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  1. #1
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    Dec 2011
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    Woodlake, CA
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    Default No Bees allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    So my city in California has a no Bee Law since 1975 (residential). I've gone down to the Cities office to talk with whomever I should talk to. Well I talked to the Clerk and I've been scheduled for January 9th at 6:30 pm to voice my concern regarding this code, I have 5 city council's and I need 3/5 to have the code repealed. So I've been doing a bit of research regarding bee's in general, but after writing a rough draft for my speech I decided I may be looking at it all wrong. I was pointing out the population decline etc. But now that I think about it, most people would find this code appealing because of maybe nuisance related issues with bee's. Which given my home is a corner lot that is next to groves (olive, and orange groves) I would think they would have plenty to do. I was originally allotted a time of 3 minutes, but I kinda said that's just not enough time so I get to be the last person just in case I need a bit more time. I'm not allowed to show videos (I have no idea why I can't, just that I can't), but I can do slideshows in addition to a speech.

    Since being long winded isn't going to get it repealed, I figure I'm gonna have to bring some reasons as to why bee's are not nuisances given the right type of bees and proper management of them. To be frank my city is probably considered more farming related than others. We also have a huge man made lake in the middle of our city and there is someone next to it that grows food he gives out to the food banks, it's called something I can't remember, but apparently people actually like the garden and quite popular as a city pride type of thing. I was kinda thinking it would be a good idea maybe to get him as a reference, and maybe request a bee location for when they spray the groves around my area. We have a local county call list, so they notify bee keepers of spraying within a mile of their hives (I'm new to beekeeping in general and not sure if this is common).

    So any thoughts would be great.

    PS Mods
    If I'm in the wrong forum let me know, this appeared to be the right spot too me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Waukesha, WI
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    178

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I have no real suggestions with regards to getting the law repealed--I would guess it's a long shot.

    I'm wondering if you've talked to the owners of the grove nearby. Perhaps you could locate your hive on their land (they get pollination service) and you can maintain the bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Olives and Citrus near by! Contact the growers and find out if the use bees for pollination. If so use it in your favor. Point out that 1000s of bee hives come to town every year on pollination contracts and if they are not a nuisance how can a hive or two in your yard be a nuisance.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Woodlake, CA
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    7

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Point out that 1000s of bee hives come to town every year on pollination contracts and if they are not a nuisance how can a hive or two in your yard be a nuisance.
    That was something I was gonna point out with my speech, something like this "You can make code restraining bee keeping in the city, but considering how close the groves are with the city and considering the distance a bee can travel, it's more or less a nuisance to residential beekeepers." Probably within 2 miles thousands of orange trees, and the olive grove is like... 50 feet from my yard haha. I was thinking to myself what awesome honey that would be. My original want for having bees for my own Victory Garden, something really simple only 250 square feet of growing space, but I am planning on growing (try) some berry type plants and I wanted maximum production if I can and hell someone else's bees are taking it, or feral bees and I don't get honey out of it. I also have a huge black walnut tree (native California walnut) that is a bee's heaven, now that I've thought back a bit I've probably had quite a few swarms in it when I remember back how buzzy it sounded (which is a good place maybe to collect a free hive) So I figured it would be fun in general to have bees (my uncle use to have a Commercial Bee Company with 230 hives so I have plenty of help around if I ever need some assistance) not to mention having the nectar of my own plants.

    I was thinking about talking to as many local growers as I can for referrals, so when I bring it up to the council quite a few growers are in favor of residential beekeeping. I was kinda hoping this may push them into a corner politically with the locals. I mean it's very doubtful they in-acted the code, but that doesn't mean they have to leave an out-of-date thing in the municipal code.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2006
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    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    http://www.nycbeekeeping.com/

    Other cities allow beekeeping.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Your backupplan should be to move your hives tothe orange trees which are probably out of city limits.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,137

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    If the City allows bee hives there will be more knowledgeable people that can help with the unusual nuisances that HONEYBEES may cause. Right now the only way of dealing with a problem is to call an exterminator who will kill the bees but not necessarily prevent them from coming back. Explain to the powers to be that it is not the hive that creates the problem it is the misunderstanding of the honeybee. Explain to them that if a particular hive created a problem it could be removed easily and maybe the wording of the law could be changed accordingly. You might what to look up other municipalities that have such wording.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    First of all do not use any sort of "Well if johnny has bees why can't I" sort of presentation. you will be shut down and the rest of your 3 minutes will be nothing but static noise to the council.

