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Offline So-apiary

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What to say to neighbors
« on: August 29, 2020, 06:36:28 pm »
More newbee questions...  I live on a residential street in a rural area and would like to talk with my neighbors before I get bees next Spring so as to head off any problems or misconceptions.  I'm thinking of making up a flyer that hits the high points and has my phone number so they can call me if they have questions, comments, etc.  So this is what I've come up with so far:
  • Bees are coming in a few weeks. (I'll do this around the first of the year.)
  • Bee populations have been declining and need our help.
  • Bees pollinate flowers, fruits, and veggies, increasing yields.
  • Bees are gentle and won't sting if you don't flap around and upset them.
  • Unlike other stinging insects, bees die after stinging.
  • If you are allergic to bees, have first aid (EpiPen) available.
  • Pesticides kill bees, so call me if spraying so I can keep the bees in the hive.
  • My address and phone number

What would you add, remove, or change?  Have any of you talked to your neighbors before setting up hives?  If so, what kind of response did you get?  So far, I have very good relations with my neighbors and would like to keep it that way.  Any advice would be helpful and appreciated. Also, thanks for tolerating my ignorance about these things.

Offline amymcg

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2020, 06:45:46 pm »
I have never talked to any of my neighbors about my hives.  Most of them don?t even know they are there.  Make sure you have a water source, especially if any of your neighbors have pools or hot tubs.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2020, 06:52:44 pm »
Ms. SoApiary, I wished all neighbors were as considerate as you.  I can?t advise wether to provide flyers or not to.  Personally, if I received a flyer, I would think that was very thoughtful.  However I can easily see how some folks would cause issues.  Your intentions are good, but there are those that will take advantage of good will.  So, like I said, I can?t say go ahead with flyers: do or do not?

If you know your immediate neighbors, those are the folks to seek advise from and ask about flyers.  Best of all good things.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline .30WCF

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2020, 07:10:38 pm »
If they are mostly out of sight, they will be out of mind. You could talk to the immediate neighbors, but if you send out a flyer you could get blamed for every bee sting in the country. If the ones that will see the bulk of the traffic don?t mind, neither will the ones that don?t see the hives.


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Offline iddee

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2020, 09:20:31 pm »
Do with bees the same as you would a new dog or cat. Don't give the idea they are something dangerous or out of the ordinary. That will only cause you more trouble down the road.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline beesnweeds

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2020, 10:11:28 pm »
    Its amazing how many people think they are are allergic to honey bees, or a family member because they swelled up once when getting stung by a yellow jacket.  I can guarantee that a few of those flyers are going to reach people like that and are not going to be understanding.  Every species of stinging insect on their property will suddenly be blamed on you.
     Personally I would get the bees and keep a low profile, boxes blend easy into a backyard. Be careful with EpiPens, in New York state it is illegal to give anyone controlled medications.  You can actually kill someone if you don't know their medical background.  Unless you live next to big ag its very unlikely that any pesticides people in your area use will affect your hives.  Your bees will fly 2 to 3 miles radius to forage, 2 mile radius is a whopping 8000 acres!!  So don't even worry about pesticides its totally out of your control.  I found many folks today are careful what they use and how they apply it.  The only problem I see is if your local laws are not bee friendly.  You can ask beekeepers in local clubs.
   Get the bees and enjoy them!  At the end of the season you can hand out a few bottles of honey to your very close neighbors that you know well, that goes a long way.
Everyone loves a worker.... until its laying.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 08:50:03 am »
So,
I went around to all of my neighbors just as you are planning to do. All but the last one were great about it. The last one went totally nuts. He actually threatened to kill me if his wife got stung. He continued to threaten me and throw insults. After being friends for 20 years, this was 10 years ago, he still does not talk to me.
Don?t talk to the neighbors.
5 years after my dad talked to his next door neighbor, his neighbor asked him if he still planned on getting bees. My dad had 5 large hives on his roof the whole time. 
Just put the bees where they will not bee seen.
Jim Altmiller

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 10:43:10 am »
Jim, I don?t like to use foul words, so with that in mind, let me say sounds like you have a peach of a neighbor. 
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 10:57:19 am »
> Just put the bees where they will not bee seen.
Jim Altmiller

Good advice.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2020, 02:07:24 pm »
I have some hives in my urban backyard. Sometimes there is one hive, sometimes there are 10, as the seasons ebbs and flows.  The neighbours on each side of me know about them.  They get free honey.  No one else has been told or advertised to about it.   The best advice about having bees in your yard is don't tell anyone about them.  Most people like seeing honey bees in their yards and gardens. They do not need to know where they come from. As there is always the odd person who hates bees or has allergies, those persons will cause you problems.

