Stung by neighbourhood dispute
WHEN Dinmore woman Susan Borkowski and her family moved into their new home nine months ago, she did not realise she was putting her family's health at risk. But the danger comes not from the house or anything in it, it comes in the form of an airborne invader belonging to one of her neighbours. Ms Borkowski said she learned her 15-year-old son Michael was allergic to bees after he was stung last week and had to be taken to hospital. "The doctors said they can't tell until the third time you're stung how allergic you are but they said the next time Michael gets stung it could be fatal," Ms Borkowski said. Allergic herself, she said she approached a neighbour who owned numerous hives to ask if he could do something about the insects but he denied it was his bees which were responsible, even though the hives were kept on vacant land which runs behind the houses. When contacted by The Queensland Times, the beekeeper said he was registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) and had received permission from the landowner to keep his bees there. However, the current owners of the land, Peter and Lorraine Freckleton, said they had never given permission for anyone to keep bees on their property and would like them to be moved if they were causing problems. "If you've got something that's causing a problem then it needs to go but you can't put a boundary around a bee so he may have to find a property a little further away," Mrs Freckleton said. Ms Borkowski couldn't prove the bee that stung her son belonged to her neighbour, as there were many bees being kept and living wild in the area. Division 4 councillor Trevor Nardi keeps bees himself but said his were the stingless native variety. He said council's hands were tied by the DPI&F's code of practice which he believed to adequately cover urban beekeeping. "At the end of the day you're allowed to keep bees at home, it's either accepted or it's not, maybe it's a good debate," Cr Nardi said. However, he admitted it was a catch-22 situation because even if the beekeeper moved his bees back onto his property, it would not restrict their movement as bees forage for several kilometres. This is little comfort to Ms Borkowski, however, who wanted to know what her next step was if council and the DPI&F would not intervene. "I've rang and (the DPI&F) won't come out and the police said we had to prove the bees were his," Ms Borkowski said. "They said we'd have to kill the bee that stung you and do a DNA test ? how do you do a DNA test on a bee? "If we can get them off the property and he moves them onto his yard then we'll see how we go." Failing that, she said she would have no choice but to apply for a new housing commission house. "I'd have to leave if he won't move the bees because I'm not losing my son's life over this."