beekeepers infrequently asked questions

“How do I kill my neighbor’s honey bees?”

This is an open letter to the person who looked for the answer to this question on my website:

Dear Angry Person,

In case you hadn’t noticed, the world population is edging toward 7 billion—that’s a 7 with nine zeros after it. Among these people are a whole lot that don’t like each other, and many who don’t like anything at all.

I don’t know what your problem is, whether you dislike bees, have an allergy, or don’t like your neighbor. But whatever the problem, you are definitely taking the wrong approach.

Talk to your neighbor about the problem or, if you can’t do that, talk through an intermediary. Go to a lawyer if you must, but do not try to kill your neighbor’s bees. You will only make your problem worse.

I have had neighbor problems in the past (nothing to do with bees) and I know it can be frustrating. The thing that helped us prevail, however, is that we stayed on the right side of the law. We let our neighbor do the dirty tricks, the trespassing, the theft, the stalking, and the slander. By the end, even his own lawyer didn’t believe him. Hard as it may be not to retaliate, it is the only thing a reasonable, productive member of society can do.

I guarantee that no one will look at you favorably for killing someone else’s bees. You just make yourself look stupid.

So go find someone to help you resolve this problem through negotiation. If your neighbor is in the wrong by keeping bees where it is not allowed, he will have to do things differently. If he is doing nothing wrong, then you are the one who will have to change. Get used to it. Get a life.



  • Also, it’s apparently against the law to kill a beehive in Washington! (and maybe other places that care about agriculture?)

  • Kill honeybess? They pollinate 90% of crops in the entire world…without them the US would be limited to a diet of…wheat, rice, and corn. Farming would be astronomically expensive as crops would need to be “hand pollinated.”

    If for some reason they are bothering you…why not ask your neighbor to relocate them (aka have a grown-up type of conversation) or better yet… why not do some research and change your attitude. You might realize the importance of honeybees in the world and locate a few hives on your land to help increase the bee population. In the US the honey bee has decreased 90%. Europe has already realized the catastrophic effects of this…but the US lags behind.

    In addition, research what Einstein said about how when the honeybees die-off humanity would follow “4 years later” due to severe food shortages.

    Now go pat your neighbor on the back for doing a good deed for humanity … and that includes you.

  • You are a moron! If you do (kill your neighbor’s bees) there is a real big fine and a jail sentence in store for you.

  • Yeah, and it is NOT OK for a neighbor to terrorize others with their hobbies or business. The bad and entitled people who think they can put their desires onto others is disgusting! Kill the bees if they are in your yard. Bad neighbors are the biggest problem. Really, just because YOU like something doesn’t mean it can’t KILL SOMEONE ELSE!!! It’s time for people to stop valuing BEES MORE THAN PEOPLE!

    • Annabella,

      If we don’t start valuing bees more, in the future there won’t be any people. Humans cannot survive without bees. By the way, do you believe you have rights your neighbors don’t have? Wow.

  • Guess some people are uneducated or just suicidal when it comes to not understanding that bees help us literally produce 90% of our food. Now that they are on the endangered list I hope everyone that kills bees in ignorance gets major fines and or imprisoned at the fact that you are hurting thousands of others by killing even one hive.

  • The problem is….the bees are in the siding of his house and its been almost a month since he’s been notified about the swarm….my problem being they are 10 feet from my house and mowing season starts now…I informed the idiot but he’s a moron and doesn’t care. Who knows if they are honey bees or African bees..I’m in central Texas. So what do you suggest I do for my problem all of you honey bee lovers. I want to spray the little !&#/ with wasp spray. What say you

    • Mark,

      You don’t want to spray poison on your neighbors property because that is illegal. Not only is it trespassing, but spraying poison on his house will cost you in court. You may end up paying for his kid’s college education. Just ignore the bugs. They are not yours. If they are causing you a problem, file a complaint.

  • So, a friend of mine has a neighbor who has two hives on his quarter acre lot. My friend”s windpipe swells shut if he is bitten by a bee. The neighbor just says that bees are non aggressive. Not his problem. My sister lives on the other side of this guy and has been stung four times in the last year. Not once in the 25 years before these hives appeared. My allergic friend should die because bees should be allowed in dense urban environments? How about allowing hives in areas where crops grow but not where people get hurt or Killed? Don’t say get an epipen…have you seen the cost for those? The city won’t enact an ordinance. My friend is preparing a lawsuit.

    • Bob,

      Well, I say carry an epipen. His life isn’t worth a few hundred dollars? The reason is simple: even without beekeepers, urban areas are filled with stinging insects, including bees and wasps that don’t live in hives and are not managed by people. Good luck with the lawsuit. Even if someone gets stung, it is extremely difficult to know what kind of bee did the stinging, and even if you figure out that part, it’s hard to know whose bee did the stinging, or if it was a wild bee. Honey bees can easily travel five miles, so it is virtually impossible to tell where the bee came from. If beekeeping is legal where your neighbor is keeping bees, your friend really doesn’t have a case. No, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been an expert witness in death-by-insect-sting cases. They fall apart when you start trying to prove whose bee it was, or even if it was a bee.

      If you think epipens are expensive, wait till you get the bill for a lawsuit.

  • An epi pen is just the first step in an allergic persons fight for life after a bee sting. It isn’t an instant cure or fix. This is serious stuff.

    • Joe,

      That may be so, but with 20,000 species of bees in the world and 75,000 species of wasps, added to a large number of stinging ants, why wouldn’t an allergy-prone person carry one? As you say, it’s a first step. People are much more apt to be stung by wasps than by bees, but people mistakenly believe everything that stings is a “bee.”

  • An allergic person should, indeed, carry one and many people do. That’s why there was such an uproar over the huge price increase for epi pens. That’s not the point. The point is, allergic people can be seriously hurt or even die as a result of insect stings, wasp, bee or whatever. They will incur substantial medical bills and they will also suffer significant pain and injury. It seems this very real problem is minimized and overlooked. The guy with the allergic friend has a valid point.