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Is there any ordinance prohibiting beekeeping in New Hanover?

Ken Little
StarNews

GUABEEKEEPER041914_AS10.jpg GUA beekeeperQ. Is there any code or ordinance that regulates or prohibits keeping bees (beekeeping) to manufacture honey in New Hanover County (Ogden)?

A. County Attorney Wanda Copley said that she was not aware of any code or ordinance prohibiting beekeeping in areas outside the city of Wilmington.

“I am not aware of any,” Coply said. “Last year there was a move to do some regulation, but I think it was defeated.”

A negative buzz about honey bees in 2013 prompted Leland town officials to contemplate banning beekeeping within town limits.

In January, the Leland Town Council decided against an ordinance that would place restrictions on beekeeping in the community.

Earlier this year, the St. James Plantation Property Owners’ Association in Brunswick County amended an existing regulation that prohibits raising livestock within the borders of St. James Plantation to include bees.

The POA was reviewing that action several months ago following an objection by a beekeeper living in St. James Plantation.

But in New Hanover County, no restrictions are on the books regarding keeping honey bees.

“I think the answer is no,” Copley said.

Within Wilmington city limits, no references to bees or beekeeping could be found in the city Code of Ordinances.

City law specifically forbids keeping “any wild animal or livestock” except in instances where a permit is issued.

The city code contains references to insects, but only in the context of eliminating “pests” in places like abandoned houses and vehicles.

North Carolina has 10,000 hobbyist beekeepers that produce five million pounds of honey worth $15 million, Pender County beekeeper Laura Prevatte recently told Pine Valley Elementary School students.

Wilmington is outwardly a bee-friendly city. Prevatte is a member of the N.C. State Beekeepers Association, which held its annual spring meeting in March at the Wilmington Convention Center.

John Ambrose, a beekeeping specialist at N.C. State University, spoke to the Leland Town Council in March on behalf of beekeepers in the town.

He said that statewide, hobbyists have been encouraged to keep bees because they offer a good defense in slowing the threat of Africanized honey bees in the region. Africanized bees are a blend of African and European bees noted for aggressive tendencies such as mass swarming and frequent stinging.

Ambrose said bee numbers are on the decline, and few municipalities in the state have ordinances restricting beekeeping.

RELATED LINKS:

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Is there anywhere in the Wilmington area to buy local honey?

 

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