Amending Title 9, Chapter 4, of the City Code of the

City of Evanston Establishing Regulations

for the Keeping of Bees
WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Evanston has found that honeybees can be maintained within populated areas in reasonable densities without causing a nuisance if the bees are properly located and carefully managed; and

WHEREAS, honeybees are of benefit to mankind by providing agricultural, fruit, and garden pollination services, and by furnishing honey, wax and other useful products; and

WHEREAS, passage of this ordinance is in the interests of the health, safety and welfare of the citizens.


SECTION 1: That Title 9, Chapter 4, Section 19 as amended, be, and is hereby further amended, by renumbering and amending Section 9-4-19 to become Section 9-4-20, and enacting a new Section 9-4-19, as follows:


(A) As used in this Section, the following words, terms and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section:
  1. “Apiary” shall mean a place where bee colonies are kept.
  2. “Bee” shall mean any stage of the common domestic honey bee, Apis Mellifera Species.
  3. “Colony” shall mean a hive and its equipment and appurtenances, including bees, comb, honey, pollen, and brood.
  4. “Hive” shall mean a structure intended for the housing of a bee colony.

(B) Hives.

All bee colonies shall be kept in inspectable-type hives with removable combs, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition.

(C) Annual Licensing.

Beekeepers shall apply for a City Beekeeping License upon bringing any colony into the city. For bee colonies existing within the city prior to the effective date of this section, beekeepers shall have two (2) weeks from the date this section goes into effect to apply for a City Beekeeping License. Applications shall be submitted to the City of Evanston Public Health Director. At the time of application for a City Beekeeping License, the applicant shall:
  1. Submit proof of registration of the colonies with the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture; and
  2. Be in compliance with the other requirements of this section; and
  3. Pay a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) non-refundable application fee.

The City Beekeeping License shall be renewed each year by submitting a renewal application to the City of Evanston Public Health Director no more than two (2) weeks prior to the one (1) year anniversary date of the then current City Beekeeping License. At the time of applying for a renewal City Beekeeping License, the applicant shall submit the same documents, comply with the same requirements, and pay the same fee set forth in this subsection (C) and required for the initial City Beekeeping License application.

(D) Fencing, Gates, and Signage.

All hives shall be enclosed by fencing with a secure gate and prominent signage warning of the presence of a hive.

(E) Water.

Each beekeeper shall ensure that a convenient source of water is available at all times to the bees so that the bees will not congregate at swimming pools, bibcocks, pet water bowls, birdbaths or other water sources where they may cause human, bird, or domestic pet contact. The water shall be maintained so as not to become stagnant.

(F) Maintenance.

Each beekeeper shall ensure that no bee comb or other materials that might encourage robbing are left upon the grounds of the apiary site. Upon their removal from the hive, all such materials shall promptly be disposed of in a sealed container or placed within a building or other bee-proof enclosure.

(G) Queens.

In any instance in which a colony exhibits unusually aggressive characteristics by stinging or attempting to sting without due provocation, or exhibits an unusual disposition towards swarming, it shall be the duty of the beekeeper to re-queen the colony. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentleness and nonswarming characteristics.

(H) Colony Densities.
  1. There shall be no more than eight (8) apiary sites in each ward in Evanston.
  2. For each two (2) colonies, there may be maintained one (1) nucleus colony in a hive structure not exceeding one (1) standard nine and five-eighths-inch (9-5/8”) depth ten (10) -frame hive body with no supers attached as required from time to time for management of swarms. Each such nucleus colony shall be disposed of or combined with an authorized colony within thirty (30) days after the date it is acquired.

(I) Prohibited.

The keeping by any person of bee colonies in the city not in compliance with this section is prohibited. Any bee colony not residing in a hive structure intended for beekeeping, or any swarm of bees, or any colony residing in a standard or homemade hive which, by virtue of its condition, has obviously been abandoned by the beekeeper, is unlawful.


(A) Any person violating the provisions of this chapter, except for 9-4-19 Beekeeping, shall be fined not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each offense, and a separate offense shall be deemed committed upon each and every day such violation continues.

(B) For violations of 9-4-19 Beekeeping, any person not in strict compliance with this section shall be fined not less than five-hundred dollars ($500.00) for each offense, and a separate offense shall be deemed committed upon each and every day such violation continues. Additionally, any City Beekeeping License shall be mandatorily revoked and no new City Beekeeping License shall be issued to that person, or to any person living on the property where the apiary from which the violation(s) arose was located, for a minimum of one (1) year.

(C) In the event a person is found guilty of a violation of Section 9-4-14 of this Chapter, his permit to own, keep or harbor or have custody of animals shall be mandatorily revoked, and no new permit shall be issued to that person for a minimum of one (1) year.