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Author Topic: Sad news and warning for backyard beekeepers.  (Read 4174 times)
Wojtek
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« on: April 21, 2009, 07:47:02 PM »

Sad news and warning for backyard beekeepers.
I am sharing this with you so you could avoid similar unpleasant experience.
I received a note from village official (Norridge IL, near Chicago) to remove my bees from my back yard property, “code violation”, 4 bee families. Initially 6 days to comply, extended later to 2 weeks.
The hives are Kenyan TBH type with windows, garden / backyard character, ornamental. Bees are absolutely harmless. I never used a smog, veil used only very rarely, only with major jobs with a lot scrubbing, cutting and direct extensive irritation in brood area. One side neighbor had nothing against a bees, with the other side neighbor there was no discussion about it. This neighbor is separated with high, dense hedge about 9".
I put a lot of work and my hart to construct the hives and I developed a few innovative things and devices for this kind of beekeeping, not talking about gathered results of observation, what I shared with other in my home page, (some of it)
Now all this have to forgotten because my type of beekeeping, in which honey is a secondary thing as a gift in addition to a pleasure of beekeeping have to be liquidated.
Translocation of hives to different area is out of question because my type of beekeeping is only possible in backyard condition, not remote setting.
So, with sadness I will have to say goodbye to this group of beekeepers.
Wojtek
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Wojtek
fermentedhiker
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2009, 07:56:18 PM »

did you get a copy of the ordinance you're supposedly violating?  I've seen code enforcement officers incorrectly interpret rules before.
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Natalie
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2009, 08:13:22 PM »

I am very sorry to hear this.
 What is the violation?
Too many hives or are you not allowed to have bees in your area at all?
Can you appeal this?
Please don't give up without a fight, I am so sick of hearing stories about beekeepers being harrassed.
Please let us know what happens and I wish you the best of luck.
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mtbe
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2009, 10:05:26 PM »

I built my father a TBH also, and he live in Glen Ellyn, Ill.  They can't have hives there either, unless you have 5 or more acres.  Considered livestock.  Fortunately, his property backs up to an open area which happens to be in an adjacent township which allowed him to put bees there.  He has just one hive.

Code from Village of Norridge:
Sec. 14-4.  Keeping animals other than domestic pets.
No person shall own, keep or allow to be at large any bees, goats, sheep, hogs, cattle or fowl within the village. Fowl shall include chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and pigeons.
(Code 1972, ch. 11, art. 3, § 4)

Pretty clear.

So, what are you doing with the bees?  Good chance to sell them.  In fact, I know of a keeper in Chicago that was late and didn't get an order in for this year, and he wants to start with a Top Bar Hive.


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StevenSlaughter
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2009, 10:30:55 PM »

Wojtek,

David is referring to me. I've been thinking and studying for a little over a year, but am coming to the party a little late. (I didn't realize bee orders had to be put in so early.)

I am truly sorry to hear of your problem. As a chicken owner, I went through a similar thing about a year ago, when a Chicago alderman with too much time on her hands proposed to ban all chicken ownership (due to one or two problems in her own westside ward). We were able to fight it and reach out to our local alderman, who was able to successfully kill the proposal. I don't know how Norridge politics work, but one of the things that helped us was that a larger organization interested in urban agriculture (and experienced with dealing with politicians) rallied behind us few chicken owners to get this done. They are a group of many smaller groups all focused on various aspects of agricultural endeavors in the metro area. It was in their interest fight for chicken ownership even though it isn't their focus. I would think beekeeping would fit right in. I'll look up their info and ask the director if she'd like to take on this issue in Norridge.

If you don't have time or this doesn't work, I am only days away from beginning to build my TBH, so if it turns out you do need to sell your equipment and bees, I would be interested. Again, I am truly more interested in helping you change the system on this in Norridge, not in benefiting from your trouble, so I do not want to come off as an opportunist. But if you do need to sell, please email me and we can discuss.

I'll email the organization's director, Martha, right now to see if she is able to take on your cause.

Steven Slaughter
Chicago
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Steven Slaughter
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Wojtek
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009, 12:36:01 AM »

Thank you all for expressing sympathy and readiness to assist.  I didn’t anticipate so many responses in such short time.
This is not a tragedy for me. There are plenty of other really serious reasons for what we are helpless and hopeless. Sure it is sad to stop suddenly doing something pleasant and useful between other things when skiing, tennis or windsurfing on waves of Okipa Hawaii has got irretrievable history.   
This is not only my personal case. This is something much bigger, affecting large spectrum of matters in which a bunch of ignorants create a law. In this case I could bet that this bunch of persons didn’t differentiate common honey bee from wasp, otherwise they wouldn’t put all bees in one bag and say NO. They don’t know that there are thousands of kinds of bees. For these intellectually primitive bureaucrats it was “wise” to say NO, and this is what is sad.
With regards
Wojtek
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Wojtek
mtbe
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2009, 10:28:11 AM »

Wojtek,

While the TBH does usually require more management, a once a week inspection should be fine.  I suspect winter/spring feeding might take more management/trips.  Check with private schools in your area, or nature parks.  They may be willing to start a project with you.  A nature center would love your observation hives.  Perhaps Schiller Woods Forest Preserve.

