Importance of Honeybees

The honeybee (apis mellifera) is a critical pollinator for flowers, fruits and vegetables. This is of great benefit in the city where pollinating insect populations are usually significantly smaller than in rural areas. Managed colonies of bees help to increase the yields and the quality of a large variety of plants.

Hives of honeybees are currently established in most every major city in the United States. Beehives are successfully kept in small backyards, on balconies and rooftops in congested urban environments with little, if any, impact to adjacent property owners.

In addition to the benefits of plant pollination, the honey, beeswax, pollen and other hive products are high in nutritional value and are a local renewable and sustainable resource.

Honeybee Behavior

Honeybees are naturally gentle and non-aggressive. They may sting if they perceive a threat to their colony, but only as a last resort as the bee will die shortly after depositing its stinger. While foraging for nectar and pollen away from the colony, honeybees are completely docile and only concerned with the tasks they set out to do. In most cases, people living in close proximity of beehives will never know that honeybees are around.

Beekeeping Ordinance

In 2016, the City of Greenfield approved Ordinance #2840 that created Section 12.11 (19) of the Municipal code, allowing people to keep up to two colonies of honeybees on private property within the City limits. A permit is required. Permit applications may be obtained from the Health Department.
A simple map of the apiary and surrounding area with dimensions must be provided. Neighbors with adjoining property will be notified by the Health Department and given an opportunity to voice any concerns they may have. Proof of beekeeping competency must be provided.

Your Responsibilities

If you plan to keep honeybees in the City of Greenfield, it is important to talk to your neighbors ahead of time and to be prepared to address their concerns, as your neighbors will have a voice in the permit approval process.
Beekeeping in the city should utilize the best practices to avoid creating problems for your neighbors. With some planning, beehives can be safely located in close proximity to homes, gardens and other places where people spend recreational time. You will be responsible for monitoring your bees on a regular basis for the health of the hive and to ensure that you have not created a nuisance to others.
Limit your beekeeping activities to times when it will not interfere with your neighbor’s activities and enjoy their property.

Resources for the Beekeeper and the Curious

Local beekeeping associations and classes available to provide the training, mentoring and resources necessary for the new beekeeper. Several options exist, and the list below is not exhaustive.