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Author Topic: Guilt and my Neighbor  (Read 3531 times)
tillie
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« on: June 09, 2008, 10:39:06 PM »

Yesterday my neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that she had a swarm of bees at her house and could I help?  I went over and looked and outside her bathroom window flying in and out of the fascia (sp?) board were bees, bees, bees. 

I explained that this wasn't a swarm and looked as if she had bees living in her house.  She has called Cindy Bee (her real name and last year's beekeeper of the year in Georgia) who has a Honey Bee Removal business.  Cindy is coming on the 20th to remove these bees from her house.  Like many houses in Atlanta, my neighbor's house is built into a hill so the house, while one story on the front of the house, on the back where the bees are is two stories and the bees are at the roof line.

I have struggled with my neighbors and my bees.  I give honey, hand cream and lip balm generously to them to keep everybody happy, but I am scared that Cindy will tell her that the bees probably came from a swarm from my hives - and then I'll have neighbor issues again.

I called my neighbor and suggested to her that she ask Cindy to give her any honey-filled comb she removes so my neighbor can harvest it to have at least something to reward her for this home invasion.  I told my neighbor that I could help her harvest it. 

I also plan, if I see Cindy at the bee meeting, to ask her please not to tell my neighbor that the bees may have come from my hives.

Beyond that, how would you all handle this situation?

Linda T trying to bee a good beekeeping neighbor in Atlanta
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 11:17:36 PM »

Linda:  People tend to believe what they want to belive irrespective of the measures you take to convince them otherwise.  All you can do is speak with the bee keeper who is doing the removal and explain to her that she should not speculate on the source of the bees and perhaps even see if she might explain that your bees are not necessarily the bees in your neighbor's house.  Short of paying for the removal, you have few options.
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2008, 11:28:08 PM »

It sounds like a good plan.  However you might want to offer to do the whole harvest yourself; giving your neighbor the proceeds.  While it's likely your neighbor's bees came from your hives, I wouldn't dwell on that aspect of it.  Living closely in a neighborhood, one has to expect a few annoyances now and then (neighborhood dogs visiting your lawn, waking to the sound of mowers, loud neighbors, etc.).  I realize this is a little more serious than my examples, but think positively.  Maybe your neighbor won't be as upset about this as you fear.  if it's legal for you to have bee hives on your property there's not much she could do about it anyway.  A neighborhood organization could cause some trouble for you, though.  Are you on good terms with the officers in your organization? (if you have one)  A preemptive discussion with them might be in order if you think your neighbor is going to be really upset about the situation.  Good Luck!
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 03:35:31 AM »

Linda, if I were you, I would talk to Cindy and express your position and politely insist that you want to be involved with the removal process and assist.

Be there for the entire event AND pay for it, this is what I would do, your neighbor will thank you for it and realize that you care about HER more than you care about keeping bees, put HER first, this will go a LONG way in keeping the peace and allow you to continue keeping bees at your place.

You want your neighbor to have a pleasant taste in her mouth. If they are outta pocket and have to take time away from their busy schedule, they may resent you and your bees, and you lose a neighbor and the right to keep your bees close.

Go far and above the call of duty on this, and it WILL pay off. Also help Cindy bee to the very end including the most important aspect, BEEPROOFING your neighbor's house from aditional swarms that may want to enter, this is very important.

Much, much good luck and good karma to you Linda!
Please let us know if there's anything more we can do, I have a feeling it will all work out, just keep the air positive.


...JP
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2008, 07:20:12 AM »

it's funny, I've thought of everything I could to help my neighbors be OK with my having bees and this neighbor is the one who is the most positive about the bees - I am planning on harvesting the honey with my neighbor and making sure she gets as much of it as possible.  This incident has actually increased the positive communication between us.

I'm not going to offer to pay for the removal ($600) for several reasons - if I do and bees show up in her house again or someone else in the neighborhood, then the finger points to me and my bees and the precedent is set that I pay for these problems in the neighborhood.  Also if I pay for it, I then am claiming the bees and the problem as mine - my bees that swarmed - and even though the bees may have originated with my hives, I don't want to assume that all bees that swarm in this neighborhood came from my hives (there are two other beekeepers within a mile of my house).

So I will be positive, supportive, help Cindy Bee with the removal, filter and harvest the honey for my neighbor, and any other suggestions other than pay for it - hope that makes sense.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2008, 08:01:51 AM »

Good luck and remember.  When neighbors believe they r your bees ask them if they checked the brand on the bees.....
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2008, 08:13:49 AM »

All good points!  First and foremost, you are being as considerate of your neighbor's property as possible.  But, I agree with you in that you should not assume that they are YOUR bees. 
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2008, 09:43:30 AM »

Perhaps Cindy bee will bring the cost down if you assist her in the removal.


