Greater nuisances than honey bees buzz all over Hilton Head Island

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comAugust 9, 2012 

Hilton Head Island fancies itself to be a friend of nature.

Nothing could be more natural than honey bees -- like the ones a gated community has demanded an islander remove from his yard because they're a nuisance.

Indigo Run says Dr. Bedros "Pete" Markarian's beehive "is not in compliance with the governing documents."

He has kept a hive of European honey bees in his yard for five years, to his knowledge without incident, but he recently was given 15 days to remove it.

Since our news story ran last week, Markarian has been swamped with support, including several offers to take the bees or give him a place to keep them.

The soft-spoken, retired pathologist and Syracuse medical professor hopes for one more hearing before a property owners' board.

"I'm still annoyed," he said Thursday after his shift at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic. "It's such a short-sighted decision."

We've seen similar signs of life get stamped out before around here. We've had fights over chickens in Forest Beach, deer in Sea Pines and a bottle tree in a front yard off Spanish Wells Road. Once a man in Sea Pines was told to remove a bateau from his yard. He put seeds in it and called it a bird feeder, but that wasn't enough to keep him out of court.

Meanwhile, much greater nuisances than honey bees buzz all over the Lowcountry.

Cats devour song birds. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that cats kill up to 500 million birds a year in America alone.

Dogs in this county have recently mauled a child and killed a smaller dog.

Alligators eat pets, and a big one that had been fed by humans took a bite out of a visitor this spring.

Leaf blowers make more noise than an airport, and spit out more noxious fumes than a pickup truck.

Our lawns have enough fertilizer on them to glow in the dark, and sprinkler systems that run rain or shine.

Some of our ancient drivers can barely see, and can't hear the horns behind them in the fast lane, while younger ones go texting through traffic circles.

Copperheads adore our store-bought pinestraw, deer inhale our impatiens and everything else we plant, squirrels gnaw our houses, moles plow our fields, jellyfish inoculate our houseguests, Palmetto bugs rule our nights, golf balls pound our rooftops, mosquitoes carry off our young, heat melts our flip flops, humidity sucks the air from our lungs, rip tides roar off unguarded beaches, mold swallows whole houses, no-see-ums sting us into doing a jig, trees block our cellphone signals, Yankees tell us how it's done up North, and behind every gate lurks stacks of governing documents.

But the real nuisance is that hive of honey bees.


Follow columnist David Lauderdale at

Related content:

Indigo Run board orders beekeepers' hive to buzz off

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