A Victory for Bees in Thornton

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:

Hi Everyone!

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.

Thank you,
Dan Finerty

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.



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Other than eating raw honey, I use it for healing. The next time you burn yourself in the kitchen, immediately cover the spot with raw honey. It will take the sting out. After a few minutes wash or lick the honey off. If your skin is still stinging put more honey on. If it isn’t stinging, the honey has done it’s job. The skin won’t blister or turn red if you have put the honey on fast enough. I’ve done this for 35 years and it’s worked every time even on a burn from 350 degree hot grease!

Hi Irene:

Thanks for posting your tip for using honey on burns–just another important reason to help keep our bees healthy and happy!

Hi Jodi, we just moved to Thornton from Denver and are excited to learn that Thornton allows its residents to keep bees! Yay Thornton!!!! We waited to keep bees until we knew were we end up and are now excited to start our bee keeping journey. Do you have contact info on Thornton Loves Bees or another organization that could guide us along in the process?

Thank you!

Hi Monja:

Thanks so much for stopping by–I’m so glad to hear you plan on keeping bees!

You might want to visit the http://www.ColoradoBeeKeepers.org site for more information. There’s a link to a list of contacts of folks who might be able to help you get started. Also, I think there may be beekeepers in the Greater Denver Urban Homesteaders meet up group. Just go to http://www.meetup.com and look for that group…or search around to see if there are other beekeeping groups. There are also some good books that can give you the basics.

Best of luck with your new hobby,

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