from the helpful-critters-are-welcome dept.
The Los Angeles City Council voted [October 14] to allow backyard beekeeping, joining cities like Santa Monica, New York, Denver, and other cities where the hobby is legal.
[...] Councilman Paul Koretz [....] said bees "do especially well in Los Angeles" and Wednesday's move could help address bee colony collapse disorder which has claimed about a third of the global bee population.
[...] City leaders and members of HoneyLove, a nonprofit that promotes beekeeping, said the activity aids urban farming efforts such as community gardens. They also said urban areas offer a pesticide-free environment for insects that are critical to the health of agriculture and plants.
[...] The ordinance allows no more than one hive per 2,500 square feet per lot area to be kept in the backyards of single-family homes citywide. Front yard beekeeping is barred by the ordinance.
It also sets buffer zones and areas on a property where hives can be kept and requires that beekeepers raise walls or hedges high enough to ensure bees need to fly up before leaving the backyard.
A water source also needs to be maintained near the hives so the bees would not need to venture outside of the beekeeper's backyard to get hydrated, under the rules.
The backyard beekeepers also need to register with the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commission.
The commission has 129 beekeepers registered with 219 locations countywide, according to commission spokesman Ken Pellman. Of those registered, 39 are commercial beekeepers, which means they have eight or more hives.
[...] Los Angeles already averages about eight to 10 feral bee hives per square mile.
The popular trend of raising backyard chickens in U.S. cities and suburbs is bringing with it a soaring number of illnesses from poultry-related diseases, at least one of them fatal. Since January, more than 1,100 people have contracted salmonella poisoning from chickens and ducks in 48 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Almost 250 were hospitalized and one person died. The toll was four times higher than in 2015.
The CDC estimates that the actual number of cases from contact with chickens and ducks is likely much higher. "For one salmonella case we know of in an outbreak, there are up to 30 others that we don't know about," CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols said.
A "large contributing factor" to the surge, Nichols said, comes from natural food fanciers who have taken up the backyard chicken hobby but don't understand the potential dangers. Some treat their birds like pets, kissing or snuggling them and letting them walk around the house. Poultry can carry salmonella bacteria in their intestines that can be shed in their feces. The bacteria can attach to feathers and dust and brush off on shoes or clothing.
But illnesses can be prevented with proper handling. The CDC recommends that people raising chickens wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds, eggs or nesting materials, and leave any shoes worn in a chicken coop outside.
Salmonella is much more common as a food-borne illness. More than 1 million people fall ill each year from salmonella contamination in food, resulting in more than 300 deaths, according to the CDC. There are no firm figures on how many households in the U.S. have backyard chickens, but a Department of Agriculture report in 2013 found a growing number of residents in Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City expressed interest in getting them. Coops are now seen in even the smallest yards and densest urban neighborhoods.
Earlier article from when only 900 people had been infected this year.
With the advent of Colony Collapse Disorder early this millennium, and the resulting drops in bee populations across the USA, Europe, and Asia, people and organizations have been making efforts to house, protect and nurture honeybee populations for the sake of their crops, the good of the environment, or as a service to humanity at large.
Use of the land for the bees destroyed was donated by a private citizen and the location is visible to the road so passers by can watch and enjoy the bee keepers working with the bees.
Then we get people that do things like this:
Over the weekend, someone set fire to two dozen bee colonies in Alvin, Texas belonging to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. The perpetrator also dumped some of the bee boxes into a nearby pond.
According to one of the beekeepers:
I broke down in tears when I saw a floating brood frame in the water with bees still caring for the brood.
It is expected that the perpetrators were very likely stung and the community is on the lookout for individuals with bee stings.
Perhaps more remarkably, this is not a completely new idea. Multiple Facebook comments speak of past attacks on bees elsewhere attributed to teenagers and rival bee keepers.
We've already seen bees persevering through fire and smoke, according to beekeepers the surviving bees are stressed and many will have lost their queens, but is also possible some hives will survive.
Previous coverage of Bee troubles:
Some Honeybee Colonies Adapt in Wake of Deadly Mites
Backyard Beekeeping Now Legal in Los Angeles
Honeybees Pick Up 'Astonishing' Number of Pesticides Via Non-crop Plants
Bees Dead from Aerial Zika Spraying in South Carolina
Pesticide Companies' Own Secret Tests Showed Their Products Harm Bees
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
EU Bans Outdoor Use of Pesticides That Harm Bees