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Bees in urban areas

9 months ago

In response to complaints we have had about bees over the past few years, Council is wondering whether it should introduce rules around keeping bees in urban areas within the Western Bay of Plenty District Council area

Some examples could include a minimum distance between beehives and property boundaries and/or restricting the maximum number of hives on any property. What do you think? Have you got any other ideas for Council to consider?

Consultation has concluded

  • davo 8 months ago
    If a decision is made to exclude comercial operator s it will need to be defined. I support keeping bees in the urban areas they are already becoming ecological deserts with the amount of domestic animals, weeds and pest animals around and as others have said bees are critical to our environment! Imthink a practical limit and distance from a boundary would be appropriate and relatively easy to manage. 50 tp 100 hives does not sound ok in an urban area unless its a big enough section to cope
  • zooloo 8 months ago
    Bees are handy wee fellows and we depend upon them more than we realize. However you would not be happy if, like me, you retired to an urban area, found a commercial beekeeper had moved in 200 meters away and his actions confined you to living indoors. Every time you went outside, to enjoy the sun, you got showered in bee poo. You couldn't hang the washing outside to dry. You couldn't leave the car outside. You couldn't socialize outside. I was paying rates on a property that I couldn't use. The bee poo rained down, stuck to everything in sight and set like concrete after the sun had baked it to whatever surface it landed on.Bees will not poo in their hive. They save up and let go of their poo, on fine days, with a passion like you would not believe unless you have experienced it for yourself. There is no place near urban areas for commercial beekeepers. They belong up in the hills or in rural areas. Beekeepers make good income and the misery caused to urban dwellers is known but often ignored. It is time to correct this anomaly and ban commercial bee operators from within at least 1 km of urban area boundaries. Beekeepers are farming bees. Why should their 'livestock' be housed in such large numbers that they cause such problems? A bit of naturally occurring bee poo is expected but the quantity produced by commercial beekeepers is far too much to be tolerated in or near urban areas. Dairy farmers can't dump their waste in rivers. Why should bee operators be able to dump their waste in our back yards?Hobby beekeepers should be just that and their bee numbers limited. Legislation needs to allow for the 'nuisance factor'. Signed approval should be obtained from neighbours prior to setting up. There should then be a 6 monthly cooling off period and an annual review and if more than 50% of the original signatories wish to rescind their consent then the bees should go. Majority rules. Easy! Thank you for the opportunity to have my say. It is much appreciated. No I don't live near bees any longer and this is bliss.
  • Angela Korfage 8 months ago
    We must look after the bees and provide them with as much help as possible. Yes they should be allowed in urban areas, maybe limited numbers, there are a lot more annoying things in suburbs than bees!
  • Billy 9 months ago
    Bees are great, but if your property is in a flight path for a period large amounts of the yellow bee poo is left deposited on clothes, cars, windows etc. This is hard to remove.I think hives should be limited to one or two per residential property, or commercial property surrounded by houses.An option is I guess to complain under the Councils General Bylaw 2008.Nuisances : 4- 4.2
  • Tina 9 months ago
    Bees need all the help they can get in my view. They, 'like the canary in the mine' reflect the health of our environment ("Silent Spring", Rachael Carson) as long as they are cared for properly, standards of bee hives, who checks on the health of the hives/bees, nutrition, food sources, honey health. What happens if the owner no longer able to care or wants the bees? Do support a National/District council wide formulation of urban beekeeping by laws which comes under the umbrella of the animal welfare act, Ministry of Primary industries, health and safety Acts.
  • Carol Croucher 9 months ago
    I live in Butterfield Cresent Papamoa and we have a problem with bee droppings on our windows, washing and cars . It is so bad that the windows have to be washed every two days at least and yellow spots on the washing is annoying the windscreen on the car needs to be washed before we can drive if the car has been parked outside. I would appriciate anything that can be done to stop this problem.
  • Robtek 9 months ago
    Hives should be allowed in urban areas. As has been stated by others nuisance level is more of an indercator than putting a fixed figure on proximity to boundaries or hive numbers.
  • Maxi 9 months ago
    I would like to see all commercial bee keepers keep their bees away from urban areas. I have one next door who keeps queens on a second story of his house and my house and neighbors houses, car, windows, washing etc are covered all the time with bee poo. Makes for very unhappy living.
  • Angie 9 months ago
    Leave the bees alone, hives or no hives, the bees will always go where they want to go. Especially as they will travel 6-10 kms for food so no bye law will stop them entering a suburban area.
  • Sarah finlayson 9 months ago
    Beekeeping should be allowed. Bees are vital to our survival.
  • Yiannismix 9 months ago
