10 responses

  1. Phillip
    May 4, 2013

    I added this post on May 04/13, but it was back-dated to correspond to when I wrote my original response. The video, however, was created on April 28/13, just to make it all more confusing.

  2. Emily
    May 5, 2013

    Great videos – should be shown in schools! I’ve read that the only time swarms can become defensive and moody is if they’ve been hanging around for a few days in bad weather without choosing a new home yet – then they’ve run out of honey in their stomachs and are getting cold – I would be grumpy too!

  3. Jay Floyd
    May 16, 2013

    It’s an open ended question because the question doesn’t address how close you are to them, but I would for sure instruct your children on beekeeping and you can absolutely use it as an educational experience. We homeschool and they get credits for “beekeeping”. I would ask your neighbor, if possible, to let you suit them up. Your local beekeeping association (google them) should have small suits you can borrow. If you instruct the kids and let them look in the hives and show them the workings of the hive, they will be a LOT less likely to go out on their own investigating, which is a good way for kids and adults to get stung. We have hives in our backyard and as stated here, if you didn’t know they were they, you would never know as they are shielded by trees and you can’t see them. Funny thing is, I’ve been stung 3 times in the last 2 weeks just hanging out in my “bee yard” and all 3 times have been in the head. Once behind my ear, once ON my ear and once right in the middle of the forehead. All 3 times, I was within 10 feet of the hives. My wife, on the other hand, has NEVER been stung and the last time I got stung, she was standing right beside me. Weird, right? As stated here, one of my hives may have bees that are a bit more aggressive than the others and I think I know which one it is and I am looking at replacing that queen as well. Just introduce them to the hive, suit them up and let them enjoy having bees as neighbors. Who knows, they may get into it and do it for a living one day. We need good responsible beekeepers to help us keep the population up. Also, if your kids have never been stung and you don’t want to have them tested for allergies…..as a precaution, get your Doctor to get you an epi-pen and just keep it on hand. It’s not a bad idea to have one around anyway for yellow jackets, wasps and hornets….just in case.

  4. Heather
    May 28, 2013

    I feel I can chime in here because of our own personal experience. We’re “accidental beekeepers” of only one year, after hiving a swarm from our yard last May. We keep our bees in the corner of our gated yard, but we are right across the street from an elementary school, and all of our neighbors have little ones. Kids are ALL OVER our neighborhood.

    We also have two small children, two and four years old, neither of them have been stung yet (and they’ve gotten pretty close to our hive). I haven’t been stung yet either. Other than right around the hive entrance, and I’m talking about a few inches of space here, there is really no area on our entire lot that has a lot of bees hanging out. Kids would likely be stung if they went right up to the hive and started fooling around the entrance and bothered the bees, but other than that, there are bees all over this earth and you won’t be around any more bees than you already are every day just because a neighbor has a hive. A lot of the bees found foraging in my yard are probably from other colonies.

    All of our neighbors are incredibly wonderful and accepting of our hive, none of them have voiced any concerns (and we did check with them all before keeping the swarm, to be sure no one had objections or allergies). The school children’s parents pick their kids up from school every day and park right in front of our house, and we’ve had no problems whatsoever and I really doubt we ever will. (Unless someone tries to harass our bees, being in an urban area with lots of pedestrians around, it’s something I do worry about. But hopefully people will leave our hive alone.)

    As said above too, swarms are notoriously docile. They have nothing to protect so their defensive behaviors are practically switched off, they are not in a permanent home, and there is no honey. Last year when we hived our swarm, my husband was completely unprotected as he cut down the branch full of bees, and shook them all into the new hive. No stings. In fact, he’s the only one in our family of four (plus pets) who’s been stung, and only because a bee got trapped in his shorts!

    Your kids will probably be stung by a bee at some point in their lives because most of us are–usually from stepping on a bee or getting it caught in your hair or clothing, but any bees in your yard could easily (and more likely) be from hives that are MILES away.

    Basically, my point is, your neighbor could have a hive bursting with bees, but you’re not going to be affected by them any more than you already are. Bees are not aggressive, they don’t want to sting, but they will when provoked. Unless, of course, you upset some Africanized bees, but no one keeps those bees because they’re so vicious–nor do they even live in my state.

    Hope this helps anyone who is wondering about bees and little ones! People see a beehive and think it’s full of a swarm of angry insects, and we hear the horror stories on the news about Africanized bees, but really bees are lovely and a blessing. When your neighbors finally go to harvest some honey, hopefully they will share some with you! I know we plan to share with our wonderful neighbors.

