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Author Topic: New York Times' Ethicist on beekeeping vs allergic neighbors  (Read 4237 times)
Squirrelhenge
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« on: January 20, 2013, 11:10:20 AM »

The Ethicist column from Jan. 18 in the New York Times deals with the question of whether hobbyist beekeepers should relocate their backyard hive after a family with members who are allergic to bee stings moved in next door. Thoughts on the situation and the Ethicist's advice?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/magazine/should-your-neighbors-allergy-be-your-concern.html

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Eric Francis
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 12:23:51 PM »

If a neighbor approached me in this same situation I would move the hives. Most neighbors are generally okay with a neighbor keeping bees unless it poses some kind of threat or hindrance to their particular lifestyle.

You can fight or ignore the neighbor if there is no particular ordinance against keeping them but eventually you will lose out in one way or another and this only puts a black eye on bee keeping.


...JP
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derekm
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 01:56:39 PM »

the argument assumes that having bees next door increases the probabilty of being stung by an insect. As bees roam  upto 3 miles, the probability of being stung has not been significantly increased.
The probability of being stung is more related to whether the allergic person/family has plants that the bees find attractive. Thus the article is pontificating about a false argument, the pontification is based on ignorance of the real causes of  risk.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 02:30:28 PM »

It is along the line of peanut better allergy.  If you have a child with a nut allergy, can you keep all nuts out of the house of the kids that go to school with your child?   
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RHBee
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 03:23:37 PM »

It is along the line of peanut better allergy.  If you have a child with a nut allergy, can you keep all nuts out of the house of the kids that go to school with your child?   
AllenF, The obvious answer is No. My grandson was allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. His reaction to them was pretty scary. There was an epi pen with him everywhere he went. For that reason I would move my hives. It may be an inconvenience for me but it woud give the family greater peace of mind.
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 04:44:04 PM »

i'd probably want to see some verification of the allergy.  if i had a buck for every phone caller that said "i have bees in my yard, and i'm allergic!!"  i'd be wealthy.

i'm not much into making people feel better, but i'd think about moving them anyway.  you can bet that if the kid got stung and did have a reaction the parents would sue and even if it didn't come to anything, you'd be paying for the lawyer and court costs.

 
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derekm
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 07:15:35 PM »

...  you can bet that if the kid got stung and did have a reaction the parents would sue and even if it didn't come to anything, you'd be paying for the lawyer and court costs.

 
a question: upto what  distance from the hive can you be sued for the actions of your bees.
another question : who has been sued because of their bees?
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
edward
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 07:23:45 PM »

I´d move my hives after they got rid of all flowers and trees that could encourage and attract bees and other insects on there property.


mvh edward  tongue
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edward
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 07:38:09 PM »

After reading the article I started to think a little.  rolleyes

Do those three people have the right to deny the whole neighborhood unpollinated gardens with no fruit an berries as a result??

Are they going to foot the bill to pollinate the neighborhood? , They could always import some farmers from China, I've hear they are good at that sort of thing.  rolleyes

mvh edward  tongue
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BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 08:17:02 PM »

First sentence of article: “it’s not ethical to pursue a recreational activity that puts unwilling third parties in nonspeculative danger, regardless of the legality.”

I was going to make some comment about how quickly some people like to apply ethics, but I think I'll retract that.  No point in stirring up a hornets nest.  Wink
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 08:55:04 PM by BlueBee » Logged
10framer
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 10:39:44 PM »

yeah, i'd need to see proof of the allergies.  i had a hive at my house in town and my neighbors harassed me about it.  they were really just mad because their cat went into my back yard with my three large dogs and got itself killed.  later the wife admitted that some neighborhood kids may have thrown the cat in my yard because they had taken them to court a few times.  my point is that some people just thrive on drama. 
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Gord
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 11:47:27 PM »

If they bought in to the neighbourhood, I would relocate on my own lot if mutually beneficial, otherwise no.
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splitrock
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 06:02:46 AM »

Yawnn!!! What a shortsighted argument, imho.

I'd like to know what kind of person everyone thinks would even consider moving their family so close to danger, knowing their severe allergic conditions?

I'd likely be the one moving away with my bees if I had a clan so inconsiderate of me and mine moving in next door.

