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.