Rapid City won't swat bee hobbyists - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City won't swat bee hobbyists

MGN Online photo by Tom Bayly - Creative Commons MGN Online photo by Tom Bayly - Creative Commons
Fans of honey bees swarmed Monday night's Rapid City Council meeting.

Beekeepers, friends of beekeepers and neighbors of beekeepers told the council the hobby of maintaining hives is not a threat to the public. They also underscored that the work of bees to pollinate plants is vital to the world's food chain.

The issue of beekeeping surfaced with recent complaints that Rapid City couple John and Chris McDowell have hives in the backyard of their Judy Avenue home.

A city animal control officer issued a warning for keeping wild animals -- bees -- in a residential area.

But John McDowell and others, including the city's code enforcement officer, point out that city rules are hazy about honeybees and hives. In fact, the city several years ago approved the Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers Club placing bee hives in Mary Hall Park as an educational exhibit.

"I would really like to thank my neighbors who brought their concerns forward, who initiated this. It will help in ultimately clarifying and helping everybody out there," McDowell said.

Alderman Chad Lewis cited the outpouring of support for bees in obtaining a unanimous council vote to suspend citations against hobby bee keeping operations. The council also directed city staff to work with beekeepers to create new rules about hobby bee keeping.

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

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Fax: 605.342.7305

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