Honeybees and Neighbours

“Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby. Bees are interesting creatures, with a fascinating life. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates this and, unless care is taken in keeping bees and siting colonies, trouble can result” (BBKA leaflet B1 – Bees and Neighbours).

Two unfortunate incidents occurred involving Hampshire beekeepers. One involved bees from a beekeeper’s ‘out apiary’ (an apiary situated away from home) repeatedly swarming into a neighbouring garden. The beekeeper was not local or known to those living in the area.

The other, much more serious, involved the death of a dog. Hives in a beekeeper’s garden, part of a small estate, were accessed by a neighbour’s dog. The bees reacted in a predictable manner.

By following BBKA guidelines both these incidents could have been avoided. The former by the beekeeper leaving a contact number somewhere prominently at the apiary ; the second by following the guidelines in BBKA leaflet Bees, Neighbours & Siting an Apiary.

“Beekeepers have the right to keep bees. Their neighbours have the right to enjoy their property in peace. Badly kept and positioned colonies can be a nuisance”. It is a beekeeper’s responsibility to avoid their bees becoming a nuisance and to take appropriate steps if they so become.

“Most beekeepers are tempted by the familiar and convenient location of their own garden where they can watch their bees at work and tend to them easily, but small gardens, particularly those surrounded by houses are not likely to be a successful solution. With careful management a small garden in open countryside or a garden at least the size of a tennis court could provide a suitable site for two or three hives.”

If you are new to beekeeping or are moving bees to a new site, please download and read the BBKA leaflet “Bees, Neighbours & Siting an Apiary” to ensure you manage both your bees and your neighbours satisfactorily for all concerned!