    I have situated my hive in the corner of my section furthest from my three neighbours. I have two hives and the bees need to clear a 1.8m fence in all three neighbourly directions. In fact, in the one neighbourly direction they need to clear a 3m tree. The only direction that they can fly below the fence height is in the direction of my house. I challenge anyone who wants to inspect my house for bee defacation, for there is none on my windows or our washing line which is in direct fly path down the side of our house. If you observe the bees leaving the hive, they circle above the hive to a height of about 2.5m-3m before bee lining in any direction to where they will go to pollinate and collect nectar or pollen.I feel that the good that bees do for our environment has a much greater benefit for all of us. My neighbours have noted how their flowers and vegetables have much better yields than when there were no bees next door.I feel that one should be allowed between 4 to 6 hives on one’s property with the approval of one’s neighbours. There are many hidden costs in hobby beekeeping and many outlays to control varroa mites and other bee diseases that may befall a bee hive. Remedies are expensive and any more restrictions on a hobby beekeeper will make it uneconomical to keep bees for the benefit of all. If you ban beekeeping, you will only be hurting our environment in Tauranga. No more beautiful Jacarandas and lovely flowers around our city.
  • Old horse 9 months ago
    There certainly needs to be some control of hive numbers. We have neighbours 2 houses away, since they got a hive our house windows and washing get bombarded with bee poo, i am talking lots !. Now I hear their neighbours are going to do the same. I dont think hives should be allowed in residential areas.
  • Chris-M 9 months ago
    The council bylaw should be in synch with other bylaws and other councils without inventing anything extraordinary. The council has not provided any information about how many complaints are made, how this compares to numbers of other complaints and the costs involved in sorting it out. It hasn't be explained if they remove and destory all unregistered hives. For registered hives in a registered apiary by a registered beekeeper, the normal rules of public nuisance and private nuisance apply. Those laws underpin all english law. The council can't change them. In essence, everyone is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their own property, but this applies to the beekeeper as well as the neighbour. So overall the council hasn't provided any real figures to justify any real problem. However, it would be good to understand how many genuine nuisance cases were identified as opposed to simply NIMBY whiners. How many official letters are written forcing hives to be moved. It would be also good to know if the council has liaison contacts with the local chapter of APINZ and the Bay of Plenty Beekeeper Group. These being the respective local commercial and hobby beekeeping groups. Reason being that if the council can provide the beekeeper with support the problem can be fixed and/or if those groups report back that the beekeeper is a genuine nutter then they can get the hive removed and it really is genuine nuisance. In order to make a bylaw about numbers, distances or whatever is never going to work and I'm not aware of any council in NZ that has had success going down that route. A large commercial strength hive is fairly terrifying whereas as half dozen mating nucs are not. Many urban hives are not the stack of boxes you might commonly see for a commercial hive, so people who actually don't know much about bees might make all kinds of assumptions (or submissions) so the council needs to be well informed of the facts. Some beekeepers have excellent relations with all their neighbours, but if one neighbour sells and a new neighbour comes in then I could see it potentially becoming a bit dicey. TCC is currently going through a bylaw review too, the respective bylaws should be in synch shouldn't they? So far as I understand most of the complaints in TCC related to defecation (bee poo). With a lot of hives around it is very difficult to pin point which hive is doing the deed. Often bees will be heading out of the hive to particular area to forage and will take a dump when they leave the hive to lighten the load. However during the year as different trees and plants flower this dump zone can alter drastically. Some areas (Te Puke, Welcome Bay) are flooded with bees at some times of year, largely because commercial beekeepers bring their hives home for winter. For hobby beekeepers with only one or two hives, this can be a difficult time as all forage is under pressure. So keeping the big commercial apiaries (aka dump sites) out of the urban area is a reasonable request from most perspectives. Hobby beekeepers are schooled to always have at least two hives so that if one gets crook the other can prop it up or they can be combined. Disease is a major issue in beekeeping, so a bylaw limiting hives to one or two would be counterproductive. I would not want a bylaw that limited hive numbers, but instead one that focussed on nuisance being caused seeking verification from beekeeping groups so as to augment the decision making process of council staff who may be relatively untrained in beekeeping. Some new articles have focussed on beekeepers who have 20 or 30 hives on an urban section, I remember reading about this in south auckland several years ago. That seems totally nuts to me, but I don't believe the council needs any bylaw in cases like that which are clear cut. It is actually the small problems that are hardest to resolve. Putting it all on the council to be judge and jury always rankles with both sides of the argument. I personally believe that using a mechanism like the small disputes tribunal which puts the two parties face to face gives a more long lasting solution; cheaper in the long run.
  • WBSue 9 months ago
    Currently Waihi Beach has a property with 50 - 100 hives - within the town boundary. Because they always had hives on the property they are permitted to have any number of hives under existing rights. These hives are placed within 50 metres of nearby houses. So I suggest hobbiest beekeepers are permitted up to 6 hives. Commercial beekeepers should not be permitted to operate within town boundaries
  • Colin Hewens 9 months ago
    I believe there should be a limit to a small number of hives depending on the size of the property. The bee hives should have a wind cloth, or similar, surrounding them at least 1.8 m high causing the bees to fly out above neighbours head level. Neighbours should receive a pot of honey every year to keep them sweet.