Urban Beekeeping Suggested Guidelines for Best Management Practices:
[NOTE from William Lewis, President of the California Staqte Beekeepers Association and past President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association: "I am certainly in support of bees in the city, but only if Best Management Practices, which was provided to the city planners, are adhered to which means "known gentle genetics". I don't think this can be achieved by keeping local feral colonies. I have not seen proof that they are well behaved and in my experience, the ferals I catch have turned out to be very aggressive."]
The following document is a work in progress. William Lewis is among those working to compile Guidelines for Responsible Beekeeping in an Urban Environment. The intent is for these Guidelines to be used as a source for government officials and beekeepers to develop Best Management Practices for Maintaining European Honey Bee Colonies in urban areas.
WHEREAS the public safety hazard from the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) is becoming widespread in California, and;
WHEREAS beekeepers can effectively make captured AHB colonies gentle by re-queening them with mild and safer European Honey Bee (EHB) queens, and;
WHEREAS widespread use of this process would be beneficial to the public, local commerce, beekeepers, and the image of beekeeping,
BE IT RESOLVED that the following “Best Management Practices” as stated below be implemented wherever honey bees are adjudged legal to be kept.
Best Management Practices for Maintaining European Honey Bee Colonies
1) Abide by and remain in compliance with all State and Local laws and ordinances as they pertain to all honey bees.
2) Absolutely avoid keeping bee colonies of any race of bee other than European races (EHB).
3) Immediately report all bee colonies suspected of being non-EHB races to the LA County Agricultural Commissioner, and keep and submit samples of these to the County Agricultural Department, if requested.
4) Immediately re-queen all bee colonies which are overly defensive with marked EHB queens of known genetics gotten from breeders located outside of Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) infested areas. See map:http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/docs.htm?docid=11059&page=6
5) Immediately re-queen and destroy all drones (male brood) in bee colonies found not to be EHB, so as not to propagate non-EHB bees.
6) Immediately depopulate all colonies determined to be a pure or hybrid race other than EHB.
7) Document permanently that all queens are and were purchased from outside AHB suspected or detected areas.
8) Ensure that all EHB colonies are positioned in such a way as to ensure flyways are more than 6 feet above the ground when the bees cross property lines.
9) Maintain all apiaries at least 10’ away from property lines.
10) Ensure that all bee colonies within 40’ of property lines are placed behind a six foot barrier that would prevent direct access to the bee colonies from the property line.
11) When maintaining EHB colonies within 200 feet of a property line, provide and maintain a water source within 50 feet of the colony; or approximately that distance to the nearest unnatural water source not in control of the beekeeper (whichever is closest).
12) Do not maintain an apiary within 50 feet of any tethered or kenneled animal.
13) Do not manage or disturb the colonies if neighbors or the general public are participating in outside activities or using machinery within 75 feet of the apiary.
14) Ascertain if any neighbors within the immediate proximity of the apiary or bee colonies have a bee sting allergy or are known to be prone to histamine reactions to bee stings. If so, position the hives in such a way as to minimize possible contact with these people.
15) Provide these neighbors with medically approved and LA County certified free literature which informs in a clear manner on, and instructs in emergency procedures to, severe bee sting reactions.
16) In the event that the area in which bees are commercially and non-commercially kept is officially declared to be an "AHB suspected or detected area," the beekeepers in that area will immediately do as follows:
a) Beekeeper will re-queen all colonies in their operation with marked queens of known genetics from breeders located outside of the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) infested area.
b) They must keep and provide the name and contact information of all suppliers from which the beekeeper purchased their EHB queens.
c) Kill all swarms caught or trapped in the AHB declared area, or must replace the queen of all swarms caught or trapped with marked EHB queens of known safe genetics.
17) Maintain at least one bait hive in each apiary.