- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) - A growing number of Twin Cities suburbs have relaxed their rules for keeping bees.

White Bear Lake, Stillwater and Lake Elmo are among communities that have recently adopted more bee-friendly regulations in an effort to revive the plant pollinator. Bee populations have been shrinking because of pesticides and bee mites.

Bees were considered pests in Mahtomedi in the 1990s. Bee hives were banned in that community and elsewhere, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1nRJlIg ). But Mayor Jud Marshall says public sentiment has changed.

“We are changing our tune, and it’s about time,” said Marshall. “Very definitely, people want the bees.”

Marshall expects the city to adopt a new bee ordinance in the next few months.

Stillwater had required property owners to have nine acres in order to keep bees, but has relaxed that rule. Now, homeowners need just one-third of an acre for bee hives.

Lake Elmo’s new bee ordinance went into effect in February and so far, the city has issued about half a dozen beekeeping permits.

A $25 two-year permit allows a property owner who has at least three-quarters of an acre to have four hives, with more hives allowed on larger lots.

The permits require training for new beekeepers.

“We just thought it was common sense,” said Adam Bell, the city’s assistant administrator and clerk.

Bell said Lake Elmo surveyed a number of communities in the metro area and found that many were relaxing their rules.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com


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