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50 hives in suburbia irk Auckland residents


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Complaining of poo on their cars/washing/windows etc, here. Dallas must be a bit irked himself but whaddya gonna do?

 

Beekeepers Sara and Dallas Russ are working to remove a large cluster of hives from an Onehunga paddock after complaints from neighbours.

Queenstown Rd resident Gerry Dillen and his wife discovered about 50 hives in a field across the road from their home while walking their dog about six weeks ago.

They soon realised the bees were the source of sticky yellow spots that had been appearing on their windows, cars and washing.

"It affects our quality of life. I don't want to have to keep washing the car to get bee excrement off it," Mr Dillen says.

Another neighbour, who does not want to be named, says he cannot open his windows during warm days because of the number of bees flying around.

His Queenstown Rd property backs on to the big Herd Rd plot which houses the hives.

"If you open the windows the bees fly in," he says.

Mr Dillen is allergic to bees and is concerned he or another vulnerable person will get stung.

He says one neighbouring woman was distraught when bees swarmed on her property. The swarm had to be removed professionally.

There were also reports of a swarm causing the closure of the garden section of a hardware store on Sunday.

Mr Dillen complained to the Auckland Council in early October, saying bylaws allow only one beehive to be kept on an urban property unless the consent of an officer has been arranged.

The bylaw also says hives are not to be sited in a way that will cause a nuisance to any person.

Beekeeper Mrs Russ says she was not aware of the disgruntled residents until she went to introduce herself earlier this month.

"I went around to a few of the neighbours to give them some honey and explain that it was swarming season, and not to be alarmed if they saw swarms," she says.

"That's when I realised people were unhappy."

 

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What did they expect dumping 50 hives in one spot especially as its in an urban area, this is what really peeves me about irresponsible bee keepers, all it does is make it difficult for all those that have a responsible attitude. One of them says she is an in school bee educator says a lot for her understanding of the interaction between bees and those that are ignorant of bee culture, she may love our little critters but most still have a basic fear of bees.

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What did they expect dumping 50 hives in one spot especially as its in an urban area, this is what really peeves me about irresponsible bee keepers, all it does is make it difficult for all those that have a responsible attitude. One of them says she is an in school bee educator says a lot for her understanding of the interaction between bees and those that are ignorant of bee culture, she may love our little critters but most still have a basic fear of bees.

Depends how far away it is from the houses, 50 is not that bigger yard provided there are no other hives within about 2km and there is enough forage to go around. But if they're only just over the fence you're asking for trouble

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People seem to have forgotten what it was like 10+ years ago before Varroa - bees everywhere, every flower that wasnt mown off the lawn had a bee on it, bees in the porch banging against the windows. I wasnt even remotely interested in beekeeping back then and I know there were a lot of bees around leaving yellow poo over cars and washing, swarms of bees were very common, either wild or hived bees. Yep people are getting a bit precious. And if you are allergic to bee venom - its the ones you dont know are there that sting ya!! keep an epi pen on hand.

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I have a landowner who moved into my area 3 years ago, 1 month after moving in, he started complaining, sometimes daily to the council, he does this every year at this time of year, [got the council call yesterday] he is across a valley of trees, more than 500 mtrs from the hives. This site has been running as an apiary for 20 plus years, though he think its another of my sites about 700 mtrs away through bush, that's because he know where I live as the local beekeeper and you can see them in my backyard, I haven't shared the info of the other site. He says they causes bee pooh on his car and windows of his house. I have offered window washing, car washing once a month, loads of honey. I moved hives one year off the sections and then back two weeks later to face a different direction, and this was in the height of a nectar flow.This year I'm not going to jump through hoop's trying to please him, I've said he can go jump.

Now the thing is the 20 yr old site is 5,000 sq mtrs, so if we take an average urban section of say 600 sq mtrs, with two hives as per some old council rules, just how many could I have?

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A quick look on google maps shows quite a bit of green space in the area but 1.5 million bees (50 hives average 30000 bees per hive conservative estimate) could be seen as excessive in a built up area. People may have forgotten how many bees there used to be but it doesnt mean they liked them back then

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I had 3 hives on my Mothers 1000m2 section in Waikanae, after 10 months a new neighbour saw the large number of flying bees and asked Mum about the bees over the fence (the hives were behind a screen) 2 days later the council visited. I moved the hives 10 km out of town onto a "10 acre lifestyle block" in the 10 weeks since I've got 2 upset "lifestylers" (townies that have big country houses) telling me to move the 3 hives out of their area. Moral of the story keep your hives out of sight.

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Lucky for me I've got understanding neighbours, even when one got stung last year. But if I get any more hives I'll have to put them up the hill away from the house, neighbours, and driveway. 10 or 12 hives is enough near the house.

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. Moral of the story keep your hives out of sight.

Yes. Good idea to camouflage the hives. Most people knows what a beehive looks like. If Weta can make Gollum out of polystyrene, make a tree stump or stone feature outer cladding. Good for winter perhaps or not as it might be too cosy and more feed required.

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I would argue that 50 hives is too many for any site. There's no way a beekeeper should have an apiary like this in an urban area. The only result will be complaints and negativity towards bees (which is no good for any of us).

 

While there are always some morons who have nothing better to do with their time than complain about a speck of bee poo to their local council but the vast majority of people are pretty happy to have bees around. A few well positioned (hidden from plain sight) hives in an urban section will most likely go completely undetected. As others have said, those that complain only tend to do so if they know the bees are there.

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Hmm... those compost bins that look like english-stye bee-hives (the one that look like they're clad with weatherboards) are pretty trendy at the moment, so maybe you can camoflage your hive by hiding it amoungst the compost...

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Have to say I have my hives next door to my shed which makes them about 20mtrs from the house, have been doing a lot of woodwork in the shed and I usually leave the roller door up which is right next to the apiary, last month when we had 11 hives (plus 3 temps) on the site I was actually stung on the face in the shed by a bee, then a couple days later again in the ear twice. We have moved half of them away as I think part of the problem was they were expanding at a rate greater than the available food sources. Have also had complaints from one of the neighbours, and we are rural, mind you he also complained about a stockyard of newly weaned calfs, and wouldn't see my reasoning that if he had his food source removed he'd cry out as well.

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A quick look on google maps shows quite a bit of green space in the area but 1.5 million bees (50 hives average 30000 bees per hive conservative estimate) could be seen as excessive in a built up area. People may have forgotten how many bees there used to be but it doesnt mean they liked them back then

I looked on google maps too :) , I was curious. It is a big area but I wouldn't put 50 there as it is especially built up. I think that if there are trees between the hives and the houses its not as bad as it lifts the flight path, but I think thats probably a 24 site not a 50 site.

 

I don't think 50 is too many for a site, depending on the circumstances, but usually I think about 39 is perfect, a truck and trailer load :D

We had one site with 100 on when the citrus was in full flower, and that was fine, but it was only briefly, and it was in the middle of ALOT of citrus with no other hives around.

 

I think in this case the houses were there before the bees, but it really makes me annoyed when townies move into the country and complain about the smell of #### :rolleyes: , its like come on bro, what were you expecting... you can't complain about something that has been working completely fine before you got there, you knew it was there, you moved, tolerate it, or move back to where you came from.

Thats just my little rant :lol

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You would think that as it was an operation prior to the complainer moving in the council would side with the beek. Guess not. I tend to agree that 50 hives in an even mildly urban area (lifestyle or more built up) is to many. I run 24s on farms/manuka blocks and 12s on areas with minimal floral sources or in lifestyle type areas. Seems to work alright.

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