Austin City Ordinance Meeting

Last evening, I got to participate in a review of a section of the City of Austin’s Beekeeping Ordinance. A resolution was passed last November basically stating Austin wanted to be more bee-friendly and prioritize removal and relocation of bees whenever possible over extermination.

The current language reads as follows under a section entitled DESTRUCTION OF WILD OR ABANDONED BEES:

Without notice and a hearing, the health authority may destroy:
(A) a colony not residing in a hive;
(B) a swarm of bees; or
(C) a colony residing in an abandoned standard or man-made hive.

The proposed language would add this language to the section:

Wherever reasonably possible, the City shall prioritize the removal and relocation of wild or abandoned bees over destruction.

It is not a large change, but at least Austin is attempting to update their codes in the recognition of the plight bees are facing in this day and age.

Perhaps the best change, in my opinion, is updating the contact list 311 uses when people call in with bee swarms or wild hives on their property. The list currently has extermination services first with bee removal services near the bottom. The new updated list will have removal services first with those that only provide extermination services at the bottom. Priority on the list will also be given to beekeepers and services that will come get swarms free of charge. The hope is to encourage people to use relocation services as opposed to killing the bees.

One of the local news stations was out covering the story that you can watch by clicking the link below.

KEYE TV :: News – Top Stories – Participants abuzz at meeting to decide how Austin can be bee friendly.


Filed under beekeeping, education

8 responses to “Austin City Ordinance Meeting

  1. Congrats and nice work. Indeed, though the change seems small, I think it’s a HUGE shift in perspective, as you suggest.

    I wonder if you can’t hijack (meaning “out-SEO”) the existing sites that come up first for searches on “Austin Bees” and post your own list of people who are willing to remove rather than kill swarms or feral hives. Perhaps a page like this:

    These are the folks who are coming up on top right now and it would be nice of a neighborhood-based bee-friendly page came up instead:

    • That’s an excellent idea Chantal. I may “steal” a bunch of content from that report a swarm page if you don’t mind, and add a page to my blog listing local Austin beekeepers who will come and pick up swarms or do removals.

  2. Hem

    You can also call City of Austin to be added to the list to call, if interested.

  3. Glad to see the priorities are changing – even those of us who aren’t real comfortable with bees flying all around us understand how crucial they are.

    I’d be happy to add a Bee Removal resource page on my site under the Services section. And if someone with more bee expertise than I have wanted to guest write the page, that would be even better.

    You can reach me via my contact form (and sorry – that page hasn’t been converted to the new design yet) @

  4. Hi Karl,
    I write a general gardening blog here in Austin and am in the process of getting prepared to have a hive or two. (you kindly answered a question for me a couple of months ago.) Do you mind if I mention you in my next post?

  5. Fred

    I know that when we had some bees set up house in a tree right by our house the folks we talked to from the city mentioned relocation. We wanted to do that but unfortunately the position of the hive in the tree made it impossible. While I regret the loss of the bees I am glad the city recognizes that there are cases where it just can’t be done.

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