Bees And Your Neighbours – Can’t we all just get along?

Let’s face it. Not everyone likes bees. For some, they regard bees as the venom-filled creatures that are always out to get their victims. While this is far from the truth, things can sometimes take a turn for the worse.

To avoid being on the wrong side of an argument, it’s vital for beekeepers to always be aware of the rules and regulations of beekeeping, especially the ones that apply to their specific region.

General Laws on Beekeeping

Placement of Hives

The first rule that you should familiarize yourself with has to do with where you set up your hives.

But even without checking your state laws, common sense dictates that you should not place your hives in places where they’re likely to harm your neighbors. For instance, you shouldn’t position them right next to the property line.

Similarly, it’s illegal to keep species of bees that are aggressive. Insects like Africanized honey bees should never be used for beekeeping.

hive placement in backyard
It’s important to consider the placement of your hives when keeping bees in a more built up area. Stay on the right side of the law and your neighbours!

Exercise Caution

If you’re a beekeeper, it’s your responsibility to notify your neighbors, family, friends and guests who come to visit you that you have bees within your property. Even if it means putting up a huge warning sign at your property’s entrance, it’s important to take this precaution.

Also, you should take proper care of your bees so that they’re not tempted to seek basic necessities from elsewhere- such as your neighbor’s swimming pool. Provide adequate water and ensure the hives are safe from nuisance pests like ants.

Pesticides

The first two points place an emphasis on beekeepers taking good care of their insects to prevent them from harming others.

However, the reverse is also true. In other words, if your neighbors are well aware of your beekeeping activity, then they should not engage in activities that pose risks to your bees.

To avoid disputes, have an amicable discussion where you enlighten your immediate neighbors on the side effects that can result from certain activities like spraying pesticides.

Beekeeping Laws in the U.S.

As is the case in most nations, the beekeeping regulations in the United States differ not only between states but also among counties. Since there are way too many regulations in the different regions, we’ll list a few examples:

For a complete list of laws by State, and to find your State Beekeepers Association, see our resources page for Beekeeping Laws By State.

Florida

If you plan to do any form of beekeeping in Florida, then it has to be on agricultural land. If you’re practising on non-agricultural private land, you’ll need a written permission.

Arizona

In Tucson, AZ, you can only keep one beehive for every 2,500 square feet of an area. But other than this, there aren’t that many limitations as long as you ensure that your bees aren’t disrupting anyone.

Ohio

Beekeepers in Cleveland, Ohio ought to have a 2-year license to practise this activity. The license costs about $50.

Wisconsin

If you’re a bee enthusiast living in Madison, Wisconsin, the only way you’ll be allowed to do beekeeping is if you’ve applied for the $10 annual license. And even then, you can only keep 6 hives per lot, although there’s no specification of the size of the lot.

However, remember to adhere to other regulations such as placing the hives no less than 3 feet from property lines. Similarly, your hives should be at least 25 feet from any structures in close proximity and 10 feet from public sidewalks.

Minnesota

One of the toughest places where you can apply to practise beekeeping is in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For starters, you’re required to undertake a beekeeping course. Secondly, you’ll need to get consent from over 80% of your neighbors, who live within one hundred feet of your home. As if the first two conditions weren’t hard enough, the law also requires you to pay $100 to get a permit.

Beekeeping laws in the UK

The greatest difference between beekeeping in the UK and beekeeping in some U.S. states is the fact that you’re not required to have any license in the former.

That said, not all areas allow individuals to keep bees. In fact, some local councils completely prohibit this activity. Thus, it’s vital that you check in with your local authorities.

One piece of advice that’s really helpful for beekeepers in the UK is that they should join local beekeeping associations. This presents an opportunity to learn from experts and veterans.

Such platforms also enlighten the beekeepers about local conditions and challenges they’re likely to encounter keeping bees in that area. Beekeeping organizations in the UK hold meetings on a regular basis. They also provide training courses for beginners.

See more on laws you’ll want to know as a beekeeper in the UK on our UK Beekeeping Rules and Regulations page.

To Sum Up

Beekeeping is an exciting but also a risky venture. Unlike with pets, you don’t have control over where these insects go to or what fascinating places they consider exploring. There have been instances where beekeepers have been sued because of their bees stinging a particular individual.

The best way to avoid such situations is to know the beekeeping laws in your region. Check and double-check both the state and local laws. Next, look for a beekeeping association where you can learn even more about this activity.

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