Chapter 8.12


8.12.010    Purpose.

8.12.020    Definitions.

8.12.030    Hives.

8.12.040    Water.

8.12.050    General maintenance.

8.12.060    Queens.

8.12.070    Colony densities.

8.12.080    Location of apiaries.

8.12.090    Fencing of flyways.

8.12.100    Marking hives—Presumption of beekeeping.

8.12.110    Inspection.

8.12.120    Compliance.

8.12.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish certain requirements of sound beekeeping practices, which are intended to avoid problems that may otherwise be associated with the keeping of bees in populated areas. All beekeepers are expected to be certified and registered with the state of California as required by state law and abide by any other state or federal laws governing beekeeping activity. (Ord. 1002 § 3, 1994)

8.12.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context of their usage clearly indicates another meaning:

“Apiary” means a place where bee colonies are kept.

“Bee” means any stage of the common domestic honey bee, Apis mellifera species.

“Colony” means a hive and its equipment and appurtenances including bees, comb, pollen, and brood.

“Hive” means a structure intended for the housing of a bee colony.

“Tract” means a contiguous parcel of land under common ownership.

“Underdeveloped property” means any idle land that is not improved or actually in the process of being improved with residential, commercial, industrial, church, park, school or governmental facilities or other structures or improvements intended for human use occupancy and the grounds maintained in association therewith. The term shall be deemed to include property developed exclusively as a street or highway or property used for commercial agricultural purposes. (Ord. 1002 § 2, 1994)

8.12.030 Hives.

All bee colonies shall be kept in Langstroth type hives with removable frames, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition. (Ord. 1002 § 4, 1994)

8.12.040 Water.

Each beekeeper shall ensure that a convenient and adequate source of water is available at all times to the bees so that the bees will not congregate at swimming pools, bibcocks, pet watering bowls, bird baths, or other water sources where they may cause human, bird, livestock or domestic pet contact.

If no natural or convenient water source is available, then the operator of the apiary shall maintain a plentiful supply of fresh water within three hundred (300) feet of such apiary. (Ord. 1002 § 5, 1994)

8.12.050 General maintenance.

Each beekeeper shall ensure that no bee comb or other materials that might encourage robbing are left upon the grounds of the apiary site. Upon their removal from the hive all such materials shall promptly be disposed in a sealed container or placed within a building or other bee proof enclosure. (Ord. 1002 § 6, 1994)

8.12.060 Queens.

In any instance in which a colony exhibits unusually aggressive characteristics by stinging or attempting to sting without due provocation or exhibits an unusual disposition towards swarming, it shall be the duty of the beekeeper to promptly requeen the colony. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentleness and nonswarming characteristics. (Ord. 1002 § 7, 1994)

8.12.070 Colony densities.

A.    It is unlawful to keep more than the following number of colonies on any tract within the city, based upon the size of configuration of the tract on which the apiary is situated:

1.    One-quarter acre or less tract size: two colonies,

2.    More than one-quarter acre but less than one-half acre tract size: four colonies,

3.    More than one-half acre but less than one acre tract size: six colonies,

4.    One acre or larger tract size: eight colonies,

5.    Regardless of tract size, where all hives are situated at least two hundred (200) feet in any direction from all property lines of the tract on which the apiary is situated, there shall be no limit to the number of colonies,

6.    Regardless of tract size, so long as all property, other than the tract upon which the hives are situated, that is within a radius of at least two hundred (200) feet from any hive remains undeveloped property, there shall be no limit to the number of colonies.

B.    For each two colonies authorized under subsection A of this section, there may be maintained upon the same tract one nucleus colony in a hive structure not exceeding one standard nine and five-eighths inch depth ten frame hive body with no supers attached as required from time to time for managements of swarms. Each such nucleus colony shall be disposed of or combined with an authorized colony within thirty (30) days after the date is acquired. (Ord. 1002 § 8, 1994)

8.12.080 Location of apiaries.

A.    All apiaries owned or kept within the city shall be kept and located at a place at least three hundred (300) feet from any and all public roads.

B.    All apiaries owned or kept within the city shall be kept and located at a place at least five hundred (500) feet distant from the nearest structure used as a dwelling or a business, unless permission from the owner or occupant of the dwelling or business has been authorized. Upon request, satisfactory evidence of such permission shall be furnished to the city inspector.

