Proposed ordinance would allow beekeeping in Hamilton


HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - It's an idea that's causing some buzz around town: a proposed ordinance in Hamilton would allow beekeeping inside city limits.

The Butler County Bee Inspector, Don Popp, expects the city of Hamilton will have the ordinance in place sometime this year. Popp believes it will be a way to educate the public on honey bees and calm any potential fears.

Popp himself has quite a bit of experience with honeybees. He started beekeeping in 1995, and over time, it developed into a lifestyle and a hobby.  He runs "Don Popp's Honey Farm" where they handle honeybee hives and handcraft honey.

It's that background that landed Popp the title of Butler County Bee Inspector. He said beekeeping is a popular hobby in Butler County, with 250 beekeepers countywide.

"Lots of people want to help the bee population. They don't want the bees dying," Popp said. "You know, 1/3 of your food has to be pollinated by honey bees."

However, right now, people in the city of Hamilton who want to take part are facing an obstacle.

"The city has an ordinance that prohibits someone from keeping bees," Popp said.

There is now a proposal in Hamilton that would allow people living in the city to establish their own honeybee hives. Local beekeepers met with city officials Tuesday afternoon to talk about the current proposed version of the ordinance. The final version will include rules and regulations, Popp said, including registration requirements and inspections.

"It sounds really, really good," Popp said.

Popp said so far they have only received support, but they know that there are individuals who are allergic to bees. Popp says it will be addressed in the ordinance.

"You as a neighbor will be able to show proof that you are really allergic to bees," Popp said.

As for those who are fearful of bees, Popp said that will also be part of it.

"We're going to try to educate people to not be scared," he said. "Lots of insects, like yellow jackets, give honeybees a bad name. They don't just fly around and sting you."

Popp said that one of the ideas on the table is that all beekeepers would have to have EpiPens on hand just in case, and they would be limited on how many hives they could have.

City officials are currently making changes to the original proposed ordinance and will meet with beekeepers again once they have an updated version.

The bottom line, Popp said, is that this move could help a dwindling population. Bees are dying every day, and for him, nothing stings more than that.

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