To keep bees in your yard, there are a few requirements to ensure you follow.  Know them up front so you are well prepared.
- Know the law and bylaws about bees for your property. So if and when there are any conflicts, you know where you legitimately stand.
- Select a spot that is shielded from view and lookieloos.  Out of site, out of mind.  Garner least attention as possible.
- Most essential requirement is that you know what you are doing and apply best practices in beekeeping. That means, get in and manage the hives weekly. Ensure they are always queenrite and are healthy so they are well behaved. Ensure they have the space they need so they are not casting swarms into the neighbours eaves and trees. 
- Lastly, you have to have a plan at the ready to manage a bad or overwhelming situation. If a hive is bad behaved or is getting too massive to control (swarms period), you need to take action. Have a place arranged ahead of time that you can move the bees to within a few hours notice.  Also be mentally prepared to kill bees. If the bees get cranky, get them out of there before anyone tells you to.  In the case of a mean hive, you may have to terminate. Simplest method is to shake them off frames into a tub of warm soapy water. In the case of a large overwhelming hive, you will have to reduce population.  You can shake bees into a box and give away to other beekeepers in your club (which you have already joined, right?).  If you have no other out for reducing population, same method, shake a bunch of them into warm soapy water.

At the start you indicate you live in a rural community.  That's great.  You will have few, if any, neighbourly problems.  You will get more praises than anything else.  Same advice applies.  Don't tell anyone about them, know what you are doing, and manage them intently to ensure no problems ever develop. 

The measure of successful urban/rural beekeeping amongst neighbours is:   The day someone else has to come and talk to you about your bees; you have failed your bees and failed the beekeeper community.  Know what you are doing, bee diligent, and take action proactively if you are going to do this.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 02:18:26 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2020, 08:11:31 pm »
My bees were in my back yard 30 feet from a vacant lot.  I had only one hive at the time.

When a house was built on the land next door, bulldozers trashed trees, subcontractors hollered at each other, dump trucks piled thumping mountains of dirt, a bobcat ran compressing soil for days, and the clatter of nail guns and loud music from work crews went on for months.  Not one person was stung. 

When the house was built, there was a clear view of my beehive from the new home's DINING ROOM, BACK PORCH, and MASTER BEDROOM.  Still, the man who bought the house totally freaked out after he bought it, and called the State licensing. He harassed the Apiary Div. repeatedly, saying that I should not endanger his family with bees.

The bees are now out of his line of sight. The neighbor still harasses us.  He calls county code compliance (we're just fine). He's called police twice. Once was when a fence contractor stepped 10" onto his side of the property line during fence post installation.   Later, he called police when he thought we touched his water meter (it was ours, and he didn't bother to look at his bill to see if the meter # was his or not).  He reaches over the fence 3 feet and hacks at our plants. 

When he comes out to yell at us or pick a fight, we have to drop what we're doing and walk away.

Yep, a real peach.  I'm not sure that NOT having bees would make him less peachy.  But when you get a neighbor who is one, I agree with Jim that it doesn't end until they go away.  I suggest the course of discretion.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2020, 10:48:43 pm »
I have 6 other houses with a view into my backyard. There is no hiding my hives. but as HoneyPump and others have said...
1. Do not "warn" people when you get bees. They have plenty of wild bees and wasps already in their yard. Don't ever warn people about doing something you have the right to do. Just quietly and privately go about your own business.
2. Keep the hives maintained, inspected, and work to prevent crowding which leads to swarms.
3. Make sure they have water available all year.
4. Limit yourself to a few hives at first. (I have 3 in my 2nd year. Perhaps when I am a more seasoned beek...)

Offline Acebird

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2020, 09:28:23 am »

Just put the bees where they will not bee seen.
Jim Altmiller
Some would say don't even alert the authorities.  If you are allowed to have bees in your area you still may have some resistance.  Think of what you will do if you have to move them, just in case.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2020, 10:08:55 am »
One beekeeper In one of the clubs that I attend talked to his neighbors when he was thinking about getting bees. A few weeks later our bee Inspecter showed up at his door because one of those neighbors lodged a complaint about his bees being aggressive and his family was being stung.
The funny thing was that he still had not purchased his bees.
Some people just go nuts when they hear to word bees.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2020, 10:28:47 am »
Unless required by law, don't say anything before you get your bees.  It's an easy search to find stories of neighbors blaming every wasp sting and spider bite on your bees, even before you actually have them!.  They just aren't noticed unless you blab it all over ,and if you do blab it, you will probably get blamed.  Then a year or 3 later, when they do eventually find out, you may get a completely different reaction.   "Oh! Maybe that's why my raspberries have been producing so well"!