 
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lazy shooter
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 08:27:46 AM »

The New York Times and ethics has got to be the most blatant oxymoron I have read for some time.  Since deep in my heart, I believe we are all brothers I would move the bees.  But like Edward said, something is needed to pollinate the local flora.  It is possible to raise children in a world where no bees exist?
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deknow
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 09:33:57 AM »

I've heard beekeepers claim in public talks that deadly allergies are not from honeybees, but only wasps and hornets.
I've also got a childhood fried that died from a honey bee sting allergy.

Some people are deadly allergic....more claim to be.

When someone tells me of allergy concerns, I always ask if they carry an epipen..... if they do not I find it difficult to believe that they believe they are one sting away from a scary reaction or death.

We teach new beekeepers every year, and I always recommend that new bees have themselves and their family tested.  We have had students with allergies doing hands on work....I would never allow that for someone that doesn't appear to understand and take responsibility for the inherent risks.

Deknow
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Satch
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 09:41:44 AM »

With this being in New York, I'm surprised that the Governor or Mayor hasn't already passed an ordinance outlawing beekeeping.  These little critters could be used as a terror weapon or weapon of mass destruction.  If you don't think so, knock one over with a tractor sometime and let me know how  you fare.

For the record, if there was documentation of a life threatening allergy, I would be nice enough to move them a little distance away.
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edward
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 09:46:44 AM »

if there was documentation of a life threatening allergy, I would be nice enough to move them a little distance away.

Even I would consider this AFTER they got rid of all plant that could attract any insects on there property!

Why should the beekeeper bee the only one to bee forced to go to extreme measures.

mvh edward  tongue
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JP
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2013, 09:51:07 AM »

First off, we don't have many details about the scenario.

Its apparently a hypothetical but let's say the facts are as they stand, three individuals who are in fact highly allergic to bee stings move in right next store and approach you.

Nowhere in the scenario does it state the neighbors were aggressive, or belligerent or if their approach was passive.

I would think most sane people would have a reasonable discussion about the matter and get the facts.

As a bee keeper and someone who removes and relocates bees for a living, I can tell you that IMO it is virtually impossible for as many people who tell me they are highly allergic to bee stings to be the case.

Any reaction to a bee sting causes some type of response. When someone tells me they are highly allergic I always ask them what their symptoms are and if they have a prescription for an Epi pen (which btw is  for two pens).

If after the discussion in our hypothetical, the neighbor is still very concerned but professes she and the two kids are apparently not allergic to the point of anaphylactic shock and feel comfortable enough with me keeping bees next door at least for the time being then, there you go.

You might end the conversation that if at some point they feel uncomfortable again about the bees to please call or knock on your door and we can then take appropriate measures.

If they realize you are a decent person and are concerned about their well being and have been properly educated about bees they may likely leave you alone but I bet in my scenario you will become great neighbors.

If for some reason they come forth again and politely inform you the bees are constantly in their hot tub (as they can see them coming right over your ten foot tall fence to their tub) and (even though they have developed a new appreciation for bees) are just not that into sharing their hot tub with the bees, then of course, the proper thing to do would be to tell them either you will immediately work on a solution or move the bees.

If its not approached like this, they likely will call the police, who will send out animal control, the mayor gets sent a letter, you get a bright orange notice on your door and everyone thinks you are an a-hole, bee keeper and may then stereotype all bee keepers as a-holes.

And let's not forget, you still will have to move your bees.

New bee yards are not impossible to find.


...JP
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edward
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 10:01:30 AM »

And what about all the other neighbors that are appreciative and want you to have your bees pollinate there gardens, and be able to buy local honey from there gardens?

So if I move out to the country next to some one that has horses or other livestock that I´m allergic to I should bee able to dictate the terms of what they are aloud to do on there property?

mvh edward  tongue
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Robo
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 10:03:28 AM »

I'd like to know what kind of person everyone thinks would even consider moving their family so close to danger, knowing their severe allergic conditions?


Amen!   I would think a responsible parent would move to a place that is safe for their children.  But then again personal responsibility is a thing of the past.  Now it is always someone else's fault.

Perhaps I'm a little bit harsh on this, but I have experienced too many similar issues.     I live in a very rural area of NY in the Catskill Mountains.   We have been inundated with NY city folks since 9/11.   They come up and buy a weekend house in the country because they want to get away from the big city and guess what?   The want to change it.   They want to say I can't cut down trees on my property,  I can't move rock walls, etc, and they have even had outdoor wood furnaces banned in some areas.  

With that said,  not all are like that,  I have met some very nice folks that appreciate our way of living and respect it.  Unfortunately there are enough bad ones to make then all get a bad rap.
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