    Second do not make a presentation that includes any exceptions to your claims. That it requires certain bees for example. "Domestically kept honey bees are the least aggressive stinging insect that produces products useful to humans" Period. Leave any negative details to the opposition to bring up but never breath one word in opposition to your effort.

    Third. the ban was written for a reason. Research what those reasons where and address those directly. IT is very likely that the ban was made in response to AHB fear that have since been addressed with effective management methods. And even though this is true no one has been concerned enough about the ban to have it removed from the books. Do not only be familiar with why the ban was originally accepted, but any reason it still exists. Why it is in effect now is more important than why it got started in the first place. It is a great plus for you if there are no curent reasons for it to exist and your presentation could consist of nothing more than presenting a case that the ban is no longer necessary.

    Fourth, survey your local hardware stores in order to put together some numbers on how many traps per year are sold for things like hornets and wasps. You can then present that actual concern for control far more aggressive insects is xxx number of traps per xxx number of households. My bet is you can show a pretty convincing fact that nearly all homeowners are only concerned about getting stung enough to ban you keeping hives yet tolerate a far greater threat of being stung by taking no measures to control hornets or wasps. It would also enhance this argument if you can come up with some sort of qualified estimate of hives per acre of wasps and hornets. Just to be clear this argument is simply. How really concerned is the public if they do nothing to address other stinging insects?

    Fifth, put together a strong statement that Honey Bees are not aggressive at any time when they are not in the proximity of their hive. In other words foraging bees do not sting, unlike hornets or wasps. Honey bees will protect themselves say int eh case they are stepped on but don't even bring that up. Make the case that nearly every sting blamed on bees is actually hornets, wasps or other stinging insects and that the honey be is just the favored thing to accuse.

    Sixth, Make it GREEN, And I mean in a big way make it about the environment, global warming, the world feeding itself and anything else you can make it sound like it is healthy for mother earth. Those are buzz words, they are political and they are socially correct. Use their own BS against them. This is about winning not about playing fair. They want to hug trees. then point out how those trees are the home of the lovable Honey Bee.

    On one other note try to locate some actual instances where bees where accused of stinging when in fact no bees existed. I have seen at least one story on these forums to that effect. An empty hive was placed in a yard. when the neighbor started complaining about getting stings. it was pointed out that the hive contained no bees. Again this is to point out how the Honey bee is unfairly accused of behavior it does not posses.

    Finally ignore the do nothing or it is a long shot type comments. they are actually the first step on the path to defeat. It is easy to decide nothing will do any good so choose to do nothing. It is actually the easy choice to make because it has a guaranteed outcome. I like the saying that says. "there area those that think they can and those that think they can't. They are both right". I will add to that, those that think they can't are the only ones that are guaranteed to be right.

    Good Luck, I for one don't think you are taking a long shot, but that is no reason to not aim carefully and effectively. You need a heart shot and only have 3 minutes to take it.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2010
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    Dripping Springs, TX USA
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    296

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Simple solution. Put your hives just outside the city limits. It is the best set-up for the bees and you won't need government approval. The bees can get the benefit of city blooming and whatever is blooming outside the city limits all year long. The bees will decide what they favor and when.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    East Hartford CT
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    146

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I know you only have 3 minutes but you may want to squeeze in that other communities are paying to have
    bees brought to their community gardens. Best of luck to you!

  11. #11
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I live on the other side of the world but have seen a web site that may be able to assist you and give you advise.
    Contact www.backwardbeekeepers.com and on the right hand side of the page they have a section on 'beekeeping legalization' and how Santa Monica and LA have gone about legalizing beekeeping in urban areas. Good luck, we all need our bees.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    OKC, OK
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    67

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Don't go alone. You need to find at least a couple more people to go with you. It is easy for a politician to reject a request from a single voter, but if he senses a number of people are interested in doing/changing something, he/she will think twice about rejecting your request out of hand. Look into getting the owners of the groves near you or some green types around town to go with you.

