I'm loving our new backyard bees. They have been doing a brilliant job pollinating our vege flowers (the above bee is on a pumpkin flower). I was worried about how noticeable they would be in our small urban yard (it's only 10 m wide) and was particularly concerned that they may annoy our neighbours. But after the initial buzz when thousands exited the hive at once (they had been locked up all day for the journey here), they have all settled in and are hardly noticeable.
My initial focus has been on doing everything I can to make sure the bees don't annoy our neighbours (and probably more importantly that they don't annoy Daddy eco - he wasn't overly enthusiastic about getting the bees).
Here's a summary of what I have done to ensure we can have backyard bees AND happy neighbours:
Provide a source of water near the hive. Bees need a source of water and I don't want that source to be our neighbour's swimming pool, bird bath or their wet deck or footpath. So i've established a few water sources near the hive. At this stage they are just pot plant trays and a few other containers I had lying around.
I'd eventually like to set up a 'bee bath' similar to this one. Bees need a landing site such as rocks, sticks, or gravel protuding above the water. I'm using gravel at the moment. I'll be checking the water every day - because once they choose another water source there is little I can do to prevent them from using it.
Keep their initial flight path in our yard. The bees are most noticeable in the few meters in front of the hive (their flight path). So when choosing where to put the hive, we not only needed to choose a sunny north or north east facing position, we also needed make sure their flight path is in our yard. Our hive sits in the south western corner of our food garden area.
Check fence heights. Our fence has to be high enough near the hive so that the bees are above head height when flying over it. Our fence is just high enough, although it probaby should be a little higher to be safe, so we will eventually put up a trellis or screen to make sure our bees don't fly into our neighbours face if he is standing near the fence.
I'll wait a month or two before telling them.I bet my neighbours haven't even noticed the bees. I'll wait a month or two before telling them about our hive so that I can say "we've had them for 2 months...didn't you notice?"
Bribe them with honey. Probably most importantly, I plan to keep them rolling in honey. How can they complain then? I hope they like honey.