After reports that a resident complained he had been stung by a neighbor’s bees last month, two more residents have come forward to say they were stung by the same bees.
The residents spoke out at the Nov. 6 board of aldermen meeting to stress that the first complaint was not an isolated incident.
Robert Villery, 108 W. Park, told aldermen in October that he had been stung by a bee from a hive in the yard at 205 N. First St.
At that meeting, Mayor Steve Myers said the bee that stung Villery could have came from the woods in back of the houses, not the neighbor’s hive.
Carrie Adkins, 114 W. Bellevue, who said she was responding to the newspaper story reporting the bee sting complaint, said neighbors know exactly where the bees came from.
“It’s ridiculous to say the bee could have come from the woods,” she said. “This is not an isolated incident. There is not one bee that we don’t know where it came from.”
Although Pacific has no ordinance for residential beekeeping, Adkins said she talked with Alderman Ed Gass, who found an ordinance outside the Pacific city limits that permitted beekeeping, but only on three-acre parcels.
“It is common sense that in the city limits with only half-acre lots that is not enough room,” she said. “I have an elderly neighbor that I take care of. He could not possibly get away from these attacking bees. In the house next to Mr. Villery there are five grandkids that play in that alley.”
Adkins said the bees should be removed immediately.
“If you are going to make an ordinance, require three acres,” she said. “It is too dangerous to be kept where they are kept now.”
Helen Biedenstein said she had been stung three or four times in one day.
“Nobody in their right mind wants to live next to that,” she said.
Biedenstein said she could see no good reason for the city to allow residents to have bees in their yards.
“Our yards are too small for something like this,” she said. “They are a hazard. They are dangerous. They have already stung me several times.”
Biedenstein said she and her neighbors have kids.
“I’m very nervous as a parent that these bees are going to get hold of these kids,” she said. “If you allow bees at all, they need three acres to keep them away from people.
“As a resident I have a right to go out in my yard and water my ﬂowers without getting stung,” she added. I know they are coming from her yard because I have pictures. I know you don’t want your kids and grandkids living next to this. There is no good reason for you to allow bees in a yard that (are so close) I can literally stand from here to you when they are all buzzing around.”
Myers said he absolutely considered all the reported bee stings to be an isolated incident because the complaints were about one beekeeper’s bees coming from one location.
“That’s my definition of isolated,” he said.
Myers said he sincerely hopes that the complaints would not cause a citywide ban of beehives which, from what he is reading, would be unhealthy for the environment and unfair to beekeepers who are not receiving complaints.
The mayor said he had reached out for advice from some local beekeepers to help find the way forward with the present situation with (in his view) the isolated case of a complaint about bees. He said several area beekeepers are planning to attend the board of aldermen meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Darrin and Vickey Skaggs, veteran beekeepers, and others will attend to educate the board and those in attendance on the tremendous benefits and safe practices of responsible beekeeping, Myers said.