Posted in Books, Environment, Gardening

Thinking Spring and Bees

My Minnesota backyard is still covered in snow, but some of you are already enjoying flowering spring bulbs. This is the time of year I start getting serious about what my summer garden should look like. I should be planting more swamp milkweed this year, and hopefully my tomatoes will be happier in the 3 foot by 3 foot bed that is being added to the back yard.

One longed for addition will not happen. My town council decided not to allow backyard beekeeping. Ever since I moved to this house, I’d been aware of efforts to change the town rules to allow for backyard chickens and bees. The council voted last month to allow chickens, but not bees. Having been pecked by my grandma’s chickens more times than I can count, I have zero interest in chickens. What surprised me the most was that although more individuals in a survey of citizens said they would keep chickens, the percent of the population who opposed chickens was about 15% higher than those who opposed backyard bees, but the city stands to collect more in licensing fees from the potential chicken wranglers than from bee keepers.

My current writing project features a bee keeper who hates chickens. Personal curiosity drove my research into pollinators and bee keeping, which in turn fed my manuscript and efforts to change town laws. I won’t be able to set up a backyard hive, but I am looking forward to welcoming bees and pollinators to my yard with a variety of colorful blooms and native plants.



where the heart finds a home

2 thoughts on “Thinking Spring and Bees

  1. As a former beekeeper, who now is deadly (and I mean deadly!) allergic to bee stings, but still loves to garden, having a bee hive next door or down the street could be the end of me. Even though I keep an Epi pen on my person at all times, I might not get to a hospital fast enough. The few bees that come to my gardens can be avoided, but if there were a hive of tens of thousands, or many additional hives in the neighborhood, I’d have to stay indoors, and definitely have to give up growing my own food and flowers. So, I vote chickens…

    1. I think concerns over allergies was a major factor for not allowing bee hives and a reasonable one. I have one kiddo with an epi for food allergies and the concern over not getting to a hospital on time is serious. The proposal would have required anyone wanting to keep bees to pay a licensing fee, go through a training course with an established beekeeper, and get permission from all neighbors within a certain radius of the home. Neighborhood home owners associations would also have been able to limit the number of properties allowed to keep bees. I think the town was right in the approach to set up a lot of hoops to jump through before one could set up a backyard hive, but I would love to see more pollinator friendly decisions such as adding wildflowers or banning certain pesticides. Wishing you a successful and safe growing season.

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