Being a beekeeper is an incredible experience and opportunity. Still, it’s not always easy to know exactly how your pets and other animals will react to bees being on the property. In most cases, it’s not a significant change; however, specific animals might cause issues when it comes to your honeybees and their hives. There are many benefits of keeping both bees and traditional farm animals, but it’s not for everyone—consider this helpful guide to raising bees alongside pets and livestock.
Horses and Cattle With Bees
It’s no secret that horses and cattle deal with tons of pests on a daily basis, but bees don’t usually bother them. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about issues between them at all. In some instances, your horses or cattle might become false targets for bee aggression. When bees feel threatened, they might attack humans or animals nearby, even if they weren’t the actual cause of the threat.
Suppose another animal attacks and destroys your beehive—the bees might not realize who the actual culprit is. Instead, they attack whoever is nearby. Therefore, your livestock might become a target without doing anything to harm the bees. Luckily, livestock tails work as natural fly swatters that help them fend off multiple insects at once. For the best results, keep your livestock’s tails in their natural states to let them work at their full potential.
Livestock might be able to outrun a potential bee attack; allow them enough space to run away from insects.
Dogs With Bees
Dogs are some of the most common animals to experience bee stings or have negative bee encounters; however, it won’t take long before they learn their lesson. You’ve probably seen your pup lunge after a bee or another insect. It only takes once for them to learn that they never want to do so again—especially if they trap the bee in their mouth.
If you keep your dog on a tether or in a confined area, they’re less likely to be able to run to escape a bee attack. However, you might not be able to trust your pup to stay on the property without confinement. If you must keep your dog on a tether or in a confined space, be sure to keep them far away from your beehives to ensure their safety.
This separation is especially important if your dog has a bee allergy. In addition to keeping physical space between your bees and dogs, you can also use insect repellants or essential oils on your dogs to ensure the bees leave them alone.
If a bee does sting your dog, swelling and pain are common and not cause for extra concern. However, you should take your dog to the vet if you suspect a severe allergic reaction. Here are some signs your dog might have a bee allergy:
- Excessive swelling in the face, neck, or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Passing out
Chicken Coops and Beehives
You might think chickens would be a huge threat to your bees, but that’s not always the case. In fact, your chickens probably won’t have much interest in the bees or the hive. As a result, chickens and bees tend to coexist pretty well. In some cases, chickens may get brave enough to seek out honey from the hive, and your bees will most likely attack them with stings to protect their colony.
This interaction is relatively uncommon, but placing your chicken coops and beehives on opposite ends of the property might be a good idea to eliminate the chances of any encounters. Alternatively, simply placing barriers between the two groups may be enough to keep them contained.
How To Keep Everyone Safe and Happy
As you can see, there‘s not much to worry about when it comes to keeping bees, pets, and livestock together on the same property. Many people think they have to choose one way or the other, but that‘s certainly not the case. Still, being as prepared as possible is helpful. Read on for a few final tips on preventing unpleasant situations between bees and other animals.
Avoid Confining Pets Near Bees
Pets are an important part of your family, so you don’t want them to be an unnecessary target for bee attacks. If you confine them in an area close to the apiary, there’s a higher chance they’ll be the victim of an attack. With that in mind, try to keep your pets’ area away from the bees. For example, your dog should be closer to the house, while your beehives can be at the farthest section of your property.
If you don’t want to worry about confining your dog, consider working on perimeter training to ensure they won’t leave the property. This way, they’re free to run away in the event of a bee attack.
Put a Barrier Around the Beehive
One of the easiest ways to keep your bees and animals safe from each other is to put a barrier like a fence around the hive. Because bees can fly, they’re able to get around a fence to reach the hive entrance. But it won’t be as easy for grounded animals to access the hive area if there’s a fence around it.
If your animals leave the bees alone and don’t get too close, bees are less likely to feel threatened and will likelykeep to themselves. Putting a barrier around the hive can ensure this peaceful coexistence occurs.
Give Everyone Ample Space
There’s nothing wrong with having bees, pets, and livestock on the same property, but you should make sure you have enough space to do so. The apiary shouldn’t be too close to any other pen, barn, or pet area. In fact, you should consider putting it in the least trafficked section of your property.
Bees can care for themselves for the most part, so they don’t need to be in the center of all the commotion. However, pets and livestock need more immediate attention, so you should keep their designated areas closer to the house.
Now that you have a guide to raising bees alongside pets and livestock, you can look into mite-resistant bees for sale to start your apiary. Bees are incredible insects that keep to themselves unless provoked—most pets and livestock can comfortably coexist with these hardworking girls.