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Trouble with malicious neighbors – need suggestions!

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Trouble with malicious neighbors – need suggestions!

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Tyson Kaiser 5 years, 3 months ago.

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    Clare Sassoon

    Hi group! I’m a relatively new beekeeper (last April I got my first hive – feral swarm) and have been fortunate enough to get some excellent help from Susan Rudnicki, HoneyLove, and many others in LA. My hive went from a few frames to 3 medium boxes about 80% full now, and leveling off in terms of growth for the year. “My” bees are doing great! There’s a full box of brood at all stages in the bottom box, a mix of honey and brood in the middle box, and straight honey in the top box. I have been able to manage the space pretty well, keeping them snug, but not too crowded. The temperament of the hive has been pretty mild, even in the busiest part of the season during peak flow. None of my neighbors has complained about being stung, and they’ve been very supportive. There’s been very little of moth/hive beetle problems, so far.

    BUT, I now have a new neighbor who I had a boundary dispute with and they’ve responded with a malicious lawsuit saying my bees stung them both, and caused them both to need medical attention and expensive medications! There are no flowering plants in their yard at all; they have grass in the front, and just plain dirt in the backyard, no trees, or anything that would attract a bee. I know it’s just made up, and I’m not too concerned about the lawsuit part (my husband is an attorney).

    The part I am concerned about is that today, an inspector from LA City Dept. of Building and Safety (Pedro Rivera out of Westchester) came by to let me know someone had complained about being stung by my bees, and did I have 3 hives in my yard? I said no, I had one. They wanted to photograph my hive, and I refused. They said they might be back with an order allowing them access to my property to photograph the hive. What is the situation in LA regarding bee keeping? Does anyone have any advice for me, in terms of dealing with the city? I took Ceeb & Susan’s advice and registered my hive with the County of LA.

    What can I do? Thank you in advance!
    Clare Sassoon



    Sorry to hear it Clare, it’s truly unfortunately we live in such a litigious country. The first thing you need to do is check how your property is zoned. If you’re in a commercial, industrial, or agriculture zone then you’re allowed to have bees and I think they need only be 5ft from the property line. If you’re in a residential zone, then check your district here: If you’re not in one of these zones or districts, then please join us in supporting the immense effort Rob & Chelsea have put into legalizing urban beekeeping at the next council meeting. Hope to see you there.



    Rob McFarland

    Hi Clare,

    Unfortunately, we’re still in the process of getting beekeeping legalized in Los Angeles, so the law is technically not in your favor. We’re working to change that, but in the meantime we don’t have much recourse if our neighbors object to our hives. Seems to me that the stings are unlikely to have happened, and their lawsuit is probably a result of the property dispute.

    Not sure what to advise you. On the one hand, laws in several places have changed because someone was brave enough to refuse to get rid of their bees, but on the other hand, I’m reluctant to make waves when we’re so close to achieving legalization.

    Keep us posted on what happens and what you decide.




    Clare Sassoon

    Thanks for the responses.
    I checked out the HoneyLove resource page and saw an opportunity to join a couple of other Beekeeping groups in the area (and yes, I signed the petition too). I really like the treatment free approach, and I’m concerned that these other groups will be hostile to me. This whole urban beekeeping movement is gaining momentum, but also is in flux, so I’m not sure what the beekeepers “must do’s” are regarding LA County and treatment of hives. Anyone have any thoughts?


    Tyson Kaiser

    The city has the ability to demand that hives be removed in three days or face a fine. I would be prepared for that eventuality if i were you. I’d love to hear how this works out, please keep us informed!


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