Friday, December 18, 2015

Beehives and City Codes

We moved from Wichita about 2 months ago to a small town in Cheney. I looked at the city bylaws prior and they didn't say you could not have beehives. Of course, the way it's worded could always be in a grey area. They label bees as animals. In one part they say that animals must be contained to your yard or if they are an endangerment to the public! The city only list two specific dogs and chickens are not allowed in the city limits. I was hoping  to find a local farmer in the area to let me put the hives on their farm in the spring and summer months when the girls are busy and buzzing around.
We currently have three hives. Last week there was a police officer in our neighbors backyard taking pictures. Our neighbor came over and said he didn't turn us in but, a city worker seen the hives The police officer told him, "they are illegal in the city limits".

My daughter Bug(13) is devastated and can't grasp why with her Autism, rare chromosome deletion, arthritis, and several other disabilities why we have to move our bees. Its just truly heartbreaking as insects occupy 80% of her days. Every day she walks outside to check on the hives. I am afraid it will effect her a lot. I've even become fond of them myself and spending time with her with the hives. Shes the reason why we even have bees.

It's sad that with all the information out there with bees that cities are against owning beehives. I would think more cities would be pro bees!

I don't know what I am going to do. We can put the bees back on my in-laws land. That will be difficult caring for them being further away.  Even more difficult for Bug. I don't want to sell them. I don't know what to do at this point. We have invested so much into the hives and into Bug's future with the hives. 

The city chief of police finally came at the end of last week has asked us to remove our beehives out of the city limits as they deem them illegal in the city limits. We have 30 days to remove them. The local fire chief is letting us put them on his land just outside the city. I am going to possibly appeal having them removed.

After talking to the local bee association and several larger beekeepers in this area they recommended that I get letters from doctors and professionals who work with Bug. Several of them know Bug and are very impressed with her accomplishments with bees. She has won many hearts with beekeepers with her passion for them. They have seen many cases appealed and city codes changed in the last few years. Many willing to stand behind us and help make a case. 

Last night a women we know from one of the colleges in the entomology department came to Bug's 4-H entomology class and was hoping to see us in the class She has even offered to come and talk to the city about bees and codes. She has helped many communities. She is also a beekeeper and has been impressed with Bug over the years. This individual is in charge of entomology at the state fair.

Several individuals have suggested we contact the local news channels to do a story about her and her situation. I don't want to stir the water being new in a small community. I think it needs to be done in a professional way and approach the city council and mayor. Its really tough.
The bees have been therapeutic to her and have matured her in many ways. She is more confident, she calms down with the bees when I can get her outside just like a therapy dog does for a person. I feel they have even helped her when she is having seizures.

Beekeeping  has helped her to build confidence, learning to manage money, social skills, behavior, and to see a future to support herself with dignity, despite her disability. She has kept involved in organizations with donating honey baskets for fund raising money for them. Bug is my hero!
I think my job is to educate and take one step at a time. I have heard of many changes of hearts in big cities and small towns towards individuals having bees in their backyard. Someone has to be a first person to take the first step. I don't know if I can make them change their minds but, maybe others will stand up in this city.

For now I have a little girl with a broken heart who just doesn't understand. This mom is also heart broken. It feels like her dreams are crashing down.
How do you educate a city? It will be a new journey that is for sure. I really don't want to take this journey. All I know is that before my daughter I was like this too and scared to death of bees. I thought they are dangerous creatures with stingers. I even thought beekeepers were a bit crazy. She educated me and won me over. Now, I see beauty in these amazing creatures. They are relaxing and peaceful to watch. I can look back and laugh at it all as she has taken me on a journey of a lifetime. 

1 comment:

  1. Sigh...I do hope you prevail and get them to change their minds. Just catching up after all the traveling and holidays we had.


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