    Also have a hand out showing that a number of communities are repealing their bee bans. You can probably Google that topic and get some amunition. Show the council that even densely populated cities like NYC and LA allow beekeeping. Better yet, send the Council members a packet of printed material ahead of time giving them the facts you want them to know so you don't have to cram everything into your 3 mintues (if you are lucky one or two of them might even read it ahead), and then re-emphasize the highlights of what you sent in your little speech.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    This is rediculous anyways....
    I GUARANTEE you there are bees in your community. Laws don't stop bees from making a home in a tree. Those bees (wild) are more likely to be problems than kept bees, bar none.
    I love the fact that you are given the opportunity to state your case and hopefully a change in ordinace will occur because of your efforts. Good luck!
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

  14. #14
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,742

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Maybe you should make a good video of someone with a hive open and no protective equipment. Then standing 10 yards from the hive showing how few bees there are and then 100 yards from the hive. People have this idea that bees are out to sting people, and then they have this idea that a hive will make a noticeable increase in the number of bees they see or bees that are bothering them. usually the bees bothering them are yellow jackets... so you might also point out, in the video, that bees do not look like those cartoon bees that are yellow and black and shiny. If you have been chased and stung by creatures that look like that, those are yellow jackets, not bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
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    Dec 2011
    Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    53

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I live in Laramie, Wyoming and we had had an anti beekeeping law on the books for decades. A GROUP of interested people presented a request to city council last year and it was easily changed. They made their case for pollination and education and after a quick consult with the city attorney and our animal control (of which I am a part) they council repealed the old law. It can be done.

    Find some other folks that are interested as well. Make your case and cross your fingers. They may just see things your way.

    In the way of looking at videos to show them, I know you can't take a video with you but you could recommend that they watch Sam Comfort's 17 minute video online. It's easy to find on his site and he tends several top bar hives in shorts with no gloves, suit or veil. Don't think he gets stung once. It's about as peaceful as it gets.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Got an entomology department in your area? That's who petitioned our council. Professors from the University and members of the college as far as I know.

  16. #16
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    Dec 2011
    Location
    Woodlake, CA
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    7

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    My city is tiny, 7,000 people and most are farmers/growers/pickers. Your right about location, I wouldn't mind having it out in the grove, but I'd feel safer with it on my property as a newbie (wanting my first hive). To be frank we don't really have many stinging insects I'm aware of besides bumble bee's, and wasps. About the green movement... I had already decided to focus on that quite a bit, but the people around my area are quite conservative, they call this the conservative strong hold in California. So I'm not extremely sure about the council. Also about researching the municipal code, I asked the clerk relating to WHY it was on the books at all she had little too no idea. When I called asking about it, she asked me if I was gonna keep the bees in my house... Your right about the numbers, I'll see if I can figure something out and see if I can get a few people to back me up, plus I feel some local referrals might be a good idea. Maybe have the referrals on a handout. People recognize names around here, and everyone knows one another. So I figure if I can get a few key people to sign on it may be a nice deciding voice in the matter.

    I wonder if they're is some statistics relating to stings and who's the common insect to blame. I know honeybee's get a bad wrap, but like it was mentioned it's more so other bees.

    This is my rough rough rough draft so far:

    Recognizing the existence of bees and the necessity of beekeepers to provide safe homes for bees, cities around the United States have legalized beekeeping, including Long Beach, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, Santa Monica and many more. It might be to some surprise that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have publicly affirmed the importance of bees to home gardens by placing two bee hives in the middle of their garden on the South Lawn of the White House.

    Yes, the city ordinances can protect us, but can the ordinances protect us permanently from bees? I seem to recall quite a few bees in my garden. Where did these bee's come from? Because I haven't noticed any hives around my immediate area. It might be to some surprise that bees can travel up to 5 miles away from their hive in search of nectar and pollen. If we only considered a flight path of two miles this would give access to a radius of 8500 acres. Just goes to show you how discrete bees can be.

    Like the many cities I referenced to be pro Apiary... has it occurred that some of these cities are really large and that many people could be stung? Why haven't we heard of these increased incidents? There is a very good reason, it's because honeybees are not aggressive creatures. Bees in most cases will sting only in defense, and this is usually related to pressure or taunting. Most stings come from aggressive bee's like wasps, and hornets. The type of honeybee's also play a role in aggressiveness, a majority of bees in the US is an Italian strain of bees that are very docile, most beekeepers that work with Italians wear little to no protection and can handle the bees barehanded.