Sorry Steven,  I didn't mean to imply that you would be opportunistic on someone else's misfortune.

My father also tried to talk with the city (Glen Ellyn) about his bees and it was going nowhere.

It's strange they allow bees in Chicago, a more densely populated city, but not many of the suburbs.
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vermmy35
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2009, 10:40:18 AM »

I am sorry to hear that you have to lose your bee's, but let me make a couple of suggestions.  One I would try and vote the incumbents out of office and see if you can get that law repealed.  If that didn't work try running city council to change the law yourself.
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StevenSlaughter
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2009, 07:48:47 PM »

David, Oh...you didn't imply that. I just felt like I might come across that way by expressing interest in purchasing the hive(s) if they end up needing to go.

Anyway, I heard back from Martha about my questions to her concerning this situation. She did say that bees are not legal in Evanston, but that a couple of exceptions had been granted. Not sure of the circumstances. Her general advice was to engage the lawmakers, to perhaps give a tour to show the truth of the situation, and to frame beekeeping as the environmentally important issue that it is. With so much ignorance about beekeeping, some real education needs to happen to help politicians reconsider these laws.

I don't know if you want to engage this in a more public way, but I have also had some interviews with newspaper reporters who wrote chicken stories (during the controversy over the proposed ban), and media attention can be useful as well, at least it was in that case.

It is interesting that Chicago has so much more openness concerning many of these restrictions. My theory is that it is historically a city of immigrants. Around the world, these practices are common, and so it has been common practice. As people have moved into the suburbs (and as the suburbs evolved), I wonder if people saw these practices as 'old world' or a practice of subsistence existence. So, perhaps, laws were written that would prohibit practices that retain those connections. It's funny... my sister lives up at Prairie Crossing -- a development in the far northern suburbs that touts itself as being something of an eco-community -- but she is not officially allowed to hang a clothes line. It seems they like the idea of eco, as long as they can't see anyone's skivvies drying on a warm spring day.  smiley

Steven
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Steven Slaughter
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StevenSlaughter
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 10:49:34 PM »

Wojtek,

Those are beautiful hives. I saw the photos on the Polish-language site. Very lovely. They remind me a bit of some Scandinavian furniture I've seen and admired.

Steven
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Steven Slaughter
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mrslaughter@inbox.com
Wojtek
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 12:15:15 AM »

Thank you again for additional suggestions and trying to help.
All these suggestions are valuable and certainly if applied properly would lead to some kind of success.

My type of beekeeping was a kind of useful pleasure when other physical activities have got impossible. Straight, erected, comfortable position, no bending and lifting during manipulation and maintenance of hives, simple main construction. This was what I wanted and that is why I mention in some of other post that I don’t see any negative sides of this type of hive. (Young, physically fit persons may have different opinion). Not amount of honey was a motor of my activities but useful pleasure, relax from other not physical activity, and excellent condition for biological observations. I use a veil very rarely and no smog at all.
There was plenty of honey for me and some friends. I didn’t sale any honey and this was not my intention.  Having all this a few steps from my back door is the most important thing. That is why I don’t intend to move these hives to some remote place and do some maintenance work once a week or two weeks of even less often, as some of you suggested. To beg officials for mercy? - to change a law or “law” one little bee even suicide in protest is not enough. Even if all of you from this forum actively would participate I doubt for success. Creation this kind of law we may regard as something strange but you are, I think, aware that overwhelming majority of general population regard honey bee as dangerous species for them. That this is very wrong we know, but this is a different matter. As Mtbe and Steven mention Chicago despite being denser populated does not have such restriction. So, how to understand this law makers.
This is not only my personal case. This is something much bigger, affecting large spectrum of matters in which a bunch of ignorants create a law. For them just to say NO is  the “wise” thing.

Peculiar thing is that when one person has a problem to get something some other person has a problem to get rid of the same thing. That is why I don’t regard someone to mentioning intention about buying bees and hives as some kind of opportunist in pejorative meaning.  At least in my case this is very helpful for me. Otherwise I would have to destroy bees and then trying to sell hives. Not a big deal but some of my hives have some value, I think.
Perhaps I will make some separate page in my internet home page about beekeeping and show what have go in a better hands. 
Wojciech Wlazlinski

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Wojtek
Wojtek
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2009, 12:23:28 AM »

Thank you Steven for your nice words. This is all my pleasure that you like it.
Wojciech Wlazlinski
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Wojtek
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 02:58:13 AM »

I received personal messages. Trying to reply or send p.m. but it didn’t work. Sorry for this kind of post, but I don’t see other way to let you know about it.
Wojciech Wlazlinski


Due to city ordinance (Norridge IL) I have to get rid of my bees. We in Norridge may keep only cats and dogs.
Several years of my bee keeping activities lead me to situation that I have some bees, hives, tools, equipment. I didn't sell anything so there is some accumulation. These have got useless because the only way to engage in beekeeping for me is on my backyard.
To sell these things is not hurry but bees in hives have to go this week. (Dead line i May 3, 09) Not a big deal but it has some value.
All hives are kanyans.(Kenyan Top Bar Hives) and equipment related to this kind of beekeeping.

