Suburban Beekeepers

There are many areas within or near cities and towns where honey bees can obtain an abundance of nectar and pollen. Ornamental trees and shrubs many times can provide early forage for bees.

However, beekeepers must always keep in mind, many people are frightened by the sight of a bee hive. As a result beekeepers need to position, keep and manage their bees to avoid any problems. Property lines should be an important consideration. In confined locations, placing the colonies on or near the property line in clear view by neighbours is not recommended. A responsible person should always consult their neighbours and determine if any are allergic to bee stings. If you do have allergic neighbours then it may be prudent to keep a hive elsewhere.

The bee hives should be concealed by hiding them behind a solid fence or dense shrubbery. In urban areas hives can even be placed on a flat roof away from public view and above pedestrian traffic. The hive placement should be made so the bees normal flight pattern does not interfere with a busy street, pavement or clothesline.

Good management practices by beekeepers are also important. Knowing when and how to manage correctly can make beekeeping acceptable to your neighbours. Beekeepers should observe the following:

  1. Practice swarm control.
  2. Provide bees with a constant water supply.
  3. Do not overpopulate an apiary location. Consider your location and available forage sources. Usually a suburban or urban apiary can support from two to six colonies.
  4. inspect and manipulate your bee hives when the bees are foraging. This will cause less disturbance and be more acceptable by neighbours.
  5. Keep colonies with good behavior characteristics. This may require requeening.

Neighbours can always be sweetened with a jar of honey!