    Some may know that the honeybee population has decreased severely since 2007 and that many honeybee farmers are going belly up because of these severe losses, which is called Colony Collapse Disorder and it has been attributed to many reasons. But one note significantly has been made, that keeping bees locally is a good way to influence the diminishing population of this creature that plays such a significant role in everyone’s lives.

    Not only do bee's pollinate over 30% of our food crops they promote a green life, provide many health related benefits. When one takes into account the nutritional value of pollen, honey, and royal honey it is hard to call this creature a nuisance; but a necessity to a healthy life.

    One may not know many beekeepers, in fact up to 75% of beekeepers are hobbyist. Most start from a curiosity and want for honey, then slowly find out how majestic this creature is. I could speak for days relating to the importance of bees just within our city limits. I have quite a desire to expand my garden and with the simple truth of bees increasing my yields up to 80% , the added value of healthy organic honey, and simply knowing where my honey comes from plays a big part in my decision. The more I read about this incredible creature just fuels my desire to own a hive.

    _______________________

    I'm thinking much more and it may be a bit too much to keep people awake. I feel sometimes too much information may send them running. I can pass out a few handouts and I found this really nice site that gives interesting facts about honeybees and is kept to a list of 20. I felt this is quite an interesting little read that just says hey bees are awesome.

    http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-bee-facts.html
    Last edited by Markymark93286; 12-20-2011 at 12:30 AM.

  17. #17
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    Looks good but I think you may need about 2 more minutes of it. a photo of someone opening a hive with no protective equipment woudl be good. have a slide show running as you speak with things like that as well as closed farms and what not. sounds good so far you are on the right track. One tip, When speaking keep your mind focused on speaking well. IT keeps you distracted from being nervous.

    Break a leg.

  18. #18
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    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    10,137

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I think you need to address the "killer bee" fear. 1 The managed hive can remove this gene from the hive and 2 The managed hive will in a sense water down the gene in the feral hives that do exist. The solution to the "killer bee" is to have more managed hives not less in an area. Flood the area with good bees and the bad ones are push out.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
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    710

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    I would suggest offering an alternative beekeeping section for the code, one that dictates bees will be managed with respect to prevailing best practices, to control swarming as best possible, etc. My local code does this and even lists out some best practices that will never change...have water nearby, have the hive entrance pointed away from/above roads or sidewalks unless a fence is in place to force the bees' flight upward, etc, etc. Repealing the ordinance and leaving nothing in its place may be difficult for some of your officials to do. Replacing the ordinance with one that dictates all managed bees will be managed properly allows the town to have a valid complaint if a beekeeper isn't doing his/her job responsibly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that when a swarm ensues that they'll be out to get your bees, but if someone complains about a swarm, and you can tell the town what you did to try to control it in proper beekeeping parlance, you'll be good. If someone's bees are drinking from a swimming pool and the person complains because the beekeeper has no water source for the bees on his/her own property, the town then has a complaint and the beekeeper needs to comply. Instead of an official feeling like it's a free-for-all, s/he'll feel like it's allowed, but in a responsible way. If you'd like me to dig up the code here, PM me.

    A couple things from your draft:

    "Most stings come from aggressive bees like wasps, and hornets"...don't even call these bees. Call them insects. You don't want them confusing this. A wasp is not a bee.

    Also, the reference to the Whitehouse bees is a good one, but only if you're confident that the officials listening support the President. If not, don't mention the Pres. by name, simply state that the Whitehouse has beehives as part of their gardens.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2010
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    712

    Default Re: No Bee's allowed Municipal Code - suggestions.

    All great suggestions above. It would be best if you brought a couple of other neighborhood residents along for support. Be very positive about everything, and dwell on the importance of honeybees. Tell the councilors that you would be willing to provide them a free service that might help them. Tell them that you will remove swarms (for free) from any city owned property, parks, etc. and tell them you will personally meet with the animal control person as well as the fire department to coordinate this free service. This will put your name at the top of the list for assisting the city to help insure 'safe beekeeping".
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

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