...JP
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2008, 09:55:19 AM »

I'm curious, JP.  You do so many removals - the two most competent remover people in Georgia (they clean the area and stuff it with insulation, etc. and guarantee that the bees will not return to that spot) in Georgia charge from $550 - $650 for removals.  Do you charge in that range?

Linda T
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2008, 09:59:00 AM »

You are worrying about it too much. There is no way of knowing that the bees are from your hives. Has any of your hives swarmed that you know of? And this Cindy is probably well aware of the fact that these bees did not come from your hives. You said there are other beeks in the area. It is more likely one of their swarms, yours probably moved a couple miles away.

There were swarms of bees around here all the time before I got bees and I don't know of any beekeepers around here.
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2008, 10:27:30 AM »

Thanks, Jerrymac - my hives all look fine and not diminished in any way - all are growing like mad but not getting smaller.  I think these bees have been in her house since February or March from the size of the beards on her roof in the 98 degree weather yesterday.  I know they could have come from anywhere and it is reassuring to think that my own bees would move much farther away!

I had a huge swarm that I collected in a tree between hers and my yard about three weeks ago and I put them on my deck.  Then I began wondering if they were my own bees and would drift back to the hive they came from on my deck but instead they are vigorously building comb and already need a new box, one week after getting the first one.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2008, 11:42:09 AM »

Stop acting guilty, thay are unlikely your bees as jerry pointed out. Do you mark your queens? If you do, then youl find out if they are yours? If not, no way to know. You are doing all you can regardless. If this neighbor was inclined to point the finger at you, they would have already done so by now. Its the first thing neighbors do under these circumstances usually. I too live in heavy suburbia. My two fears are water issues w/ pools and swarming. W/ time both will ocurr and problems will arise, its the way of nature and of course bees. Balance the guilt w/ the knowledge your bees are improving the local environment in many unnoticed ways in your neighborhood and your neighbors aren't compensating you, are they? Good luck .
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2008, 11:54:57 AM »

Thanks, Konasdad.  My neighbor in the spirit of curiosity asked me what made me want to keep bees?  I laughed and said that they are fascinating creatures and it's my way of doing my bit for the planet - I offered to help her get started - maybe these bees in her house will inspire her - and she smiled.

I think it's all going to turn out right, and I'll work on throwing out any inclination toward guilt  evil


Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 12:33:41 PM »

Balance the guilt w/ the knowledge your bees are improving the local environment in many unnoticed ways in your neighborhood and your neighbors aren't compensating you, are they? Good luck .

Amen.
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 02:33:43 PM »

Linda:
Does your neighbor know that your bees swarmed?  If not, if it comes up, I would tell that all of your bees are still in their hives and that you haven't lost any.  That's what I intend to tell my neighbors know if they ever need swarm removal or cut-outs (and then help them if I can). 

I would offer to assist with the removal and talk to Cindy about a discount (maybe offer to help with her harvest, equipment etc.)  Also, I really doubt that Cindy will point out the hive may be from your apiary...especially if you discuss this with her.

BTW, I cannot make it to the meeting tonight.  Can you take notes for me (assume you'll put the important parts on your blog...but just in case).  I really hate to miss this one.

Best,
Derrick
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2008, 03:15:11 PM »

There are a lot of good factual points made here.  And lets face it, we are all beekeepers and thus biased. 


But.............

Public perception is not based on facts, rather emotions.  Just look at the politics in this country and how people vote.   Yes you can justify to yourself that they may not be your bees,  (I guess another reason for marking queens Wink  I'll have to add that to my list) and yes according to the law it doesn't really matter anyway, as once bees swarm they are considered feral and no longer belong to the original owner....

The bottom line is that your not gonna convince your neighbors that they are not your bees.  Let's face it,  they didn't have these problems until you got your bees.  To them,  you just cost them $600 and they won't be happy with it regardless of how much you try to convince them how your bees help the area.  It ain't worth $600 to them.

Emotions and $$$$ trump facts everytime.

I'm not trying to throw a rock in the hornets nest here,  but there is a lot of beekeepers singing "kum ba ya" and I think non-beekeepers (ie. neighbors) may sing a different song.   I'm with JP on this.  I would take care of this situation.

Yes you can talk to Cindy and your neighbor and try to justify that they are not your bees.   But what if they really were?  If you saw them swarm from your hive would you take a different tact?

I do hope things turn out well,  but at this point it seems like your walking thru a land mine field.   Where do you draw the line on how much to get involved and how much "not my bees" talk before you start looking guilty.

