Aldermen may face a swarm of protest Monday night when the Human Services Committee is scheduled to discuss a proposed ban on beekeeping in Evanston.

Local beekeepers and bee fans are circulating an online petition and already have several dozen signatures of folks who think bees make good neighbors.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Room 2402 of the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.

Jay Terry, the city’s health and human services director, says the buzz started after Susan Dickman decided to place a bee hive in her back yard and a neighbor called the city to object. Ms. Dickman now is leading the pro-bee petition drive.

Ms. Dickman says the bee hive is an educational project for her 14-year-old son Gabriel who’s been working on it for a year. She says that as part of the project he surveyed neighbors about their attitudes about bees. None of the neighbors objected to the plan, she said, except for the one who called the city to complain.

Mr. Terry said the neighbor who complained to the city voiced fears about the risk from bee stings which are potentially fatal to some persons.

Mr. Terry said the bee issue also came up earlier this year after a community gardener brought bee colonies into a garden plot near Eggleston Park without getting city approval. Those colonies have since been removed, he said. The park is located along McCormick Boulevard across from the Ladd Arboretum.

The bee backers say bees provide a valuable service by pollinating fruits and vegetables and are important to preserving a healthy environment.

Mr. Terry says the city doesn’t have any ordinances about bees now. He said some communities have set up regulations requiring that bee hives be kept at a distance from neighboring property — typically 50 to 300 feet. But that’s “very hard to do in a community as dense as ours,” he said.

He’s recommending that the city ban beekeeping, as Berwyn and Oak Park already do.

Related Link
Susan Dickman – Proposed Bee Ban

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Proposed Bee Ban
    I should clarify that the statistic that I reported for 300 anaphylactic deaths due to stinging insects–no breakdown by specific insects–is nationwide, and I believe I read about it in Robbing the Bees. However, I have more recently read that the number is closer to less than 100 people nationwide, and each article I have read encourages people with severe bee allergies to always carry an Epi-pen when outdoors.

    I’d also like to point out that we have not even started our hive; the bees are a bit late in arriving. The objecting neighbor, therefore, has had no experience whatsoever with our bees, and the city has unfortunately reacted in a knee-jerk manner out of fear and lack of knowledge. Evanston citizens are smarter than that!

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