If you are thinking about backyard beekeeping you are joining a large group of people. There are actually millions of backyard beekeepers all over the world right now and it’s something that all these people really enjoy doing. Sometimes backyard beekeeping can even lead some people moving on from a hobby to an actual business.
Backyard beekeeping is very doable in urban and suburban areas. However, you do need to set it up properly and be able to manage your bees in the right way so you don’t run into major problems. Here are a few things you should know before you start your backyard beekeeping so it’s safe and enjoyable for you and your neighbors.
Give Them a Good Water Supply
All honey bees need an easy to access and good source of water in for your backyard beekeeping. If you don’t give them enough water they’re going to go off somewhere else to find it. This can cause trouble with your neighbors especially if they have a better water source than you do. You could turn their yards into a local bee watering hole. This is not only embarrassing but it also can cause a rift in your relationships with your next door neighbors. To keep your bees from going off on their own make sure that you fill a bucket or a bowl with fresh water and that should do it for your bees. Always make sure that you put a few wood chips in the water so they have something to land on, otherwise your bees could drown.
Learn to Control the Flight of Your Bees to Some Extent
When you are involved in backyard beekeeping it’s important that you learn how to control where your bees flight, as best as you can. When you do this you will be ensuring that your bees don’t start going after your neighbors or people walking by as your bees are going to and from their hive.
Having a fence that’s about six feet high is a great way to protect your backyard beekeeping space. When you have a fence that high will force your bees to fly above most people that might be walking by your yard. If you don’t have a fence, you seriously might want to consider putting one up. Tall shrubs can also do the job well.
Learn to Control Their Swarming as Much as Possible
Probably one of the scariest things to neighbors about your backyard beekeeping is going to be when your bees swarm. This can make a neighbor very nervous if they see a dark swarm of bees coming onto their property. Generally swarms are harmless, but that doesn’t usually matter to someone else. It’s not easy to control a swarm but it can be done.
One thing you can do for backyard beekeeping swarms is to install a bait hive. This is just a structure that you make attractive to a swarm. You can use an old hive body that was occupied by bees in the past. You can also go and buy a pheromone attractant product and apply it on your bait hive that will make it a lot more attractive to the bees. A bait hive is truly a good way to keep a swarm away from the neighbors yard.
Only drawback from using a bait hive is that you might end up attracting a swarm from a different hive and you might not want that.
Know the Laws for Backyard Beekeeping in Your Area
It’s really important when you are considering backyard beekeeping that you know of any legal issues there might be with regard to keeping bees where you live. Even though there are no true absolute bans on bees in most areas there are some places where they do exist and you need to know this.
The most common requirement that cities require is that if your are involved in backyard beekeeping that you register your hive or hives and in some instances they may ask that you pay for a permit.
Education and a Little Honey Goes a Long Way
If you want to make sure that your neighbors are okay with your backyard beekeeping you might want to try to maintain goodwill. There are ways that you can do this are simple.
One of the best ways you can make your neighbors smile is to give them a gift of fresh honey after you harvest it. You can also use the bees wax and make into candles and offer them that as a little gift as well.
It’s also very important that you try and help educate them about the amazing honey bee. Most of the fear comes from them simply not understanding bees in general. Explain to them that bees are not vicious killers like they see in movies and how it’s sensationalized through the media. Educate them on how important the role of these bees are in our world, especially when it comes to the production of food in our society. If need be give them printed information about bees that might help lower their fears and concerns.
Never force your bees to work under conditions that are much less than ideal. This can often have you end up with a hive that is more aggressive. Even if you do have good conditions and they still seem to be more aggressive than you want you should consider getting a new queen that is known to be from a much gentler stock of bees.
I hope these tips will help you have a wonderful, safe and successful backyard beekeeping experience for you and your neighbors.