Best of luck,  and once again I'm just trying to take the "beekeepers view" out of the equation.

rob...
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2008, 04:22:15 PM »

All good points, Robo - actually  nobody in my neck of the woods has suggested that they were/are my bees or has even wondered about their origin - I'm just trying to anticipate.  My neighbor has not had the thought that they came from my yard and called me because she considered me knowledgeable about what to do because she knows I have bees.

My children say that I am like the "White Queen" in Alice in Wonderland who runs around weeping and wailing that she is "going to cut her finger"  She anticipates all the pain and then when she actually does cut her finger, she simply puts a "plaster" on it and goes on her way.... Wink

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2008, 04:54:08 PM »

All good points, Robo - actually  nobody in my neck of the woods has suggested that they were/are my bees or has even wondered about their origin - I'm just trying to anticipate.  My neighbor has not had the thought that they came from my yard and called me because she considered me knowledgeable about what to do because she knows I have bees.

Cool!  Then let's hope it stays that way.  Now just walk the fine line of being helpful but not giving too much info and putting thoughts in their head.

Best of luck....

rob...
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2008, 09:48:15 PM »

I'd settle down a bit. If she wakes up tomorrow and finds dog poop in her yard, is it from your dog? Who knows! They may be your bees, they may not. Truth is, you dont own bees anyways. The good Lord owns them. If the bees moved into some nook or crannie in her house, and you didn't keep bees, sooner or later she would have a swarm move in. And, this might be what happened anyways. Who knows. US is "Innocent until proven guilty". I know you want to keep peace with the neighbors, express your beekeeping knowledge, how and why bees swarm and how your experience show that your hives didn't swarm, if you honestly feel they didnt. Good luck though!

PS- Checked out your blog the other day... You've been quite busy!
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2008, 10:12:09 PM »

I'm curious, JP.  You do so many removals - the two most competent remover people in Georgia (they clean the area and stuff it with insulation, etc. and guarantee that the bees will not return to that spot) in Georgia charge from $550 - $650 for removals.  Do you charge in that range?

Linda T

My prices vary Linda but if I were Cindy Bee and a beekeeper approached me with your situation, I would do what I could to make it easy on that beekeeper. I more than likely would not charge for the removal.

Without seeing the scenario and scope of the job its hard to say if the price quoted is fair.

Now as far as having a guilty attitude this is just unwarranted and projects negativity but still if its a close neighbor you really never know if they in fact came from one of your hives or one down the street.

All the same, I would still be very involved with the removal process, and whether you like it or not, you are the one with the hives closest to your neighbor and even though they may appreciate your nature and good heartedness, behind closed doors there will be doubt that they did or didn't in fact come from your hives.

Not all swarms make it 1/4 mile or more away, some wind up right next door or on the fence, in the grass, etc... Depends a lot on the queen and how able she is to fly, some can't fly very far.

I have had swarms wind up next door on the fence, and on a tree limb and I am pretty confident they were from my hives. We just can't be there 24-7 and swarming is just what bees do.

Keep positive, it sounds like you have a terrific neighbor. I sure hope Cindy bee gives you and your neighbor proper consideration and gets that price down, way down.

Best of luck,


...JP
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2008, 10:23:15 PM »

A swarm leaving your hive and congregating 30 feet away isn't the same as establishing a hive. They might congregate a few feet from the hive and then move on a few miles away. But perhaps it is just me, if one of my hives swarmed and went into the neighbor's walls, I sure wouldn't loose sleep over it and really wouldn't care what they thought. But then I am a little anti-social anyways. But if I wanted the bees then I would offer to remove them or I would call another beek and see if he wants them.

Now I have to ask.... Do these high priced removals include all repairs? $600 bucks is just too much unless repairs come with it. 

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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2008, 10:36:41 PM »

A swarm leaving your hive and congregating 30 feet away isn't the same as establishing a hive. They might congregate a few feet from the hive and then move on a few miles away. But perhaps it is just me, if one of my hives swarmed and went into the neighbor's walls, I sure wouldn't loose sleep over it and really wouldn't care what they thought. But then I am a little anti-social anyways. But if I wanted the bees then I would offer to remove them or I would call another beek and see if he wants them.

Now I have to ask.... Do these high priced removals include all repairs? $600 bucks is just too much unless repairs come with it. 



I had one swarm from a hive on my back patio into a swarm trap under my carport, not more than 40' away. I watched it take place so I know for sure, even posted about it on this site.

Jerry, so if one of your hives swarmed out into your neighbor's house and you knew this positively, you could care less?

Sorry, to disagree but this in my opinion is not an attitude that promotes beekeeping in a positive manner, its the type of mindset that gets neighbors to petition for ordinances to keep beekeeping out of the suburbs.

We need to be good shepherds.


...JP, my .02

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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2008, 10:39:18 PM »

Quote
Now I have to ask.... Do these high priced removals include all repairs? $600 bucks is just too much unless repairs come with it.