Please go to:
  http://www.homepage.interaccess.com/~netpol/HivesSale.htm  for some details.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 08:05:24 AM by Robo » Logged

Wojtek
StevenSlaughter
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 08:33:22 AM »

I noticed that you sent a Personal Message, but it just had a copy of my note to you. If you'd like, you can contact me directly at my email address, or call me.

Steven

mrslaughter@inbox.com
773.218.2951
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Steven Slaughter
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Alchemist
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 11:04:39 AM »

NEW APPROACH NEEDED?

I'm new here - and so new to beekeeping that I'm still awaiting my 1st nuc of bees. But that doesn't prevent me from reading, thinking, and reacting to something I read on here yesterday.

While perusing the site to determine whether or not to join (limited time for unlimited hobbies and interests), I came across a post from 2009 by Wojtek. Now I can see that it was a long time ago, but the issue he raised then is still valid today.
And I quote:
"Sad news and warning for backyard beekeepers.
I am sharing this with you so you could avoid similar unpleasant experience.
I received a note from village official (Norridge IL, near Chicago) to remove my bees from my back yard property, “code violation”, 4 bee families. Initially 6 days to comply, extended later to 2 weeks."

Yesterday was grass cutting day and while riding around on the mower, there's little else to do except think. And whenever I think, I tend to focus on the injustices that our officials at every level of our society and government foist upon us. Usually this is just because they can... not because it's right. So Wojtek's plight, and other similar issues that crop up on my favorite site - Earthineer - make me want to react to the stupidity of my fellow man. Those of you who were raised during the fabulous 60's understand, I'm sure.

But how to react? Individuals tend to get worn down or beaten down before meaningful change can occur and lawyers representing individuals and groups tend to stick to formulas as they fight the system. That's not how my mind works.

Here's how it went while cutting grass:
Every state has laws pertaining to livestock - including the definition of "livestock".
There are places that don't want bees in the neighborhood.
Someone gets bees labeled as "livestock".
Now laws can restrict where you can have bees. After all, who wants to live next to a stockyard?
You have bees... ergo you have livestock... get rid of them.

Everyone fights this by trying to be logical and explaining to the courts that bees are necessary, bees are declining in population, and bees are only concerned with survival - not harassing the neighbors. The vast amount of the time the courts rule in favor of the restrictive laws. That's the way the system (doesn't) works.

INSTEAD of this tired old approach. How about suing everyone in the neighborhood, county, state, whatever because they are breaking all kinds of animal cruelty and livestock protection laws by using pesticides. After all, I can't poison your cows because I don't like the way they smell or sound. Why should you be able to poison my "livestock" (bees) because you are afraid of them, don't like the sound they make, don't like honey - just how weird are you - or whatever.
A few cases like that and I would believe that a workable compromise could be reached.

This is the kind of thing that happens when I cut grass. Maybe someone younger out there will have the inclination to polish the argument, enact it, and be a hero to everyone who has to fight stupidity in their "pursuit of happiness".

((Also, I'm having trouble understanding the whole forum, category, board posing hierarchy thing. I'm sure it will come with experience. But in the meantime if this should be posted elsewhere, please feel free to move it.))
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little john
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2013, 07:02:28 AM »

Ah - a revived thread ...

Another approach to consider, which has worked well for at least one urban beekeeper here in Britain, is not to 'keep bees' at all - but to make a bird-box instead, in the hope of providing a nesting site for one of our more threatened species of birds ...  which the authorities tend to look favourably upon, as there is in existence here a rather powerful bird-protection lobby.

So you build yourself a bird nesting box - which has an uncanny resemblance to a Warre beehive, or perhaps a traditional Japanese 'Nest of Boxes' beehive - just ensure that you make a 22mm circular entrance hole (into which a standard wine cork will fit) instead of the more usual beehive 'slot', and why not fit a piece of dowel beneath it for the birds to perch on ...

And if that doesn't look convincing enough - then why not paint a sign above the hole, which reads "I am a bird-box" ! (or "Acme Industries Bird-Box Mk.I")

You now have a choice - either keep the bird-box at a fairly low height, or raise it up into a tree if you happen to have one handy.

" Well, bless my soul - just look - a swarm of feral bees have just moved into my bird-box ! ".

Now how they happened to have got in there ahead of the birds, I can't possibly comment upon - but the important point to focus on is that you are not 'keeping bees', nor even 'causing bees to be kept' - because there is not any 'keeping' involved here - it is just simply a case of a swarm of (cough) feral bees setting up home within the boundaries of your property.

The onus is usually then upon a complainant to demonstrate that these feral bees are causing an unacceptable nuisance to them - which can be tough to prove, if the owners of the property themselves do not consider them to be a nuisance.

Could be a tactic worth considering ...

LJ
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