Evanston’s Health and Human Services is already proposing a ban on beekeeping in Evanston, and the Monday, May 1st meeting has not even convened…My initial contact with the City of Evanston regarding beekeeping showed me how little was understood about honeybees and their habits when I was given erroneous information regarding permits and regulations.
City officials might find it interesting that backyard beekeeping is alive and well in Evanston, but the reason they have never heard about it is that it hasn’t posed any problems for neighbors. Additionally, beekeeping is not only allowed but encouraged in the city of Chicago; Mayor Daley has a beekeeper who keeps hives on City Hall. Beekeeping also occurs in Logan Square and in other parts of the city. In other parts of the country, city beekeeping is encouraged due to the decreased number of honeybees, which pollinate our vegetables and fruits, and citizens are paid to keep bees.
About 300 people each year die from anaphylactic shock due to insect stings, which means that it is statistically more likely that a person will fall and die while walking down the street than as the result of an insect sting. Yellowjackets and hornets pose the real problem for humans and pets, not honeybees, which are nectarvores rather than carnivores.
I spent a year reading and thinking about my son’s projected hobby before agreeing to it; as a teacher and mother of three, I would not agree to beekeeping if I thought it was dangerous. In fact, when I have googled “dangerous beekeeping”, all I can find, aside from articles on Africanized bees which our bees are not, are articles on the rare reaction of anaphylactic shock to an insect sting. Moreover, a person with a severe reaction to stings should be more fearful of yellowjackets and hornets, which are aggressive and are attracted to human foods and activities, and should carry Epi-pens at all times.
It would be a shame if the city elders proposed a ban on beekeeping due to fear and ignorance.