We’ve been keeping bees for almost 15 years now. In the past, we’ve kept them at our cabin with a strong electric bear fence surrounding the girls. This year, we are lucky enough to keep them in our back yard. No bears, but we have our new challenges.
First it was getting the city to pass an ordinance; then getting acceptance from the city; then approval from neighbors; then getting bees after the deadline; then installing them in the cold and replacing the queen. (If that seemed like a run-on sentence, it was.) So, now, phew, they are in and seem happy.
Our little lot holds a Haralson apple tree, a pear tree, and a non-fruit bearing Canadian cherry. Last week, all three were in bloom. But I think our honeybees are like fishermen -- the better spot is across the lake. My trees had pollinators, but they were small wasps, not my honeybees.
Watching the flight paths, it appears they were heading across the street. I’m guessing they were enjoying the dandelion bloom occurring near the creek. That might be our biggest challenge of raising honeybees in the city – not the abundance of food, rather where the girls find their food.
They won’t bother people, but people might be bothered by them. People may spray pesticides on their blooming plants. They might mistake wasps as bees and blame honeybees for stinging. The next door neighbors have already been ‘introduced’ to the bees. The kids (and parents) were both surprised that those two little boxes held about 6,000 honey bees each. The look on their faces was astonishment when I said we would have ten times that many come August.
They know that honeybees are good, gentle, and will help the environment. They trust that we would never do anything to harm their children. They also are happily anticipating the honey we promised. However, let’s hope the kid’s soccer ball doesn’t come in contact with the hive and make them change their minds.
If your neighbor wanted to keep bees, would you be OK with it? What concerns would you have?