  5. Phillip
    September 22, 2013

    I got stung by a wasp / yellow jacket today. I had to take painkillers for the pain that even now, an hour later, feels like someone put a cigarette out on my arm. A honey bee sting seems like a mosquito bite compared to this. Just sayin’.

  6. Diana
    November 24, 2013

    My next door neighbors has a Honey Bee Hive since July 2013. We live in a 4 plex house separated by a back yard fence between us.
    His Bee Hive is located at the end of the yard next to the fence.
    My 3 dogs yorkies have been stung numerous times in my back yard and now the bees are coming into my back door into the kitchen. I have not been stung by the bees but my dogs are now being stung inside my house….So your myth about dogs will stay away once they have been stung is just a myth. I don’t believe there is any regulations about bee keepers and how far away the hive should be set up away from your next door neighbors. I cant seem to find any help with this situation. I have spoke with the homeowners assoc. (nothing), code enforcement (nothing), and the county pest/mosquito control. All of these people cannot help with the neighbors honey bees coming into my house. I cannot enjoy my small backyard for the dogs or myself. what can be done?

    • Phillip
      November 24, 2013

      If you’re having trouble with your neighbour’s honey bees, the first move is to tell your neighbour about it. Most reasonable beekeepers don’t want their bees bothering anyone. My next door neighbour was so unnerved by the close proximity of my bees that he couldn’t relax in his backyard. He was never stung by the bees, but I decided to move the hives off my property anyway. I legally didn’t have to do anything. My neighbour happens to be a big jerk who doesn’t deserve any favours from me, but I sacrificed most of the pleasure I got from beekeeping so he could maintain the happiness his backyard bliss. That’s what a nice guy I am. Most sensible people are like that.

      As for your dogs getting stung, if they were getting stung around bee hives, they would quickly learn to avoid bee hives, but I suppose they won’t learn that lesson if they can’t see the hives and tell where the bees are coming from.

      You might also want to make sure it’s honey bees that are stinging your dogs and getting into your house. Wasps and yellow jackets are easily confused with honey bees (and they’re often attracted to bee hives in the late summer and fall). The next time you see what you think is a honey bee in your house, kill it and show it to your neighbour. Take a clear photo of it and send to someone who knows what a honey bee looks like.

      I don’t doubt that some kind of insects are bothering your dogs, but I think it’s a fair statement that most people who aren’t beekeepers can’t tell the difference between a honey bee and a variety of other insects that have similar markings.

      Honey bees can get defensive in the fall, but even then, they will rarely sting anyone who isn’t right next to the hive. Are your dogs barking at the hive through the fence? If the dogs are barking within 10 or 15 feet of the hive, even from behind a fence, that could be within the stinging perimeter. It’s difficult to say without seeing it myself.

  7. Phillip
    December 31, 2013

    A video with Thomas Seeley that demonstrates how docile swarming bees are:


    Originally posted by Science Friday:


  8. Susie
    April 23, 2014

    I water a mat outside our front door every day for honeybees who come from our neighbor’s hive to drink. I sit right by them when I water the mat. I have never in my life been stung by a bee (wasps, yes!), so I have no fear of the bees. They might buzz around me, but I figure they are just checking me out. Same for my daughter and my grandchildren. My husband, on the other hand, was attacked while mowing the lawn the other day, literally. He was stung and was chased in to the house. Now he was to wear a towel over his head when he goes outside anywhere in our yard, and won’t stay out long because they do chase him. Even when he gets in the car, they keep trying to get to him and will fly right into the closed windows, bumping against the glass trying to get to him. It’s wild. I love them. He, obviously does not anymore.

  9. Rick Reid
    June 28, 2014

    I’ll be 51 next month and I just got stung by my 1st bee !
    Ever since I was a kid I’ve been around bees, my mom use to keep hives, 2 of them, and I’d work with them, checking in on them and the hive’s and never to the best of my knowledge got stung my one. I’ve even climbed up into trees to fetch the Qween and never had a problem, but today was my 1st “known bee sting” as I was cleaning the pool. They have one spot they seem to like and I guess I got one upset today, poor little guy. I kept an eye on the spot just to make sure I didn’t have any problems. It made a welt about a 1/4 inch wide on my arm and stung a little but in a 1/2 hour or so other than a slight sting, I couldn’t tell I’d been stung.

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