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Thread: Regulating beekeeping and bees

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    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    Regulating beekeeping and bees

    How many bees do you consider to be an animal unit? We regulate animals as farm or commercial based on units. 1 cow = 1 unit, 100 chickens = 1 unit. So how many is standard for bees? Would it be 1 hive = 1 unit? Thanks for your help!

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    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    As with children, so with bees. Takes a village. In bees case you can't practically have less than one colony, which usually equals one queen, a few sorry drones hanging around, and about 50-70K workers. That should be one "unit".

    Our small town code mentions bees, and says you have to have the mayor's permission.

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Many, many more than one colony. Animal units are based on the amount of forage needed and/or amount of manure produced. I do not like this as a zoning concept because I have been one cow; and I have been around 100 chickens...I prefer the cow.

    I would play with the amount of land required to raise the bees. Would 10 hives require the space of say 100 chickens? 20 hives? An internet search should lead to some standards for bee production.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I confess I've never seen bees incorporated with any 'animal unit' standards. It's safe to say that regulating them by individual bees when hive populations number in the tens of thousands would be....problematic from an enforcement perspective (5,518...5,519...5,520...wait, did that bee move and get counted twice? better start over). However, if I were asked to devise some sort of standards (and didn't live in a Right to Farm state) I'd say basing them on a Langstroth hive standard (X# hives/acre) might be a reasonable starting point. These hives are all over North America. Unfortunately, they also come in four different standard sizes.

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    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Don't throw things at me when I say this. Bees = Good. Bees are naturally occuring. Not sure you are regulating the number of bees but hives and why would you do that.
    If bees occured natually would you ask them to get rid of them and have fewer? That would be impossible to enforce.

    So what if the guy has 100 hives?

    Now if the killer bees get mixed in you have a problem. But I don't see it as a land use issue.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I only see it as a land-use issue with respect to the numbers of hives versus the acreage in use. I see potential problems not dissimilar to other domestic livestock (chickens, pigs, goats, etc.) when they are introduced in a big way to very suburban or urban environments. It's really a question of intensity, but no reason to not allow hives on ag land.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CDT View post
    How many bees do you consider to be an animal unit? We regulate animals as farm or commercial based on units. 1 cow = 1 unit, 100 chickens = 1 unit. So how many is standard for bees? Would it be 1 hive = 1 unit? Thanks for your help!
    None of this will work worth a d*mn unless you differentiate between mason bees and European honeybees and bumblebees.

    A world of difference.

    I suggest folks look into it a bit before making a rule. Talk to a few beekeepers. Figure out the parcel size and the type of bee. Some people just want mason bees - no reason to say no at all. None.

    And 10 hives on a parcel less than an acre in a town over, say, 10-15,000?!? Really?!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    ColoGI says it best so far.

    I have kept bees at my rural homesite for many years.

    If the intent is to treat them as an ag use, I would seek advice from commercial beekeepers to establish a threshold for definition of commercial operation.

    Otherwise a colony of bees in the back yard is no more obtrusive to neighbors than a dog or a cat. Besides, I have read that some in science regard the wild bee as officially extinct. You cannot have agriculture or gardens without some pollinators around.

    I keep bees just because I like them, and because I have a garden.

    30 yrs ago I had two colonies of bees which yielded 70 or 80 lbs of honey every year. They were mean, though, of unknown stock, and I got stung so much in my clumsy handling of them that I developed increasingly severe reactions that forced me to sell the colonies.

    My wife is the beekeeper now, and I am her coach. I run the smoker and advise, while she does the handling.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    beekeeping

    We just dealt with this issue over the past few months. We're an inner ring suburb with lots ranging from 5,000 sq. ft. to 1 acre.

    I know we bucked the trend (NYC just "legalized" beekeeping) but we elected to just ban beekeeping outright. After looking at a slew of regs from other jurisdictions we concluded that it is impractical to try to develop standards that would work in a community of our character.

    Rural? Agricultural? Fine go ahead but in an urban or dense suburban area there's too many potential pitfalls. In one community (out in the pacific northwest) there were requirements to create "bee flyways", setback requirements, minimum distances from open water and I just don't have the staff to administer those.

  10. #10
    These issues make me, a big government liberal feel like a libertarian. Why regulate? If it becomes a problem, can't there be nuisance or safety ordinances to use?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    How far do bees stray from a hive? My concern, as someone who might live next to someone keeping bees, is that I won't be able to enjoy my property because bees are buzzing and flying all over the place.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    These issues make me, a big government liberal feel like a libertarian. Why regulate? If it becomes a problem, can't there be nuisance or safety ordinances to use?
    This issue scares enough people that they agitate for gummint to do something. Not a lot of people, but enough. As a volunteer naturalist, you get used to people being scared of bees. Not rational, but how many people are?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    "...How far do bees stray from a hive?..."

    "Stray" is not the right word, as in "beeline". Bees will usually adopt a main flyway. My colony went straight up for many months, as that was most open, until I cleared some scrubby trees etc to give them a horizontal approach, which incidentally goes right across my compost pile. They never do bother me when I work that.

    Bee experts have found that typically bees go no further than they ahve to to get what they need. They are most efficient.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    How far do bees stray from a hive? My concern, as someone who might live next to someone keeping bees, is that I won't be able to enjoy my property because bees are buzzing and flying all over the place.
    Are you going to then ban gardens so that bees aren't "buzzing and flying all over the place"? There aren't any bee keepers or hives in my neighborhood but my yard is overrun with various kinds of bees because I have lots of flowers.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Are you going to then ban gardens so that bees aren't "buzzing and flying all over the place"? There aren't any bee keepers or hives in my neighborhood but my yard is overrun with various kinds of bees because I have lots of flowers.
    Exactly. And how exactly do bees prevent someone from "enjoying their property"? Come now. This is exactly my point upthread with my As a volunteer naturalist, you get used to people being scared of bees. Not rational, but how many people are? statement.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    After hearing the Mayor of Salt Lake City speak last Friday at a legal seminar in Scottsdale, you should check out their website for additional information on bee keeping. I think it will prove useful.
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Here are two California zoning examples for bee keeping that I came across while doing background research (not for bees) for a project I'm working on.

