- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette City-Parish Council has voted unanimously to legalize beekeeping in Lafayette.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1l2TIaP ) Tuesday’s vote ends a 50-year-old ban that caught the attention City-Parish President Joey Durel earlier this year when he learned of its existence.

Durel said he first heard of the ban after asking a beekeeper at a recent farmers market about the possibility of getting a beehive in his yard so the pollinators could make his lemon tree more productive.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, we can’t have beehives in the city of Lafayette,’” Durel recalled Tuesday. “You can have bee hives in New York City, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles. And Lafayette decided 50 years ago we can’t have bees.”

Durel said he could remember a time when there were so many bees on his lemon tree “you could hear the humming when you walked up to it.”

These days, he said, bees are in decline and he struggles to find just a few of them pollinating his tree.

“It may be coincidental, but it’s the fewest lemons I’ve ever had,” Durel said.

Some councilmen questioned possible safety issues, asking whether allowing beehives in the city might raise the likelihood of stings.

“Those bees are not going to bother anybody,” said Michael Smith, a third-generation beekeeper and president of the Acadiana Beekeepers Association. “Bees as a general rule are not very aggressive. It’s just a simple matter of educating the public.”

Smith, who was on hand to answer questions from the council Tuesday, said he keeps about 20 hives, all outside the city limits, but he said bees are already in the city, whether kept in hives by beekeepers or living naturally in a tree trunk or barn.

The new beekeeping law, modeled after similar laws in other cities, has safeguards.

Beekeepers must provide a water source to keep thirsty bees from flying to a swimming pool or pond next door for a drink.

The new law also limits the number of hives based on the size of the lot, starting with a limit of two hives for lots up to quarter acre and maxing out at eight hives for an acre or more.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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