View Full Version : Urban Bee Keeping

04-21-2007, 09:46 PM
I was talking to some neighbors who are also very interested in bee keeping and was wondering if anyone here knew any details or tricks to keeping bees in the inner city. Is it legal? What agencies would I need to contact?

Thanks in advance, hope to join the GMbeekeepers!


04-21-2007, 09:58 PM
found it.

From Minicode.com

"74.80. Keeping of honeybees.No person shall keep or allow to be kept any hive or other facility for the housing of honeybees. (Code 1960, As Amend., 816.080; Ord. of 6-13-75, 2) "


04-22-2007, 08:59 AM
Check out the below link


Look up your state and find out from bee keepers
There might be a state exception on beekeepers

In NoVa you can keep bees ... right outside of DC

I understand that DC might not allow it, but that
several local beekeeping clubs are working on getting
exceptions on that too.

Our hives are in a county park in the middle of
a suburban area.

What we have been told is ... if the hive is near
a walk way or place were ppl walk to put up a barrier
that makes the bees go up and over.

If they go over ppls heads almost no one will notice
the bees.

We know of people who keep bees on the balcony of high rise condos. Don't know how the bees are doing, but another idea

Hope this gives you some ideas on where to look


04-22-2007, 10:13 PM
Heard somewhere that in Japan they keep thier hives on roof tops in urban areas. The bees have plenty of wild flowers and trees to harvest honey from even in a city. I remember one time my dad kept bee hives on the roof over the back kitchen door, we all got stung with that setup. You should check with the zoning first or hide the hives in some bushes and paint them green camo. If you're downtown then a rooftop would be the best bet but moving the equipment around would be tough.

04-23-2007, 05:58 AM
We have heard of keeping bees on the balcony of

check out any local bee clubs ... most states have
them and see what the local experts say.


David Baldwin
04-25-2007, 01:49 PM
I recently checked into the city ordinances for Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I was expecting a total ban on beekeeping, but was very surprised to find that it is actually allowed - with several restrictions.

The very first restriction makes it essentially impossible for GR city residents to keep bees. They must be kept at least 100 feet from the edge of the property - any edge.

Most of our city subdivision lots run 60-120 feet wide by 120 - 200 deep. There is no place where you could keep bees 100 feet from the edge of the property.

So it is theoretically allowed, but essentially impossible for most residents.


04-25-2007, 04:04 PM

Have you contacted a local bee club.
Or the state bee association.

There might be ways around the rules.
Like put the back of the hive on one line
facing the other line. That might be over
100 feet.

But there are probably local beekeepers
that could give you better information.

In Northern Virginia, we can have hive.
Have talk to one person who has a hive in
a condo, 4th floor I believe and that
also might but you 100 feet from the line.

Again, check with local bee keepers
I dont know Michigan very well but
is one of the clubs on this link:

Near you. AnnArbor is one of the
addresses. Check it out maybe they
can give you better information.


04-27-2007, 12:17 PM
Grand Rapids general ordinances: No person shall keep, harbor or raise any bees in or upon any premises within the City unless in a hive or box located and kept:
(a) More than one hundred fifty (150) feet from any residence, hospital, sanitarium, school, church, office building, store, hotel, apartment house, rooming house or any place of habitation, and
(b) Not less than one hundred (100) feet from the edge of his or her own lot or property line.

"Any place of habitation" includes your own house.

Putting it on one side of your property does not fulfill the second requirement, as it is then less than 100 feet from that property line.

04-27-2007, 01:03 PM
Aside from the ordinance/legal issues.....

You want to make sure that they are facing in the correct direction, their flight path won't bother anyone, their fecal path won't bother anyone, and they don't swarm, and if they do you can quickly remove the swarm.

Flight path can be easily accomplished by placement around trees/bushes and fences if no bushes are available. Fecal path...in the spring they have cleansing flights, and they can spread a prodigious amount of yellow spots over a suprisingly large areas...and that shiny white Thunderbird nearby won't stay shiney or white! Away from parkinglots, if possible or you will have angry neighbors.
Springtime is a time for swarms, and the nervous neighbor might become really really nervous when a swarm of 10,000 + bees settles on their deck, and neighbors will cause the most trouble. A few jars of honey here or there will help, but not if it happens too often.

Other than that....I've found that it has generated a lot of good interest and interaction with my neighbors, and they love the honey. I have a larger lot private lot with lots of trees, I don't know what it would be like with a smaller bare lot.

Rick, Jenison, MI

David Baldwin
04-27-2007, 06:24 PM
I have a great place where I keep my hives near orchard and farm country, so it was mostly an exercise in checking out the local ordinances.

Rick, we must get together some time - share a bottle of mead or three... Jenison is way too close NOT to meet some time. PM me and we'll set something up.

David Baldwin

04-28-2007, 12:59 PM
If any of your neighbors have a garden or spend a lot of time on planting ornamental flowers around their house, they will really appreciate the bees.

I grew 2# cucumbers and can grow tomatoes as big as softballs with bees in my back yard.

04-29-2007, 01:46 AM
We seem to have one lonely honeybee that visits our backyard. We're not sure where she lives, but she really likes the lemon tree and the broccoli we let go to flower. Where are the rest of the bees? The tomatoes are going to bloom soon, we need bees!

04-30-2007, 08:17 AM
There are actually more than one, they just all look the same....there is probably a hive around 2 miles or so away... about the normal limits of foraging.

You are probably getting most of your pollination from native pollinators...solitary bees, bumble/carpenter bees, sweat bees, and also wasps and moths and beetles and such. I actually don't see honey bees on the tomatoes too much, mostly the bumbles. For the few flowers on tomatoes they do mostly fine.

Before my hives, there was only 1 honeybee now and then.

David, I'll send a PM.