Huntington Woods, MI

Huntington Woods looks into beekeeping ordinance

Matthew Donnellon

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Things are buzzing in apiary news as Huntington Woods City Commission is currently reviewing an ordinance on beekeeping.

The City Commision had an ordinance on the April 6 agenda but some complaints have forced them to look into the matter. Because of the rather unique nature of the ordinance not much was known about it until they could better understand the issue.

Originally, the proposed ordinance indicated that residents could obtain a permit for $180, as well as getting consent from a neighbor. The ordinance would limit the potential apiast to two hives per lot.

The ordinance was tabled according to Commissioner Joe Rozeli after getting three or four complaints about it. However, he also got a number of emails and calls supporting the residents’ beekeeping endeavours.

At first glance, this seems like a relatively simple issue. Someone wants some bees. They get the bees. Bees do bee type things. But it’s actually more complicated. I thought that this might be the typical neighborly squabbling that plagues all suburbs.

But the situation is more complicated than it appears. There are a number of factors at play here. Part of the issue is fertilizers and pesticides, Mari Masalin-Cooper told CandG News about the situation:

“In Iowa, you register your hives with the state. Then they create no fly zones when planes will spray fertilizers or pesticides. Your beehives are registered, so you can’t spray within a quarter mile in either direction around your hives, and Michigan does not do that,” she said. “(With) urban beekeeping, people spray their lawns everywhere. Those pesticides and fertilizers are not good for bees, and so you have to be smarter at beekeeping to do that.”

She also said that she didn’t know about the ordinance but checked with her neighbors to make sure no one had allergies, she also thought an ordinance would be a good idea since swarming bees could make people uncomfortable and potential beekeepers should have some training or work with an experience beekeeper.

This will remain a city issue. Currently Michigan apiary law does not set limits on hive placement now and leaves it to local townships and cities to regulate colony numbers.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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