Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don't worry, bee happy

The Planning Board is not a fan of ZRA 117, which is the legislation to reduce the required setback for beehives. The Sun reports that the Planning Board has recommended that the Council reject the ZRA. I've mentioned this ZRA before.

Bees are now in the same zoning category as farm animals in Howard, which means the hives must be at least 200 feet from an adjoining property, a rule so restrictive it prompted an outpouring of support in November from beekeepers across the Baltimore area advocating for a change. They insist that honeybees are harmless and haven't caused any problem if not disturbed, even in urban neighborhoods in Baltimore.

But board members were leery of having bees close to other homes, especially in heavily populated areas such as Columbia.

"It's best to leave it out of New Town," board chairwoman Linda Dombrowski said during a discussion before the 4-0 vote.

"The idea of having beehives in the back of town houses just doesn't make sense," agreed Tammy Citaramanis.

The Planning Board has shown themselves to be quite ignorant about honeybees, which is something that I know a little bit about. Honeybees are actually the most harmless when they are swarming, because they have no hive or honey stores to defend. This is the only time in which they could possibly congregate in large numbers on someone else's property. I have actually had swarming bees crawl up my pants leg and not sting me. When not swarming (on average, honeybees swarm only once a year but management techniques by the beekeeper can reduce this), honeybees are working. They are taking nectar and pollen from flowers, or doing chores around the hive. They have no time or incentive to attack children and the elderly, despite what uninformed people may assume. In my opinion, dogs are actually more dangerous than honeybees.

I seriously doubt that anyone on the Planning Board could articulate the difference between wasps and bees. In fact, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are NOT BEES AT ALL. Hopefully the County Council will prove that they are a bit more informed than the Planning Board.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully you testified or will testify to the above. Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

The Council has proven that in recent years time and time again.