Pet dogs and bees

by Becky
(Ft Walton, FL)

I am ready to buy a nuc - I'm a beginning bee person. I have a quarter acre for my backyard but I have 3 dogs

If I start out with two hives, do I need to fence all in because of dogs? Do I need to be concerned for my dogs?

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Hi Becky,

I'm going to essentially give you 2 answers.

The first answer is that the safest action would be for you to prevent your dogs from being able to get close to the hives.

If a dog were to get up close to the hive entrance, it's possible that it could be stung. It's highly unlikely that the sting would do the dog any harm. And it's also unlikely that it would receive a large number of stings. But neither scenario is impossible.

This shouldn't be a concern with your bees, but in areas where Africanized bees are prevalent, it's not at all rare for dogs and other animals to be stung to death due to the massive defensive response of these bees.

(And yes, there are Africanized bees in Florida. But the bees you'll be buying will NOT be Africanized - not if you're buying from a reputable supplier.)

So the safest thing would be to keep your dogs away from your bees.

Now here's my second answer: If it were me, I wouldn't worry about it. I've never had a problem mixing dogs and bees.

My current dog has no interest in my bees. And when I'm working the bees, she just picks a spot in the shade and waits for me to finish. That's the way it's been with every dog I've owned.

So what I would do is just keep an eye out when I first set up the hives, just to make sure that none of the dogs is overly interested in the hives. I wouldn't bother with a fence unless it appeared that there was going to be a problem.

But that's what I would do - not necessarily what you should do. :)

Either way, make sure that your bees have their own supply of water. Otherwise, the dogs and bees might be tangling at the dogs' water bowl - fence or no fence.

Good luck!

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