Sweet deal: West Dundee OKs honeybee keeping on split vote
By Erin Sauder For Sun-Times Media September 24, 2013 10:50AM
Honeybees gather in a backyard hive in New Jersey. | AP
Updated: October 26, 2013 6:23AM
WEST DUNDEE — The village could get a little sweeter, now that trustees have approved a proposal to legalize honeybee keeping.
At Monday night’s village board meeting, the vote was split 3-3, with Village President Chris Nelson as be the tie-breaker in favor of the lifting the ban on people raising honeybees.
The three trustees who voted against the ordinance said they think the number of hives allowed on a property, up to four, is too high.
“I think that’s excessive,” said Trustee Patrick Hanley. “When you’re talking 40,000 bees in a hive, that’s 160,000 bees that could be 20 feet away from my yard. In just the last rainstorm, we had a hornet’s nest collapse and they were going crazy all day. If something were to happen to the beehives, there’d be a lot of bees not happy.”
Trustee Daniel Wilbrandt said he’s worried about children coming into contact with the bees.
“I think education about bees is fantastic,” he said. “But almost 200,000 bees in a West Dundee backyard, with possibly multiple homes on a block having them — what is the first thing a kid does when he sees a bee? He swats at it. We’re not a rural area where we have large properties. In old town West Dundee, we’re kind of packed in here.”
Village officials said allowing four hives on a property is standard among other communities that have legalized honeybee keeping.
In May, Carpentersville reversed a village ordinance against keeping honeybees after a resident asked for the ban to be lifted. The Carpentersville Village Board noted that honeybees can be maintained without causing a nuisance if they are properly located and managed.
According to West Dundee’s ordinance, those who plan to keep honeybees are required to apply for a license with the village, register with the Illinois Agricultural Department, let their neighbors know they will have bees on the property, and put a small sign in their yard indicating they are honeybee keepers. The ordinance also restricts bees to the backyard and requires a flyway barrier.
Village officials opted to pursue legalizing honeybee keeping this summer after two residents expressed interest in the hobby.