Friday, July 11, 2014

Frustrations of Urban Beekeeping

I love beekeeping, but sometimes it can be frustrating in an urban environment. Especially when you have neighbors that don't want you there. Two weeks ago, at my last inspection, I arrived to the backyard where I keep two of my hives. It's a beautiful yard, full of blooming flowers. I was getting ready to do an inspection, I started up the smoker. Only to be greeted by an angry neighbor behind the fence, screaming at me. In a very angry voice she was shouting at me to stop what I was doing and to not open the hives or continue with my inspection because she had guests in her backyard for a party. I was going to comply with her requests, and then she starts threatening to call the police on me. Upon which I stated, "Go ahead, call the police. My beehives are registered with the Department of Health. These hives are completely legal to own and have." I proceeded to tell her that she didn't have to scream at me in that manner and all she had to to was ask nicely to not do the inspection, and I would have complied. Apparently, she was stung by a bee the previous day, and now she feels scared of them. But how does she know they were my bees? And what if it was a yellowjacket, or wasp, or hornet? They all can be mistaken for honeybees. I now feel frustrated with having my hives here, if there is a chance that I will be accosted every time I show up for an inspection. I can tell she seems pretty unreasonable to talk to, since every time I tried to calm her down, she would talk over me loudly. People like that don't care that honeybees are an integral part of the eco-system, and that without them and their pollination, we wouldn't have the fruits and vegetables we consume.
Have you ever experienced something like this? It makes me really sad and start to rethink the location of this hive. Would I need to move it elsewhere? Somewhere where there are less neighbors perhaps? I have an upcoming inspection this Sunday. I'll have to see if I get into another verbal altercation with this neighbor. Hopefully, she has calmed down a bit. Fingers crossed.


  1. Sorry to hear this :( I've not experienced such aggression myself, but do know of other urban beekeepers who've had their hives vandalised.

  2. I neither have the space nor the time to keep bees, but I've heard of beekeepers pacifying aggressive neighbours with a peace offering of honey... If she ever calms down, perhaps a small jar will keep her compliant?

  3. I'm really sorry to hear this, it really bums me out. I could write alot about this and I was just having a long conversation with a friend about this. Living in a city unfortunately we have to deal alot with this, both in the garden and in our apartments.

    We have a few people that want to keep our garden down. More specifically we have a person in our building who shuts our water supply off every single day. I mean every single day! We've spoken with him before but he just wants to yell and say he's right and the water is hurting his laundry. None of this makes sense, but yet we have to deal with this.

    Good luck with all of this. If you want to vent more, I'm here.


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