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Commenting article: British Couple Struggle in Bulgaria Bee Hell

DP - 15 Sep 2009 // 00:45:25


For what it is worth I like you to know that I sympathize with you. Generally speaking Bulgarians villagers try to be neighbourly, but only on their terms.

Good luck!

percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 00:45:26

Hello Buddy,
I agree there has been a huge problem with bees dying off and as I said I have no desire to kill them I DO NOT want that to happen, all I want and what my neighbours want is for the number of bees hives to get back to a reasonable level or to move them to a more suitable place where they will not be a problem. I can't understang what's so unreasonable about that???

NellieotAmerica - 15 Sep 2009 // 00:46:34


So, the man owns the land where his bees are parked? He did have 20 bee hives already there? I don't think you can get this man to do anything he doesn't want to do. Maybe he is waiting for you to offer him a bribe? Ask him how much would it take to move his bees away from your property?

percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 00:47:00


percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 00:53:09

NELLIE/O/A That was an option put to us BUT we were told that if we went down that road after we'd paid whatever was agreed there was nothing stopping him from moving the hives back again- it would have had to have been done on I don't think we'll be doing that !

Bill - 15 Sep 2009 // 01:07:23


"If it was me,..."

And you want to teach me English? :-p

NellieotAmerica - 15 Sep 2009 // 01:21:30


It sounds like your neighbor is obviously not one to compromise, but I don't know the details of the situation. You can check with the town hall and see if there is an existing bee-keeping ordinance. If there is, it usually states a limit to the number of hives you can have and their location according to the size of your property. Also there is usually a minimum distance that you have to keep them from neighbor's property line. I also believe that any decent beekeeper should respect the neighbors around him and work out a reasonable solution for all involved. Also, common sense should play a big part.

BGtrvlr - 15 Sep 2009 // 03:48:25

Welcome to Bulgaristan!

The 5th grade solution would be to find your own "bee-killing" method and play the game. Of course, being a Brit you'll likely get thrown in jail for 5-years afterward, but at least there you won't have to deal with the bees.

percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 08:18:18

NELLIE/O/A thanks for the link, I've read it before - it still makes me laugh though, the picture they have of hives in the countryside there's WAY more than that a matter of yards from my front door!!! We were told by a person of some authority that the Tundja Municipality have a set limit of 10 hives for people as a reasonable amount for a hobby- unfortunately that stops at the next village to us :-( Surprisingly Elhovo say you cannot run beekeeping business in a residential area (you'd think would end the matter wouldn't you? but even from there it gets silly!) apparently Elhovo do not see fit to limit the number of hives you can put next to your neighbours house I did ask them why they don't set an acceptable limit on the number of hives kept in a populated residential area, I mean by that acceptable to the bee keepers and the people who have to live near by. Surely they should be putting the safety and welfare of the people before the profit of a business that can be run from a different place- probably better suited in the open fields and countryside that all villages are surrounded by? I also asked if they haven't set the limit 'WHY' haven't they done that? other area's have, also WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO GET THEM TO SET A LIMIT? Still no answer, but as I said it was only submitted at the start of July! You mention common sense, being reasonable etc wish you'd come and explain those things to the chap with the beehives ;-)

percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 08:49:02

BGtrvlr- - - I rather like freedom thanks! Besides if I was to go to jail knowing my luck I'd get put in with something resembling the honey monster! As country hick said to me 'BEEHIVE YOURSELF'! :-))

countryhick - 15 Sep 2009 // 11:33:02

I think it is pretty much dis-allowed , burning rubbish...but everyone in the villages ignores it....burning filth on the streets is an offence in Bulgaria, but in your garden??...I can't say for sure.
Regarding the removal of bees...a bee-keeping friend in England had 3 or 4 hives in a patch of field he rented, and he told me that it is possible to "steal" or encourage a swarm away from the hive, and it often goes on....I don't propose that you nick your neighbour's bees, but, perhaps, "relocate" them. Failing that, ask the bee-keeping buffs in England the name of the insect that kills the bees...I think it's a wasp, but not sure.
The point is, that he is obviously being unreasonable for the sake of it...surely he could put them on another piece of land, or just reduce the number to that which existed when you came....If he did so, I am sure that you wouldn't need to resort to any certainly sounds like you don't want to.....YET

joe90 - 15 Sep 2009 // 13:17:49

it is highly probable that the owner of the hives is trying to drive you out of your home,i would bombard every government department in sofia with demands for answers as to why this person is being allowed to have so many bee hives in a populated area.why the local mayor is not acting to maintain the safety of the local residents from swarming bees.try the interior ministry,the justice ministry,health ministry,agriculure ministry etc.and ask for advice from the embassy in sofia.

NellieotAmerica - 15 Sep 2009 // 16:31:09


It has crossed my mind that this bee keeper is getting EU farm subsidies for his honey. He is probably getting reimbursed by the hive--the more hives, the more money he gets. Also, he may well be doing it on purpose, being resentful of you buying this house from his Bulgarian ex-neighbor.

There are plants that bees don't like, so growing these plants may keep the bees away. Mint comes to mind. Mint is very invasive and grows like a weed. If there was a buffer of mint between your yard and the bees, they may not come to your yard.

percy - 15 Sep 2009 // 19:57:27

NELLIE, "he may well be doing it on purpose, being resentful of you buying this house from his Bulgarian ex-neighbor" unfortunately the house had stood empty for many years, when we moved in we gave him the produce from the apple, slivie,cherry and quince trees as well some of the hazelnuts and walnuts, he was given free reign to cut and collect from a half acre of lucern (animal feed!) which he did fairly regularly and that was fine by us as it kept the garden looking better! I must admit he took (his family came and helped to collect) 40 or 50 of large white buckets of just slivie in the first year we were here (we do have a large garden) and he did give us a 2 litre bottle of home made riakia as a thank you ! We have taken out ALL the flower beds and cut back or removed a lot of tree we did as much as we thought resonable just so that there's less to encourage the bees into our garden. We really are at a loss as to what to do next just make the most of the winter at least when its really cold or wet there's no problem with the blasted bees !!
JOE90 so far we have written to the local Mayor (& seen in person) who nice though he is cannot actually do more than ask if in the interests of all if the hives could be move dand he obviously was not taken seriously, letters (petition signed by others bothered by the bees) have gone to the Elhovo Mayor and the Elhovo council, the Yambol Municipality, the forestry dept (who at least tried to help but have no power to do so, other than make him erect a mesh fence to deflect the bees flight path-which was done but SUPRISE the bees just fly up to go over then down once they're over the net !!! I think the net was put up under protest as if it wasn't done he would have been fined, don't think he would have offered to spend money to help solve the problem do you??) In the beginning I emailed the Ministry of Agriculture asking for help to resolve the matter or the details of someone who could help me, as it turns out (hive owners daughter in law is an advokat for them) and I never got so much as a reply ( I do not know if there is a connection there or not you have to make up your own minds on that!) The British Embassy in Sofia has been less than useless :-( It seems everyone thinks it's wrong but they can't/won't help, but they're all happy to suggest someone else who might be able to about passing the buck !

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