Re: Increasing the buzz in Oak Bay (News July 25).
Oak Bay residents should be encouraged to make homes and nest box areas for mason bees, bumble bees, and other native bees – all of which are excellent pollinators. However, hives for honey bees (which are not native bees as implied in your article) should remain limited to the very largest Oak Bay properties.
Approximately 20 years ago, the Oak Bay Star had a front page article about about a lady complaining about the bee poop from her neighbour’s honey bee hives. I didn’t think much of The Oak Bay Star article (my parents had a hive without problems in our huge back yard when I was young) until about two years later when I had a neighbour move in on a large property across the street and set up two legal bee hives.
Bee poop is nasty stuff. It is yellowish-brown, sticky oblong spots that are very difficult to remove. My windows, vehicles, sundeck – including on the far side of my house – were constantly coated with bee poop. Even my neighbours across the street on the far side of my house complained about their vehicles and windows being covered with bee poop (200 feet from the hives). Visitors coming to my house for a couple of hours on a sunny summer day were always asking, ‘what’s all that stuff?’ on their cars. Fortunately, this neighbour and the bee hives moved away after a few years, and since then I have had no problems with bee poop.
I am a gardener. I have mason bees and have many plants, bushes, and fruit trees that attract bees. I grow a large vegetable garden and have lots of flowers. I am glad Oak Bay is allowing smaller lots to keep chickens now (maybe in a few years I will get some). I even like seeing the visiting deer, though I have to go to extra work netting some plants, like my peas, and my scarlet runners are nibbled regularly.
I hope Oak Bay News will no longer encourage people to have honey bee hives in Oak Bay. Even Oak Bay’s current restrictions are not good enough if one’s property lies under the flight path to a nearby hive. Bee poop is a very serious issue.