A few weeks ago, we had an incident at the University of Maryland involving the bees from
our rooftop apiaries. A group on campus was giving away free Rita’s Italian Ice, and our bees felt inclined to participate in the event. I had a few friends send me pictures of what was going on. We have also heard that the bees have been getting into the trashcans on campus in search of soda and other “forage.” Currently, bee groups on campus are working towards having all of the campus trashcans fitted with lids that are animal-proof and insect-proof. Hopefully this will decrease the unwanted attention some of the students are getting from our bees.
In addition to covering your trash cans, here are a few other ways to lower the chances of your bees becoming a problem for your neighbors. The first thing you can do to decrease the chances of your bees bothering your neighbors is to put a fence in front of the entrances of your hives. This fence can be man-made, or a “natural” fence can be used such as a row of trees or tall bushes. A fence in front of your hives will force your bees to fly upwards faster. By encouraging them to fly upwards, you can reduce the risk of them bumping into the heads of you or your neighbors. Another preventative measure is to have a water source close to your hives. You want to prevent your bees from relying on a water source in your neighbor’s yard; like their pool! A good water source can be something as simple as a bucket filled with water, with straw for the bees to land on; or something like a small pond with floating plants. Bees are very faithful to water sources, making it a good idea to set one up before you establish hives in a new location. Finally, using a little bit of common sense will prevent you from making enemies with your neighbors. Only work your bees on days that are sunny and warm, and make sure you re-queen any hive that is particularly aggressive.
Do you have any additional suggestions for preventing your bees from bothering neighbors? Leave a comment and let us know.