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Jenxy 

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Spent last night talking to anyone who would listen about my desire to keep bees, and was bought down to earth with a thud when I was reminded of the gigantic ant colony I have in my garden. I was told that they will dessimate my hive... albeit by a rather intoxicated listener that has no previous experience with bees...
He was right tho, I have nest upon nest in the summer. This house was built on the site of old pigsties and an orchard stood here decades ago... I think the ants must have been around then. When we dug the garden to put down a base for the shed, the sight of such a large colony of ants was almost biblical.
Every year my grandaughter insists I lift the stones from the wall so she can watch them carry there eggs underground...They are in the path, under the gravel, they crawl into the house, settle in the shed and march up and down many of the plants I have in the garden.
Am I going to have to forgoe putting a hive in my garden now?
Please don't advise me to exterminate the ants, they were here long before me and will remain long after I have gone, I just will not do it.... unlike my "kettle happy" neighbour.
Should I be thinking of another site?
 

admin 

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I use Boric acid in cheap asda jelly to feed them with,but if you dont want to exterminate them all you do is get 4 small empty paint tins or small plastic pails and put the hive legs in them,then fill with engine oil.

Problem solved...
 

Jenxy 

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That's a good idea....and one that has put my mind at rest.... now, any advice on how to deal with a neighbour that wants to kill anything that crawls, wriggles or flies around????
 

David P 

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Arsenic in his tea should work
 

admin 

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I agree with David, Arsenic is the stuff you need.:)
 

Jenxy 

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Unfortunately it's a "she" not a "he".. hence the squinny attitude to wildlife...
 

hedgerow pete 

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if you are struggling to find a supply of arsnic may i suggest some alternatives. nicotine very quick and unstoppable, not cigs but liqiud, massive high before kealing over or how about bringing a hive of africian bees home yes they can bee stroopy but very effective, if not i always find that a male jersy bull calf is just a viccous as the old lion or two
 

SteveH 

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Unfortunately it's a "she" not a "he".. hence the squinny attitude to wildlife...
How will your neighbour react to you having bees in your garden? I know a beek who kept bees in her back garden for years without any problems. But then new neighbours moved in and kicked up hell of a stink - the woman was scared of insects and was convinced she or her children would get stung. The beek ended up moving her bees to an out apiary.
 

Hombre 

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For this, you only need two paint tins, her two legs and a lesser quantity of engine oil. :)
 

David P 

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My apologies for starting the unhelpful if humourous responses.
I would say either pretend shes not there and hope she doesnt notice (difficult to do successfully)
Alternatively tell her what ya doing, point out the advantages to her garden, and promise her a few jars of honey. Unfortunately it doesnt matter what or who stings it it will always be your bees. If she can not be brought or bought round then look for an out apiary.
It sounds daunting but i was lucky and the first place i liked the look of and asked said yes please.


David
 

VEG 

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Where do you get boric acid from and what do you put it in to stop the bees getting at it?
 

Jenxy 

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I love the answers.... and I am having to think about the consequences of her realizing that I have bees in my garden..... I was hoping that I could move them in under the cover of darkness... or at least when she is out at work, maybe she won't notice.... too much.
I am sure she will kick off if she does.
Maybe I should spend this year learning and perhaps find somewhere else to keep them.... whatdya think??
 

Hombre 

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With one hive, I would put up a screen to force the bees up out of the way and to keep prying eyes out and then just go for it. I'm sure the neighbours wouldn't ask you before they got a cat that might poop on your lawn and dig up your seeds, or for that matter think you reasonable if you complained that you didn't like or were afraid of cats.

Live and let live. :toetap05:
 

grizzly 

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Hi Jenxy
i am in a similer situation, although terraced, 1 from the end, i have had an empty hive at the bottom of the garden for a month, the people to the left have yet to notice, and new neighbours will be moving in on my right next month.

I get on with my left hand neighbours so feel that i should tell them my plans, the hive is screened by bamboo and faces a 7ft fence in front of woodland. so i do not expect them to be buzzed.

As far as those to the right are concerned i will pretend the bees were there long before they were, if they have not already noticed.

