Article Review: Urban beekeeping and the neighbors…

December 22nd, 2012  |  Published in Honey Bee Review

Written by Katherine Norregaard, Simmons College undergraduate biology student

Salkin, P. E. (2012). HONEY, IT’S ALL THE BUZZ: REGULATING NEIGHBORHOOD BEEHIVES. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 39(1), 55-71.

Over the past couple of years there has been a huge increase in the popularity of beekeeping.  Many urban areas have hives, and recently many urban cities have made beekeeping legal.   Retailers are beginning to sell delicious honeys and beeswax products all produced from local hives.   Despite this new positive energy surrounding beekeeping there has actually been push back from neighbors of backyard beekeepers.  This article provides information about important aspects of beekeeping that must be considered.

  • Honey must be sold in accordance with FDA labeling including nutrition and ingredients labeling
  • Some individual states have laws regarding transportation of bees in and out of state, rules regarding infected hives, and restrictions regarding needs for inspection
  • Many states also require permits
  • In many states, such as California the production, packaging, transportation, labeling and sale of honey is highly regulated.
  • Hives are considered to be a nuisance, under law, when there are injuries, or they interfere with a neighbors enjoyment of their property
  • In addition to federal and state regulation, there are also local government regulations.  All guidelines and rules must be followed
  • Classification of bees may be specified: aggressive vs. nonaggressive spcies many cities will ask you to specify
  • Lot size and colony density: how many bees will be on a single lot?
  • Setbacks that you may come across: minimum lot size, distance from schools, parks or playgrounds
  • Flyaway barriers may be required: structures to raise the flight path of bees when they live their hives, a way to limit interactions with residents
  • Access to water: important for bee health
  • Identification signs: to post beekeepers information that is associated with that hive
  • Fire and safety regulations may be put in place: when smoking the hive, many cities may have restrictions due to fire hazards, is an important factor to be aware of

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