Keep them inconspicuous.  Even though my hives are visible from the sidewalk to those who would look, it never fails that when I take my annual Christmas gift of a 1/2 pint of honey to each of my nearest neighbors, at least one of them will say "Oh! I forgot that you have beehives".   6 years and not one sting or bite blamed on my bees.
Winter is coming.

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Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2020, 10:31:14 am »
Unless required by law, don't say anything before you get your bees.  It's an easy search to find stories of neighbors blaming every wasp sting and spider bite on your bees, even before you actually have them!.  They just aren't noticed unless you blab it all over ,and if you do blab it, you will probably get blamed.  OTOH, if you don't advertise, maybe a year or 3 later, when they do eventually find out, you may get a completely different reaction.   "Oh! Maybe that's why my raspberries have been producing so well"!

Keep them inconspicuous.  Even though my hives are visible from the sidewalk to those who would look, it never fails that when I take my annual Christmas gift of a 1/2 pint of honey to each of my nearest neighbors, at least one of them will say "Oh! I forgot that you have beehives".   6 years and not one sting or bite blamed on my bees.  and I live in a busy suburban neighborhood.
Winter is coming.

I can't say I hate the government, but I am proudly distrustful of them.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2020, 03:01:37 pm »
So-apiary,
All the above should give you the consistency of answers to your question.
- follow your laws and by-laws
- don't tell anyone
- don't bother trying to justify your decision to anyone
- you do you, within your rights
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2020, 01:55:28 am »
Never tell your neighbors you are getting bees.  You may as well tell them your uncle from alpha centuri is moving in with you.  They will picture millions of bees in their yard and that won't happen.  They will picture angry bees trying to sting everyone they encounter.  They simply cannot fathom what it will mean to them.  My neighbors have usually figured it out, but only after none of those scary things have happened...
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Offline 2Sox

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2020, 10:35:07 am »
All of the previous replies are great. I couldn?t add to a one. But I?d make a point that if there is a permit process for your town or city, get it completed and validated before you get your bees. I live in an outer ?borough? of NYC and make sure of that ever year.

I have a next door neighbor who complains about dead bees and seed casings from my feeders in his driveway. Nuff said.
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2020, 11:55:56 am »
Here is the link to the rules for Georgia:
http://agr.georgia.gov/honey-bees.aspx
If you follow these guidelines and someone complains to the state and they see you are following them, the state will usually back you up. Florida does.

Jim Altmiller

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2020, 12:07:29 pm »
Seed casings?  Bees? 😊
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline 2Sox

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2020, 09:12:23 am »
Seed casings?  Bees? 😊

Bird see feeders.
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline JurassicApiary

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2020, 12:35:07 pm »
I agree with many of the positions stated and recap the points I feel most important:

I would NOT advise your neighbors.
Keep up with inspections.
Have a water source.
Know the law for bees your areas; Follow the rules and you should be fine.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Offline Nock

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2020, 02:14:33 pm »
I wouldn?t say a thing. Also think about flight path.

Offline So-apiary

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2020, 08:16:05 pm »
Wow!  Huge thanks to everyone who replied!  I'm glad I asked about this before I naively went and blabbed my intentions all over the neighborhood.  'Nuf said, I'll keep my big mouth shut.  However, the street I live on has nothing but brand new houses with hardly a tree in sight anywhere, so my hives will definitely be visible to anyone who looks.  There's no camouflaging them since everything is out in the open here.  I'm just gonna hope that the average Joe won't recognize a horizontal hive, since that's what I'll be using, instead of the typical Langstroth.

I checked the state and local laws here a few weeks ago and was assured that raising bees won't present a problem as far as ordinances or laws go as long as I don't sell bee products from my home, which would then cross into regulations for home businesses.  I'm lucky that everyone I spoke with was very friendly and freely shared all the information they could come up with.  One fellow has really been great and has gone out of his way to find resources for me.  Just today, he emailed me about a virtual beekeeping class being held next week.  Of course I signed up for it.  I've had a hard time getting much response from local beekeeping clubs because of Covid.  I keep asking if anyone is willing to do some virtual classes or meetings, but most of them don't even answer my emails or calls.  So I was especially glad to hear about the virtual class.

