Thornton, Colo., is all a-buzz because the city council just passed an ordinance allowing backyard beekeeping in the city limits.
We heart our honeybees!
That’s the sentiment of Thornton residents interested in keeping backyard bee hives.
A group called Thornton Loves Bees worked hard to convince the city council to adopt a backyard beekeeping ordinance.
Dan Finerty sent an email in January asking for help in the effort to get a responsible beekeeping ordinance passed by contacting members of the city council.
I was happy to send messages to all the council members, thanking those who supported the ordinance and asking the other council members to reconsider their opposition.
Beth Humenik, council member for Ward 3, replied to my message. She had a list of questions about beekeeping that included how many hives are allowed in Denver, what kind of restrictions are in place, timing of bee swarms, amount of honey produced, concerns about super honeybees, and educating neighbors about sprays and pesticides that are harmful to bees.
Even though I’m not a Thornton resident–or a beekeeper–I was happy to address all the issues.
Dan emailed me on February 29 to share the good news….the beekeeping ordinance passed! He gave me permission to share the news with you:
I have very exciting news to share!
Last night, Thornton City Council passed an ordinance to allow Backyard Beekeeping, 6 to 3. This ordinance is very similar to those in most other Denver-metro cities, with the addition of hive registration and a requirement to inform neighbors (but not ask for permission). We expect to be able to remove the registration and inform requirements in one year’s time.
Thank you to everyone for the hard work and support you offered Thornton residents. It was all of us working together that brought an amazing 4 council members that were against this measure, over to our side. While beekeepers from across the Front Range gave their support, I would like to point out that this was not just beekeepers working to pass this ordinance. Friends, family, and gardeners from across Colorado all helped with emails to city council and their presence at the council meetings. A big thanks goes out to all of them as well!
This was really a team play everyone – none of us would have been able to accomplish this on our own.
If you’re a gardener or interested in gardening, please celebrate this victory, too. It’s important to do all we can to help our honeybees. One way to help is to plant ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds in your garden this season and join the Great Sunflower Project
, a bee conservation effort.