One of the biggest hurdles with semi-urban beekeeping is dealing with your neighbors.
When you tell people you are a beekeeper they will usually respond in one of two ways – “That is so cool, how did you get into it?” or “Why the hell would you want to do that?” Hopefully, if you are a beekeeper, your neighbors will be of the first type. Prior to getting my bees, I did inform our friendly neighbors, who responded with interest. The others, well, I decided it prudent to leave them in the dark.
One of the best ways to keep my bees from bothering nearby residences was to make sure their flight path would not be anywhere near them. I figured I could easily make the bees fly over the heads of our acquaintances by putting my hive on a flat roof on the rear of our house. One thing I didn’t expect however, was how visible that spot would actually be to my not so friendly Peeping Tom Neighbors.
With my first ever package of bees in hand, I carefully crawled up the ladder and onto the roof in my beekeeping spacesuit. I had my brand new hive all setup and the nervousness and excitement of installing my first package was pulsing through me. I opened the bees, dumped them into the hive and carefully placed the queen cage. A mass of confused bees was buzzing around me in every direction. I watched them with interest and a dash of fear. I had done it! I had installed my very first package of bees without getting stung!
In that moment of satisfaction, I suddenly realized I too was on display to all those around me. I guess there is no way to hide being a beekeeper when your houses are 20 feet apart. I watched my neighbors run inside and peer inconspicuously out their second story window. I watched as they stared at me in confusion and dismay while I finished up my beekeeping duties. I just smiled and waved, posing for them in my spacesuit, then my Peeping Tom Neighbors embarrassingly closed their curtains and ran away.