One Pacific mother said her neighbor’s bees are stinging her family and she wants the city to do something about it.
“We don’t want to kill the bees, but we want them to be moved to a place where they won’t sting people,” said Kathy Lirette, who lives in Heritage Farms subdivision
Lirette presented photos of the bees to aldermen at the July 16 board meeting. She said the hives are located 50 feet from her backyard where she and her family spend a lot of time.
Lirette said she, her son Ethan, daughter Evee and the family’s two dogs have all been stung. Two of their son’s friends and the person who cuts their grass have been stung.
The family’s 1-year-old Chiweenie (Chihuahua dachshund mix) had an allergic reaction after being stung.
“The bees are attracted to clover that grows in our lawn so we see lots of them in our front and backyard, making it unsafe for any of us to walk barefoot around the pool,” Lirette said. “And the bees fly at us when we sit at our patio table, making it hard to eat and relax.”
Lirette said she and her husband are pro-bee. They do not want their neighbor to get rid of his bees, but to move them to an area that is not close to them or other residents.
The family shared their concerns with their Ward 2 Alderman Herb Adams.
Adams said he visited the property and witnessed the bees. He also said the city had previously been made aware of a similar complaint and had promised to craft a bee ordinance, but had never taken action.
In November 2018 neighbors of Dawn Metzger claimed that her bees had repeatedly stung them.
The mayor invited beekeepers to come to city hall and educate aldermen and the public about bees. The professional beekeepers did discuss the value of bees, but they also said they didn’t believe bees in Metzger’s yard stung the neighbors.
After three meetings where bees were discussed, the city vowed to craft an ordinance that detailed the keeping of bees in residential properties.
“But the city did nothing,” Adams said. “This time I am going to make sure that the city does something.”
Mayor Steve Myers said he’s offended that Lirette went to her alderman rather than calling him personally.
“I thought you were my friend. You could have picked up a phone and called me,” Myers said.
Lirette said she thought the family was following protocol by first talking to the neighbor then calling their alderman.
Adams said he was the right person to call. He said the city is made up of three wards and aldermen represent the people in their wards.
Adams also said the Lirettes had acted responsibly in trying to resolve a serious problem.
“They could actually spray the clover in their yard. The bees would land on the flowers and take the chemical back to the hive and kill all the bees in the hive. They didn’t do that. They’re trying to solve it,” Adams said. “If it had been me, I would have sprayed my yard.”
The city has a city ordinance that says beekeeping is only permitted in nonurban areas. City Attorney Bob Jones said anything that is not permitted is illegal, but other officials were unsure.
Myers said City Engineer Anna Hodge, who oversees the city’s code enforcement, said they will study the measure and report back to the board of aldermen Aug. 6.
The mayor also said he would study the transcripts of the November 2018 complaint to determine why no board action followed the complaint.