Beekeepers Urge L.A. to Consider Allowing Residential Beehives

Los Angeles Times   By Emily Alpert Reyes   2/13/14

Beekeepers are urging Los Angeles city leaders to seriously consider allowing backyard beehives.

The City Council took action Wednesday to explore whether beekeeping should be allowed in residential zones, asking city staff to report back on the idea.

Backyard beekeepers want Los Angeles to join New York, Santa Monica and other cities that allow residents to keep hives at home.

Existing Los Angeles city codes do not allow beekeeping in residential zones, according to city planning officials. Beekeeping has nonetheless blossomed among Angelenos worried about the health of honeybees and devoted to urban farming.

In a news conference Wednesday, beekeepers urged the council to pursue the report on the topic, possibly the first step toward enshrining the practice in city code.

At the conference, City Councilman Paul Koretz argued that urban beekeeping was especially needed in the face of colony collapse disorder, which has devastated agricultural hives that pollinate avocados, almonds and other crucial crops.

Councilman Mike Bonin chimed in. “If you care about blueberries,” Bonin said, “you care about this.”

Not everyone was convinced that new rules were needed: Southern California beekeeper Dael Wilcox argued the practice wasn’t actually illegal, just not spelled out in law, and that the city should keep it that way.

Both beekeepers and city officials say complaints about managed hives are rare.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-beekeepers-los-angeles-residential-beehives-20140212,0,2801637.story#ixzz2tEhmzd3J

[NOTE from William Lewis, President of the California State 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."] 

[QUOTE: "To just haul them (feral bees) out of the fences and stick them in the backyard, that's not a good idea," said Eric Mussen, a bee expert at the University of California, Davis.]

See this link for guidelines for Best Management Practices.

See this link for more information on Africanized Honey Bees