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County Goes Pro-Bee

July 13th, 2015

County Goes Pro-Bee

Although many wild bees pollinate foods, it is commercially kept bees that are transported to fields to pollinate on demand.  Healthy, farmed bees are not only an established asset to the agricultural community, they are irreplaceable.

Beekeepers in one county in Wisconsin are working with the County Board to find ways to support bees and beekeepers alike.

In Racine County, the community has recognized the importance of fostering beekeeping by making it an easier back yard hobby.  Their first obstacle: public perception of bees as dangerous.

While bees do sting, and for some allergic individuals can be deadly, they are not nearly as dangerous as many believe.  Wasps and yellow jackets are far more aggressive and likely to sting humans, and the pain from those stings is far greater.  Honeybees are relatively mild-mannered and only attack if the hive is threatened.

Beekeepers have made progress in relaxing rules around keeping bees in residential areas, following a seven-month lawsuit that was eventually thrown out of court.

Last year, resident Debi Fuller received a citation for keeping bees in a residential zone.  Her court case, which was recently dismissed, has been part of the push to establish fair guidelines for residential beekeeping.  The resulting ordinances under discussion apply only to unincorporated areas of the county, and include reasonable setbacks on property lines as well as possibly establishing flyaway barriers that encourage bees to fly up rather than toward a neighbor.

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