A family of dog lovers were devastated after their 15-month-old German shepherd died as a result of receiving over 100 bee stings.Just an unforeseeable accident?
Sara had been let out into the communal gardens by Mrs Keeley Connolly, but the dog strayed into a neighbour’s garden and into an area where bees were kept.Now, yes, the dog should have been supervised.
But whenever I’ve seen a beehive on communal or public land (Kew Garden’s hive springs to mind) it’s been fenced off. Indeed, this is considered sensible and ‘good practice’ by the BBKA themselves:
“The area should be fenced from livestock which may kick over hives.”Or dogs, or toddlers straying in from a communal garden…
Now the family have handed in a petition with over 700 signatures on to have the bees relocated.That seems excessive. Surely after this preventable tragedy, the beekeeper would want to do everything in her power to correct the open access to her hives?
“The petition says we are not an anti-bee campaign, we just want them moved somewhere else,” added Keeley.
Beekeeper and neighbour Sue Mowforth said that she sympathised with the family as until last year she had a dog which died of old age and knew what a wrench losing one could be.So, are you planning to remedy this by implementing the BBKA guidelines, Mrs Mowforth?
“I understood her pain because dogs do get to be part of the family,” she said.
Or perhaps get together with the communal garden owners to discuss joint payment for fencing?
“I understand what it’s like to lose a dog, but it should not have been trespassing in my garden.Ah. No. I see you are simply going to stick to your guns and claim it’s everyone else’s responsibility to protect themselves from the potentially deadly consequences of your hobby…
“My garden has never been fenced off from the communal garden.
“If they were worried about the bees they should have made sure their dog was monitored and didn’t trespass in my garden. ”
“Bees don’t attack, they defend. “The dog had pushed one of the hives nearly off its concrete blocks.Well, yes, they are just insects after all. That’s why it’s incumbent on the people who want to keep them to take precautions.
“The bees were only defending their home. That’s why it got stung.”
Precautions you haven’t bothered to take, because – clad in your Cloak of Eco-Righteousness – you are exempt from such mundane niceties:
“And we need bees – I’m sure you know how much good bees do in nature and how much we rely on them in our farms and gardens.Oh, of course! What’s a dog’s life, compared to that?
“I feel I’m helping the environment by keeping them.”
Should the neighbours be prepared to sacrifice a few more dogs to your Bee God? Maybe a first-born child or two?
“And although I’ve only had them for two years, I am a member of Andover Bee Keepers’ Association, done the courses, read the literature etcetera.Hmmm, maybe. I wouldn’t like to live anywhere near you, though.
“In other words I’m a responsible bee keeper.”
It seems you’ve forgotten the first rule of beekeeping, as outlined in that BBKA document:
1. Consideration for the public.Where’s your consideration, Mrs Mowforth?
The general public are often ignorant and frightened of insects. If they
become alarmed about the presence of bee hives, their complaints can
result in your bees being considered a ‘nuisance’ with the consequent loss
of apiary sites for yourself and other beekeepers.
Bees establish regular ‘flight paths’ en route to adjacent forage. Enclosing
an apiary with hedges or a trellis to lift them above head height is good
practice. This also reduces the visibility of beekeeper activity.
Avoid sites which border roads or public paths especially bridleways,
where mounted riders may pass.