Yes, she and the other beekeeper who I think is great at this, both leave the place looking exactly as it did before the removal - they clean out where the bees were as completely as possible, stuff the area with insulation, and put it all back together as good as new.  The only thing neither one of them do is paint. 

And Cindy is the gentlest beekeeper I know.  She has been keeping bees since she was 11 or so when she did it with her father.  She moves very gently and slowly and respects the bees.  It's amazing to watch her in action.  I saw a video of her removing bees from inside the top of a church steeple.  She was respectful both of the building and the bees (and a bunch of the church people watched from the ground below!)

Given how far each of them drive and how carefully and beautifully they handle the removals, I don't think their prices are out of line.  I heard Bill Owens speak at Young Harris, encouraging beekeepers to value their services appropriately.  He is the other fabulous bee removal person in Georgia.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2008, 05:36:10 AM »

Jerry, so if one of your hives swarmed out into your neighbor's house and you knew this positively, you could care less?

Their horses and cows causes flies that then invade my space. The wind blows their poop onto my place. One of them once had a couple of goats that would always come grazing all over my yard. And as I said, there were bees swarming around here long before I got bees. And the chances of me seeing the bees swarm to their house is slim to none. And I would probably get them before they got established. It is a hypothetical question. Don't really know unless it happens.

But with Tillie's case, they are probably not her bees and she sure should not even plant the seed of a notion that she might even remotely possibly pay for a small part of the removal cost. 

When I removed the bees from somebody's home it was because I wanted the bees. Yes it was doing them a favor and it was a bit of work, but I didn't charge for it, and they had to do their own repairs. If they were in the wall I would go through the sheet rock. A sheet of sheet rock, some nails and paint is a lot cheaper than paying me $600 dollars to do it. I always did it in the way it would be cheaper for the home owner to repair.
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2008, 07:25:25 AM »

Jerry: "Their horses and cows causes flies that then invade my space. The wind blows their poop onto my place. One of them once had a couple of goats that would always come grazing all over my yard. And as I said, there were bees swarming around here long before I got bees. And the chances of me seeing the bees swarm to their house is slim to none. And I would probably get them before they got established. It is a hypothetical question. Don't really know unless it happens."

Me: Well, a neighbor like that deserves a swarm!! Wink

Jerry: "But with Tillie's case, they are probably not her bees and she sure should not even plant the seed of a notion that she might even remotely possibly pay for a small part of the removal cost."

Me: There is no way anyone can make the assumption they are or not her bees, but still, the finger may point to the nearest known source.


...JP 

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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2008, 07:33:36 AM »

My neighborhood is very woodsy - we back up to a deep woods.  I've had two swarms appear this year in my yard - maybe from my bees but maybe not.

My worry about paying for it is, as I said earlier in this thread, I don't want the precedent set that
1. if bees move into anyone's house in this neighborhood, it must be my problem (ie, my bees) and
2. I must take the responsibility for it. 

I will help in any and every way that I can short of demonstrating responsibility for it. 

Linda T in Atlanta
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greg spike
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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2008, 03:58:32 PM »

Quote
Now I have to ask.... Do these high priced removals include all repairs? $600 bucks is just too much unless repairs come with it.

Dance on a 30' ladder in a moonsuit, with a reciprocating saw, surrounded by bees.

Belly crawl, on pink fluff, in a 130+ degree attic, praying you don't stick a knee through the drywall, while scooping up bees that really don't like you.

Anyone dumb enough to a attic/soffit removal for minimum wage, is someone you really don't want working on your house to begin with.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2008, 05:07:16 PM »

I have done removals. I don't charge since I am doing it to get the bees, and I make sure the property owner knows they will be doing the repairs before I tear anything up. I get free survivor bees, except for the work, and they don't have to pay such outrageous prices to get it done.
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Ross
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« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2008, 07:07:18 PM »

There is no such thing as a free bee, you'll learn.  Most cutouts don't produce a viable hive for a number of reasons, including the spray that was used before they called you.  Once the new wears off, you'll be charging $100 an hour and hoping they turn you down, just like the rest of us.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2008, 08:01:54 PM »

There is no such thing as a free bee, you'll learn.  Most cutouts don't produce a viable hive for a number of reasons, including the spray that was used before they called you.  Once the new wears off, you'll be charging $100 an hour and hoping they turn you down, just like the rest of us.

Weird  huh I got some good hives from doing it. Not everyone sprays them.
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« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2008, 10:11:53 PM »

There is a very good chance the swarm isn't from your bees at all.  Although it might be.  Swarms typically move at least a quarter mile away and often six or seven miles away.  Sometimes even more.  A swarm is just as likely to have come from several miles away.

But, of course, you want her to not dislike bees in general...
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