Beekeeping in the suburbs???

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by ellebeaux, May 23, 2005.

  1. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Virginia
    Hi, I need some advice -

    My first homestead plans are getting smaller and smaller by the minute as the realities of what I can afford sink in.

    Now I'm looking at a 750 sq ft, 2BR 1BA house on .25 acre for $138,000. Which is the absolute max I can afford here in Central Virginia. It's a great house, I really like it, with another 750 sq ft unfinished basement, A/C, a nice yard with a couple of big trees. It backs up to a baseball diamond so it is fairly quiet and the neighborhood is nice.

    My question to you is: Can I keep bees in the suburbs? I guess chickens are out, but I can still have a garden and I was thinking bees. I think if I put up a privacy fence, no one would know they were there, right?

    thanks,

    Beaux
     
  2. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1/4 acre in the burbs is not the place to be homesteading. While you may get lucky and have nice neighbors and no HOA covenants to deal with, that will change as people move.

    Yes, you can keep bees in your backyard. I know folks in town who do. BUT...when the complaints are lodged, be ready for the bees to go.

    Use a liquid smoker btw, don't draw attention to yourself with clouds of smoke.
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sure, physically you can keep bees in your backyard. We have several members of our local association who live in town and keep bees and they do very well with them- I remember a couple of years ago they all had really early honey, and lots of it, from all the landscaping plants, while the rest of us were still sitting around waiting for the crops to bloom, lol.

    But, you need to check to make sure that it is legal to keep them there as some municipalities have banned them.

    As far as the neighbors go, you can keep a low profile, never mention the bees, and they may never even know that you have them. I once lived on 1/4 acre in a subdivision and I had a garden and chickens. My lot was on a cul-de-sac and was narrow at the front, and the back yard was HUGE. There were a few large trees and some shrubbery and I could easily have kept bees there and no one would have known unless I told them. If there is not a naturally screened area you could build an enclosed area with some 6' privacy fence (as long as that is allowed- you really need to check to see if there is a HOA and what they allow, BEFORE you buy the place).

    Or, you could always find a place outside of town to keep your bees. Many farmers and/or gardeners welcome bees on their property for pollination- people ask me all the time if I can put a hive in their yard. No reason that you have to keep them at your own home, other than for your own convenience.
     
  4. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, you can keep bees in the city, 'burbs, wherever, as long as it's allowed by local ordinances. For the best information, find and talk to some local beekeepers. Here's a link to local beekeeping associations in Virginia. Call one that's near you - I'm sure they'd be happy to talk with you.

    http://www.ento.vt.edu/~fell/apiculture/vabees/vabees.htm
     
  5. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Indypartridge et al.!

    I tried to find an email address for those people but had no luck. I'll email the Virginia Tech guy tomorrow.

    Beaux
     
  6. WayneH

    WayneH Active Member

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    KY
    Even if you're local/city government doesn't ban beekeeping, if a neighbor complains about them you'll still end up losing the hives. Although you may be allowed to have them, complaints about them will fall under the nuisance laws. I would suggest sweetening up the neighbors with some free honey after you get the first complaint! You also might want to check with your home insurance policy to make sure that you are protected in the event that a swarm of bees land on your neighbors face!

    Wayne
     
  7. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    I would get them some free honey BERFORE the first complaint!

    just my two cents!

    justgojumpit
     
  8. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    :no: I sure wouldn't try to keep it a secret I had honey bees in my back yard if it were legal. Educate the neighbors first and formost. Promise honey when the first crop comes in. Have a back up yard where you can take the bees if a neighbor does complain. Keep a small rubber dish with small stones and water near by the hive/s for the bees to drink from rather than the neighbors pool.
    I had two colonys in my back yard. I was working in the front yard and heard this loud buzzing coming from the back yard and thought I might have a swarm in progress, Looking I found lots of bees in their orenation flight. The point is the buzzing was loud enough to get my attention from over 50 yards away and with the house as a noise block too. No hiding that from anybody with ears.
    Do the right thing and you will never have to look back and say I wish I woulda.
    :D Al