or hornets (I can't blame the nest of hornets that I ran over with a lawn mower for getting upset - I do blame VorGuy for not noticing the nest earlier when he was clearing pine cones, twigs, and such off the yard before I mowed).  I ended up in the ER with a LOT of stings (narcotic pain killer for the rest of the day) and he got chewed out for making me shower & change clothes before taking me to the ER (his mother is Felix Unger's twin sister and used to refuse to leave the house unless everything was "proper" - at 59, he still doesn't quite get the concept of "emergency room" meaning that things are not expected to be "proper").

His mother has gotten slightly better about not being perfectly put together before being seen - but at 78, she may figure that it takes a lot longer than it used to!