You can keep bees in most areas with very few problems, even in a city.
Your bees will find enough pollen to feed them and produce a delicious honey crop at harvest. If you want to keep bees in a populated area, you will need to know three basics.
- bee biology,
- property rights, and
- human psychology.
Bee Keeping and People
Beekeepers in the suburbs and cities need to manage their bees so they do not create a problem for the neighbors. Measures can be takes to alter the keep the bees from becoming a nuisance to other people.
To do this we need to understand the circumstances, which cause bees to bother other people.
A bee’s flight pattern is one of the ways bees can be a problem for other people. When the bees leave their hives to gather food, they will fly 3-4 feet off the ground. You can prevent them from crossing paths of people walking in their flight path by planting a hedge or building a fence at least 6 feet tall. This forces the bees to fly above the fence. The hives can also be placed on the rooftop, which starts them out flying at a higher level than most people walk.
Fence, hedges, and rooftops also provide seclusion, which is very important. By keeping bees out of sight they will not be the target of vandalism or theft, also keeping bees out of sight will alleviate worried neighbors.
If you live in a congested area, a top entrance bee keep is probably not a good idea, especially during the summer. When ever a hive with a top entrance is opened and hive bodies moved, hundreds of confused bees will be flying around because their entrance is gone.
This will likely worry you and your neighbors. By providing only a bottom entrance, and working from the side or from behind the hive, the bees are not impeded from flying home even when all the upper boxes are removed.
A bee only stings as a defense mechanism.
An Interesting Story from Days Long Ago…
There is an account (in an old bee keeper’s journal I have) of a man who had watched a natural bee line heading towards a farmhouse. The gentleman followed the bees to the house, then questioned the farmer about his bees.
The farmer stated that although he kept no bees, he had plenty of raw honey. A swarm of wild bees had taken over of his chimney, and another swarm had gone under the clapboards in the gable end of the house. He had taken a large lot of raw honey out of both places the year before.
Now that is easy beekeeping!