Bees and Lavender

We’ve had quite a few amazing bee and lavender peeps on the forum and I just wanted to make a space so I can soak in all that goodness.
Drop some knowledge on us! Throw your big brags in there!

I don’t really have anything brag worthy. Bought some seeds from India and grew them indoors. I have a spot for them outdoors if the rain will stop long enough. I need to get a load of rock as well. Clay doesn’t exactly drain very well. Image is from this post here.


I have managed to stay 100% on-topic (for once)


Anti cat measures to stop the neighbour’s numerous cats climbing over the fence and crapping in our vegetable beds. Cats apparently don’t like the smell of lavender and the bees form a physical deterrent stopping them using the post caps to avoid the spikes.

So far it has been 100% effective, prior to installing they would cover every square inch of bare soil in a couple of weeks. We heard from our cleaners (that also clean the neighbour’s house) that they now have a problem with cats crapping in the house.

I must point out that we own both fences. We left our old one in place because the neighbours had built on to it.


Well that’s just perfect! How long have you been raising bees and how would you recommend someone else get into it? I personally don’t think I want to start until I take a class or go to a meeting. I’m afraid I’ll kill them by accident if I don’t.


we’ve talked about getting into beekeeping, but the city has banned it just like anything else of interest to urban homesteading. we might go ahead anyway; our neighbors are cool.

can’t do chickens, either; i’m sure it’s a matter of time before we get dinged for putting food plants in the front.

@palmercr i would have found the cleaners’ story so gratifying, hahah. they clearly don’t care for the cats properly. it’s interesting about the fence; here, if you build a fence on the property line it becomes jointly owned by both property owners regardless of who paid/built it.



i just picked this up yesterday. we have a few other lavenders going but this is a new variety for me. it’s called kew red and will bloom with dark red-purple and pink flowers, instead of the usual, well, lavender-colored ones.

what really drew me to it was the smell, though; it’s more complex than the other lavenders we have and has an almost sweet edge to it. really nice.

we have some more (i can’t remember this variety but i think it’s one of the “standard” ones) growing in a planter on the front porch along with some very spicy smelling cousin of thyme and some sweet potato vines.


The fence in question was there long before the neighbours house existed. There was another fence behind enclosing the land that they bought. They removed that and paved up to the base of ours and hung their gate from the back of our post. We didn’t mind and we get on well with them, but not their cats, some of which are strays they feed. It didn’t used to be a problem because our other neighbour had a dog that would go bonkers if it got a sniff of cat. Unfortunately it got old and could only croak instead of bark and then died. I don’t know if that is where the expression croaked comes from.

Who owns a fence is defined by the deeds to the house / land registry here. It can be either party or shared ownership on party boundaries.

Since we have effectively orphaned it and don’t intend to maintain it I expect it will become theirs over time. I expect when it needs renewing (which wont be long because the panels are 18 years old) they will knock it down and use the back of ours again. So we will have given away about 8" of land.


i can understand if you don’t want to bother, but i’d honestly recommend putting up permanent border markers, like some stones embedded in the ground, so that legally you can prove your borders should something come up. again, i only speak for local codes, but here if you let your neighbors encroach like that, they can legally seize the land after a period of time and it becomes part of their permanent parcel.

And if/when you sell the property (or they do) things like that can get expensive fast. (Once had to have a surveyor come to figure out just how deeply we could sink anchors into party walls.)

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Yes it will become theirs legally after a period of time but we don’t mind as it is a tiny fraction and we have built raised beds up to the fence, so will never use that sliver. Plus as you can see our new corner post is a foot past the old one, so we have grabbed a long this sliver down the full length of the garden, about 30m.

That is because the mining museum behind put a new fence up and left a foot gap of no man’s land that filled with weeds. So they abandoned a bit of land, just like we have. That was a long time ago, so they will have lost legal claim to it and new houses have fenced right up it. We just followed suit.

It’s all a bit fluid in our village. Our deeds did not match reality when we bought the house 23 years ago and our solicitor advised us not to buy it. We just ignored him and the deeds as we liked the reality.


