Beekeepers buzz over new proposed rules ahead of committee meeting

News 10 has told you about proposed updates to Terre Haute animal care regulations including rules for outdoor pets. Part of the plan also lays out rules for beekeeping within city limits.

Posted: Mar. 11, 2019 10:33 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Terre Haute beekeepers say they've been caring for bees in their yards for years without any complaints from their neighbors. Now a committee is considering some new rules that would put restrictions on how many hives a person can have and where they can go.

News 10 has told you about proposed updates to Terre Haute animal care regulations including rules for outdoor pets. Part of the plan also lays out rules for beekeeping within city limits.

Beekeeper Len Mullins has been caring for these buzzing, flying bugs for eight years. There is not much activity around the five hives in his backyard this time of year but he says fifty to sixty thousand bees entered each hive at the start of winter. Many of them won't make it to spring. Now Mullins and other beekeepers like him are worried they may not make it either.

Mullins says, "We want to continue doing the beekeeping but with the present restrictions that they are suggesting I would not be able to keep a beehive here in the yard.”

Right now, beekeeping is not allowed within city limits but the rule has not been enforced.

City leaders plan to update an animal care ordinance to include beekeeping but it comes with restrictions.

The plan states lots less than ten thousand square feet cannot have more than four hives. Hives would also have to be seventy-five feet away from any property line.

City beekeepers like Mullins say that's just not realistic. Other Indiana cities require a five to 10-foot space between properties and a fence can be used as a buffer.

"Our neighbors that we have here around us. They're quite happy. They'll stand and watch us get into the hives and work the hives and so they're interested as well."

Now he's hoping to win over city leaders, like he has his neighbors, with a little honey.

"One-third of our food, all flowering plants has to have a pollinator and so we are helping the environment by providing a service and hopefully they're not going to restrict that service when we're not being actually paid for that service."

A committee will discuss this ordinance at a public meeting at Terre Haute City Hall this Thursday. It starts at 5 pm.

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