I have ordered a NZ Banded Queen to go in the garden as i have been informed these have a super temperament and are probably the best type for any hives in a garden.
 

gavin 

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Hi Sweetums

Last spring I moved my bees out of the back garden after about 11 years there. In fact I have a colony back in there at the moment, and it is a strong one.

The garden is quite big (we have a detached older house) and the corner they are in has a big lawsons cypress (mine) and a large blockboard shed (his) before their garden opens out. Despite all that I only go in to the colony now on Sunday mornings when they are at church, if it is warm enough, or in the evenings. My neighbours on that side almost live in their garden.

I started with an Italian strain which was generally mild but built up a huge colony in its second year. In subsequent seasons their temper varied from mild to, once, a colony that I couldn't get into because of its temper (hundreds of bees bouncing off your veil was just too intimidating). So, bear in mind that you will have bees sometimes that are going to follow you all the way back to the house, and buzz your neighbours too if they are a few tens of metres away. The descendents of Italians could easily be like that.

The other things is that you will find it hard to avoid having strong colonies queenless from time to time. At that time, and also when the oilseed rape is fading if your bees reach that, you will have bad tempered bees no matter what strain you have.

If you are in a terraced house, I'd encourage you to find possible out apiary sites. Maybe your Italian NZ queen could see you through this first season without trouble (when you should definitely get your neighbours on-side with a couple of jars of honey), but I can see trouble ahead.

And stinging? They've stung me, and the wife, and one of the kids when they've been engaged in other duties in the garden once or twice over that period, and people remember that. And my neighbour turned from bee-friendly to bee-ambivalent when they stung him one day when he was cutting the hedge at the back of the garden.

I'd find another site, and use your garden temporarily when you need to move a colony away from the others for some reason.

Good luck!

Gavin
 

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I agree with Gavin,the New Zealand bees I have worked with are good bees, but as soon as you start going down the line they are buggers,I have had them follow and attack at over 200 yards!!!(yes 200 yards,thats 2 football pitch lengths) it took the best part of 10 minutes to get rid of them by going into a wood.

My tip would be that if you want them in the garden for more than one season then it would be best to requeen with another import rather than let them breed a new queen.
 

gavin 

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Yes, annual re-queening (with a locally produced selected strain!) or stretching to two years maybe is one option. Even then, how would the queen be introduced - nucleus method? Would there still be a queenless period?

From Admin's comments, you can see that your bought-in queen may well give you a calm colony while that queen is there, but the drones they produce may cause problems for the beekeeper a few streets away who goes down the sustainable (and traditional route) by raising their own queens.

I too have experienced bees that follow and attack for 100 yds+ - these ones were at an apiary at my workplace. Admin's comments on using a wood to shake them off ring true - I have often walked through the low branches of that Lawson's cypress to shake off the attentions of the bees. If they can stay close to your face they will follow for quite a distance, back to the house for example. My '100 yards' incidents were different - the bees came out to meet you over a big hedge and attack you at that distance.

I still think that your first season may be OK, but once your bees get tetchy it will be no fun worrying about your neighbours all the time.

all the best

Gavin
 

Hombre 

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Sounds like very good advice Gavin, keep the bees at the bottom of the garden for hands on observation etc, but be prepared to move them to an out apiary as and when they prove to be less than socially acceptable. Rotate in the next colony or at the very least maintain a couple of empty hives so that the neighbours think you have exceptionally well behaved bees most of the time. Then even if you only have bees in the garden one year in three, you will keep the neighbours guessing and have somewhere to store a limited number of supers while you chuckle to yourself.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Getting back to the Ants!

I am sure I read somwhere that they have been known to remove varroa mites?!
 

grizzly 

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Thanks Gavin/Admin
I might stick a Nuc at the bottom for a little bit, but not a full working hive.
I dont suppose its worth the risk, particularly with 7 houses being in a row, it may not just be my immediate neighbours who get scared, guess i need to wait for that lottery win in order to get a nice plot of land.

Back to the Ants

I noticed last year my three were being investigated by ants, so i stuck the hive stand legs in oil, but as others have said the container is better tall and narrow, as i used water trays from plant pots and with the large open surface area there were a lot of bee casualties, particularly on windy days. (so i removed them)
 

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