Although there are disadvantages to CT (don’t get me started), the state and local governments are very bee-friendly due to the publicity around our issues with die-hard. Even the cities tend to allow rooftop and backyard (if you have one) bee keeping. Even the mayor of the state capital is looking to raise a bee colony (he’s also got 3 chickens I think :grinning:).


that’s great. unfortunately the council here is extraordinarily accommodating to nimbys.

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One of the great things about being a (near) native here (my family goes back 300 years) is when people make those kind of exclusionary arguments at town meetings I’ll often stand up and point out that if my ancestors, parents, grandparents or even I myself had that same viewpoint none of them would be allowed in town so why do they think it’s appropriate to pull up the figurative drawbridge now that they’re here.

Usually does not result in anything but mumbles and we move on.


here it’s regrettably about who can shout the loudest, it seems.

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[quote=“Brandon_R, post:4, topic:8591, full:true”]
How long have you been raising bees[/quote]
I have kept hives for the past 5 years now.
Started with 1 and then added another 2 years back.
1 hive looks after all our basic honey needs, the second hive gives me spare honey with which i can make mead but also give as gifts to the neighbours (‘to keep them sweet’ is the apt Aussie expression)

I got into it by taking a 2 day bee-keeping course on a whim.
I loved it, loved the bees and never looked back.
As an ABSOLUTE minimum you should consider going to the local beekeepers club; they will give you the basic knowledge but i highly suggest a formal course. Things don’t go wrong often with hives (at least in Oz) but when they do they go bad quickly

The only way ‘you’ can kill them is by neglect. The best way to think about a hive is that it is a single living organism with a multitude of individual parts… like our own bodies except their ‘cells’ can go off on their own. However almost all the controlling is done by a single ‘brain’ = the Queen.
Like any body it gets sick from time to time and can regulate that sickness… but when it gets too sick then it falls apart.

In Australia the biggest problems are American Foul Brood (AFB: a notifiable disorder) as well as the migration of Small Hive Beetle to the south thanks to Climate Change. Both of these can wipe a hive out, with AFB it is almost a certainty.
In the USA you have Veroa Destructor, AFB, Hive Collapse Syndrome and the extensive use of neonicotinoid pesticides (which are like Nerve Gas to bees) as well as the cold winters in some parts. I would not like to look after a hive against these challenges without some knowledge and support.


In Australia more hives are kept (and to be found in the wild) in an urban setting than in a rural setting… but Australian population density is centred completely around cities so that might explain it. Anyone can keep bees anywhere as long as they are registered.
I know of a bloke in Canberra, lives right in the suburbs, he has 60 hives in his small backyard (600m2, or an eighth acre). He keeps his neighbours happy by supplying them all with free honey.

I know of another keeper who had one of ‘those’ neighbours and to keep the peace he “got rid of his hives” - that is to say he moved his hives into his garden shed, attached a pipe from the hive entrance to the outer wall and the bees went on without even noticing the difference. The neighbour could not see the bee hive and suddenly stopped noticing the ‘swarms’ that they seemed to fear daily.

The biggest problem with keeping bees in the 'burbs is that bees need a decent amount of clean water every day. If you dont supply it then they go looking for it… pools, spas and birdbaths become clustered with bees who just want a drink. I use a Chicken’s water feeder next to my hives to provide their water and no neighbours have ever complained… in fact most neighbours are amazed how much the bees cause their gardens to explode with productivity



we’re pretty good about providing; our backyard is pretty clearly a zoo, haha. i’ve heard that before about the water.

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Some Boulder County (Colorado) beekeepers reported hive mortality of 80% this past winter. Usual for this area is more like 5-10%, 20% in a really severe year. :cry:



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It is really sad.
Currently our Nuc Breeders (i.e. they breed a Queen and a nucleus of Workers for head-starting a new hive) are exporting ~90% of all their product to the USA.
Some areas/crops that are most reliant on bees are lucky to keep a hive alive for a year.

This is nightmare-level concern for the ecosystem but gets very little media-attention