I do realize the importance of being a responsible beekeeper and want to do my best at that, for myself, the bees, and my neighbors.  Thank you all for being so helpful.  It's probably obvious how much I don't know about all this, so I'm especially grateful that I can come here and get answers to my questions, no matter how goofy they may be.  I'd dearly love to find a mentor so I could maybe get some hands-on experience before setting up my hive, but... well... Covid.  Everyone has battened down the hatches, no in-person mentoring to be had.  So thanks again for helping me out with such great and thoughtful answers.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2020, 11:40:18 pm »
So,
Keep checking. Some clubs are doing mentoring. The one in Jacksonville is.
I recommend you put up a 6? by 6? fence around the hive to conseal it since there are no natural bushes.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2020, 12:05:05 am »
Another good point Mr Jim. There has been 17 posters from different levels of experience, which have unanimously expressed the idea of keeping your bee business to yourself with many good points made as well.   
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2020, 12:24:45 am »
> Thank you all for being so helpful.  It's probably obvious how much I don't know about all this, so I'm especially grateful that I can come here and get answers to my questions, no matter how goofy they may be.  I'd dearly love to find a mentor so I could maybe get some hands-on experience before setting up my hive, but... well... Covid

First of all you are very welcome. It was just as obvious how much I did not know 29 months ago when I started posting here. these nice folks are more than helpful, they are in my eyes, friends. No question is goofy so ask away! Let me assure you, there is not a question that you may have that has not been ask by others, as we are are all learning together, even the experts. I feel sure and safe in saying, even the experts learn something from time to time. You may or may not find a mentor for hands on experience but rest assured, you have many mentors here who are more than ready and willing to help you, a fellow beekeeper, especially a new beekeeper as yourself. We want you to succeed! Wishing you well So-apiary.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline JurassicApiary

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2020, 12:44:29 am »
With regards to local regulations, be mindful of placement of the hives with regard to property boundaries.  For example, in Honolulu County where I live, a residential parcel may have up to 8 hives but theymust not be within 15 feet of a property line and have no direct view of any neighbors nighttime light sources, otherwise a 6' fence is required to block the light from the hives.  Stay within boundaries and regs to keep the law on your side.

That said, I would be mindful of the light sources at night with regard to the placement and/or orientation of your hives, if possible--especially if your neighbors are relatively close by.  They will have bees on their porch or garage lights if so which may stir up complaints and unwanted attention.

Offline .30WCF

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2020, 06:10:58 am »
You can spend weeks on YouTube. Everything from short clips of whatever to seminars and lectures. Lots to learn there. You might even see some members from here on there.


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Offline William Bagwell

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2020, 08:27:58 am »
  I'm just gonna hope that the average Joe won't recognize a horizontal hive, since that's what I'll be using, instead of the typical Langstroth.

Top bar or long lang? What kind of bees are you planing on getting?

And I totally agree with the advice given about not mentioning bees to /most/ neighbors. Different situation here since we have acreage, our 5 plus in laws 16. Exceptions have been the commercial pumpkin farm next door who have bees and a former neighbor who used to have bees many years ago. He still owns land touching ours so we see him occasionally.

Offline So-apiary

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2020, 05:07:38 am »
@BenFramed thanks so much for your kind words! Thank goodness there are still people in this world who are both smart and kind hearted enough to freely share their knowledge.

I did go down every federal,state,and local rabbit hole to make sure I'm keeping on the right side of the law. As long as I don't sell honey on my property, all is well.

I could camouflage my hive, but I can't think of a way to hide the veil and smoker.  Everyone knows what those mean!The first time I inspect the hive, the whole neighborhood will know what's up. No privacy here because of the lack of trees, and the land slopes in such a way as to give us all a clear view of each other's properties. As for bees on the neighbors' porch lights, there's no way I can think of to prevent that other than locking the bees up at night, which of course, is not possible or feasible.

Maybe I should be asking what to say to the neighbors when THEY bring it up, as I'm sure they eventually will. Would "Here, have some honey" be a good place to start?

@William Bagwell  It's going to be a long Lang with standard frames. The bees will be either Italians or Carniolans.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: What to say to neighbors
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2020, 12:24:58 pm »
It is always a good idea to have a plan for what to do if a colony gets vicious.  It may never happen, but if it does it's best to move them immediately and then deal with the problem somewhere that bees aren't a problem (not close to neighbors).  This can also come in handy if they complain about your bees.  You can move them to the new location, leave a few empty boxes at the old location and if anyone comes to check if your bees are aggressive, there aren't any bees.  This is especially useful when the problem is yellow jackets or wasps.  It proves it's not your bees.
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