C.    No apiary shall be kept within any location, of the city whenever the bees from such apiary which are entering lands or property of others, in sufficient amounts such as to endanger the public health or safety, or to create an unreasonable nuisance. (Ord. 1002 § 9, 1994)

8.12.090 Fencing of flyways.

As allowed by this chapter, any colony which is situated near a dwelling or business structure, school yards, or where people congregate shall maintain a flyway barrier at least six feet in height consisting of a solid wall, fence, dense vegetation or combination thereof and extends ten feet beyond the colony in each direction so that all bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six feet above ground level in vicinity of the apiary. (Ord. 1002 § 10, 1994)

8.12.100 Marking hives—Presumption of beekeeping.

A.    In apiaries, the name, address and telephone numbers of the beekeeper, shall be branded, painted or otherwise clearly marked upon the structure of at least two hives and placed at opposite ends of the apiary. Instead of marking the hives, the beekeeper may conspicuously post a sign setting forth the name, address and telephone number of the beekeeper.

B.    Unless marked in accordance with subsection A of this section it shall be presumed for purposes of this chapter that the beekeeper is the person or persons who own or otherwise have the present right of possession and control of the tract upon which a hive or hives are situated. The presumption may be rebutted by a written agreement authorizing another person to maintain the colony or colonies upon the tract setting forth the name, address and telephone number of the other person who is acting as the beekeeper. (Ord. 1002 § 11, 1994)

8.12.110 Inspection.

The city inspector, or other city employees, shall have the right to inspect any apiary between the hours of eight a.m. and five p.m. Where practicable, prior notice shall be given to the beekeeper if he or she resides at the apiary or if his or her name is marked on the hives. The city inspector or other city employees has the right, to ensure the public safety, to enter a tract anytime to investigate and if necessary abate, any feral colonies, swarms or hazardous bees. (Ord. 1002 § 12, 1994)

8.12.120 Compliance.

A.    Upon receipt of information that any colony situated within the city is not being kept in compliance with this chapter, the administrator shall cause an investigation to be conducted. If he or she finds that grounds exist to believe that one or more violations have occurred he or she shall cause a written notice of hearing to be issued to the beekeeper.

B.    The notice of hearing shall set forth:

1.    The date, time and place at which the hearing will be conducted;

2.    The violation(s) alleged;

3.    That the beekeeper may appear in person or through counsel or other representative; and

4.    That the bees may be ordered destroyed or removed from the city, at the owner’s expense, if the hearing officer finds that they have been kept in violation of this chapter.

Notices shall be given by certified United States mail or personal delivery. However, if the city is unable to locate the beekeeper, then the notice may be given by posting the notice in a conspicuous place on or near the apiary where the condition exists.

C.    The hearing shall be conducted by the safety manager (hearing officer) that will be designated by the fire chief. The burden shall be on the city to demonstrate by a preponderance of credible evidence that the colony or colonies have in fact been kept in violation of this chapter. If the hearing officer finds that the colony or colonies have been kept in violation of this chapter, then he or she may order that the bees be destroyed or removed from the city, not to exceed twenty (20) days, and that the bees not thereafter be kept upon the tract for a period of two years. In instances where the hearing officer finds that the violations were not intentional and that the beekeeper has employed corrective actions that will probably be effective to cure the violations alleged, then he or she may issue a warning in lieu of ordering the bees be removed or destroyed. Upon failure of the beekeeper to comply with the order, the officer may cause the bees to be destroyed and the hive structures to be removed. In each instance in which a bee colony is destroyed, all usable components of the hive structure that are not damaged or rendered unhealthy by the destruction of the bees shall upon the beekeeper’s request be returned to the beekeeper; provided, that the beekeeper agrees to bear all transportation expenses for their return.

D.    The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed to the city council by filing a notice of appeal with the city clerk within five days following the date that the hearing officer announces his or her decision, or if the decision is not announced at the conclusion of the hearing, then within ten (10) days following the date that the hearing officer places written notice of his or her decision in the mail to the beekeeper. An appeal shall not stay the hearing officer’s decision, and it shall be the responsibility of the beekeeper to remove the bees from the city pending the determination of the appeal.

E.    The provisions of this section shall not be construed to require the conduct of a hearing for the destruction of: (1) any bee colony not residing in a hive structure intended for beekeeping; or (2) any swarm of bees; or (3) any colony residing in a standard or manmade hive, which by virtue of its condition has obviously been abandoned by the beekeeper; (4) bees which impose a bee hazard to the public by exhibiting unusual aggressive behavior. (Ord. 1002 § 13, 1994)