Across this country and others there’s a shift happening.  Ages ago farming was a part of every person’s life and then more recently that shifted and growing food and gardening was no longer a part of the average person’s routine.  Now in many parts of the world there’s a shift to relearn our food roots, where food comes from and, when possible, participate in the food system more fully.

In the US more and more people want to keep bees and cities and towns are responding to these requests.  In some places keeping bees has just become legal.  New York City just recently lifted a ban on beekeeping, allowing city residents to keep hives legally.  Sadly however other communities have not overturned outdated laws.  Polo, Illinois recently denied a measure that would have allowed beekeeping in the city limits.

In most cases the justification for not allowing beekeeping comes down to people’s fears over bees.  Often people confuse honey bees with wasps or hornets and thus expect that they’ll be bothered by bees every time they have a barbecue or picnic (honey bees are not attracted to meat).  Other times people are concerned about allergic reactions to bee stings.  That said, only 0.5% of children and 3% of adults will actually experience anaphylaxis from a bee sting.  If you’re part of that small percentage however it’s fair that you’re concerned.

So what’s the reality of the threat?  If you’ve watched our Beyond the Basics beekeeping video you know that there are beekeepers who are allergic to bees and they simply take precautions to keep from getting stung and to minimize the issue if they are.

In my personal experience my neighbor is allergic and while she was worried when she moved in next to a home with bees she found that she never sees bees in her yard at all as she has few flowers that bees are attracted to.  The reality has been that with good hive placement (aka NOT aiming the entrance at her yard!) there has been absolutely no problem.

What’s the reality where you live?  Is beekeeping illegal or have the laws changed recently?  Do you have neighbors who are scared of bees or confuse honey bees with hornets or wasps?

Post and photo by Jessica Dally

12 Responses to “Legalize It! Beekeeping and Regulations”

    • Jessica

      While they can’t stop wild bees they can stop people from keeping bees. It doesn’t make sense but people are often uneducated about bees, the differences between them and wasps and hornets, and the important role they play in our natural systems.

      Reply
  1. Catherine

    What is a safe distance to place my hive from a mailbox, and from my nearest neighbor?I would prefer to be on the safe side.
    My hive faces east and sits next to a high brick wall, and near a Jasmine bush

    Reply
    • Jessica

      That really depends. Is there anything between the hive and the mailbox or the neighbor or would it be a straight shot as the bee flies?

      Reply
  2. Jean

    I want to place my hive in a large shed 7X7X7 with three vent slits at the top. Will this work for the bees to enter and exit?

    Reply
    • Jessica

      Jean, is there some reason you want to place the beehive inside a shed? They will not get any sunlight there and may be considerably less productive without daylight.

      Reply
  3. Jean

    Ithought the shed would keep the hive out of view of the neighbors who might object. is the shed idea not good?

    Reply
  4. Jessica

    Well, your neighbors will likely see bees coming and going from the shed too so it’s likely you’ll have to deal with them once they notice anyway. I’d suggest looking into the laws in your area, following them and then educating your neighbors rather than trying to hide the hive. The bees will not do particularly well if they don’t get sunlight and it sounds like they wouldn’t with this setup.

    Reply

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