    County of Sacramento (CA)

    http://www.msa2.saccounty.net/planni...itle%20III.pdf

    See Title III, Article 10 (Urban Beekeeping)

    County of San Luis Obispo (CA)

    http://library2.municode.com/default...ction=whatsnew

    See Title 5, Chapter 5.04 (Bees)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    From the Salt Lake City website:

    Hives shall be placed on property so the general flight pattern of bees is in a direction which will limit bee contact with humans and domesticated animals on adjacent properties or areas of public access.

    If a hive is within twenty-five feet from an adjacent property or public access
    area as measured from the nearest point on the hive to the property line, a flyway
    barrier of at least six feet in height must be maintained. When adjacent to a
    property line, the barrier shall consist of a solid wall, fence, dense vegetation, or
    a combination thereof, parallel to the property line which extends at least ten feet
    beyond the hive in each direction so that bees are forced to fly to an elevation of
    at least six feet above ground level over property lines in the vicinity of the hives.
    A water source must be available to the colony continuously between March 1 and October 31 of each year. The water shall be in a location that minimizes any nuisance created by bees seeking water on neighborhood property.


    This is what I was talking about in my earlier post. What happens when the neighbor calls city hall to complain that the hive are NOT placed so as the "general flight pattern of bees" is not in a direction which will limit contact? Are you going to have an inspector out there trying to count bees in flight?

    Additionally "dense" to one resident may be "porous" to another. We've had so many battles between properties owners on that topic that we no longer use words like "dense", "substantial", etc. Number, type, height and location are specified whenever this is a requirement or condition of approval....

    For these and other reasons we just decided to ban 'em. You want to raise bees? Find yourself a place in the country. I'll also point out that on most farms I've been on any hives are kept quite a distance from the home...hard to do on a 5,000 sq. ft. urban lot.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Exactly. And how exactly do bees prevent someone from "enjoying their property"? Come now. This is exactly my point upthread with my As a volunteer naturalist, you get used to people being scared of bees. Not rational, but how many people are? statement.

    You may have not had conversations with a neighbor whose child has bee sting allergies.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    After hearing the Mayor of Salt Lake City speak last Friday at a legal seminar in Scottsdale, you should check out their website for additional information on bee keeping. I think it will prove useful.
    Ralph Becker is a planner, too. Hopefully, he's making all of us proud.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by der Bebauungsplan View post
    From the Salt Lake City website:

    Hives shall be placed on property so the general flight pattern of bees is in a direction which will limit bee contact with humans and domesticated animals on adjacent properties or areas of public access.

    If a hive is within twenty-five feet from an adjacent property or public access
    area as measured from the nearest point on the hive to the property line, a flyway
    barrier of at least six feet in height must be maintained. When adjacent to a
    property line, the barrier shall consist of a solid wall, fence, dense vegetation, or
    a combination thereof, parallel to the property line which extends at least ten feet
    beyond the hive in each direction so that bees are forced to fly to an elevation of
    at least six feet above ground level over property lines in the vicinity of the hives.
    A water source must be available to the colony continuously between March 1 and October 31 of each year. The water shall be in a location that minimizes any nuisance created by bees seeking water on neighborhood property.


    This is what I was talking about in my earlier post. What happens when the neighbor calls city hall to complain that the hive are NOT placed so as the "general flight pattern of bees" is not in a direction which will limit contact? Are you going to have an inspector out there trying to count bees in flight?

    Additionally "dense" to one resident may be "porous" to another. We've had so many battles between properties owners on that topic that we no longer use words like "dense", "substantial", etc. Number, type, height and location are specified whenever this is a requirement or condition of approval....

    For these and other reasons we just decided to ban 'em. You want to raise bees? Find yourself a place in the country. I'll also point out that on most farms I've been on any hives are kept quite a distance from the home...hard to do on a 5,000 sq. ft. urban lot.
    Urban "livestock" seems to be becoming the fad du jour among city folk who romanticize farming as a way of life (primarily those at least three or four generations removed from actually shoveling manure) but don't want to give up any of the conveniences of city life. Chickens seem to be the critters of choice right now ... but I'm waiting for the goat people to press their case.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    yeah well.....

    I might as well have a bee hive at casa de The One....Had to scoop about three dozen dead bees out of the pool the other day RJ may have a wimp screen over his cement pond, so I don't think he has the same concerns
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  23. #23
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    You may have not had conversations with a neighbor whose child has bee sting allergies.
    Sure I have. That is a small fraction of the population. If you want to keep bees, surely you are going to talk to your neighbors. If you don't do this it is negligence on your part and you'll likely fail with or without a reg.

    But my larger point upthread is that not all bees are in the category of Euro honeybees with hives of 1000+ residents. Banning all bees is failure on a larger scale to properly define the objectives and outcomes. But I suspect those who want such bees already have them and are going about their business under the undermanned radar.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    But I suspect those who want such bees already have them and are going about their business under the undermanned radar.
    Not in my town...folks here are so quick to rat out a neighbor that it'd make the Stasi proud

  25. #25
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    [QUOTE=ColoGI;543259] If you want to keep bees, surely you are going to talk to your neighbors. If you don't do this it is negligence on your part and you'll likely fail with or without a reg. QUOTE]

    yeah, sure, everyone talks with neighbors first. sorry for the sarcasim, but this does not happen in the real world.

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