URBANDALE, Iowa — Urbandale officials have ordered a 17-year-old beekeeper to remove her honeybee hive from her family’s home because they say bees are considered to be livestock.
Clare Heinrich set up a hive outside her parents’ home in April to study the bees’ rituals of service to the colony and honey production, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2d32eti ) reports.
“I know they are important pollinators, and they are disappearing,” said Heinrich, who plans to study environmental science in college. “I wanted to know if I could do something.”
City officials say because the bees are considered livestock, they are prohibited from being kept on residential property. The Heinrichs must remove the hive by the end of September or face a fine of $1,000 on the first day and $750 for every day thereafter.
The Heinrichs say they checked city codes and didn’t see any mention of bees. Clare’s father, Kurt Heinrich, said he talked to city officials in June. Officials say they told him the bees were prohibited without knowing the family already had them.
The city sent a notice to the family to have the bees removed after a neighbor reported the hive.
Urbandale city development director Steven Franklin says the main reason bees are prohibited is neighbors’ safety concerns over swarms on their property.
“A lot of people, if they get stung, they think it’s by bees, but it is wasps,” Kurt Heinrich said. “Unless you know bees are back here, most people would never know.”
City codes regarding livestock and bees vary from city to city. Beekeeping is allowed in Des Moines and West Des Moines.
According to Heinrich, some neighbors have told her that their flowers and vegetables are more robust since she received her shipment of 10,000 bees and set up the hive.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com