Beekeeping in the Suburbs
Here’s what I know about beekeeping: it involves real live bees, and I like honey. The rest in between is a little fuzzy for me. And it’s not that I don’t want to learn or don’t have resources around, it’s just the whole stinging part that worries me a little. So in true research fashion, I went to the USDA web site and found this helpful information on bee stings:
“If you are stung by a honey bee, one of the most important things to do is not to panic. Panic by the person stung or those around him/her can produce a systemic reaction in itself. Many people believe they are allergic to honey bees when in fact they are experiencing symptoms of a normal reaction. Only a very limited portion of the population (one or two out of 1000) is allergic or hypersensitive to bee or wasp stings. The average person can safely tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. This means that although 500 stings could kill a child, the average adult could withstand more than 1100 stings.”
Wow, that makes me feel a lot better. So now that I’m not so worried about the stings, where do I learn about beekeeping? On the Kansas side of the line we have some great resources in the Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers' Association and the Kansas Honey Producers Association.
On the Missouri side you have the Midwestern Beekeeper's Association. Both offer monthly meetings and educational programs throughout the year to help new and experienced beekeepers.
The next part of the equation is to make sure you are able to keep bees where you live. If you’re out in the country side, especially the unincorporated portion of the county, chances are good that rural zoning poses few if any restrictions on beekeeping. To be on the safe side, a call to your county planning and zoning office will make sure you’re good to go.
Cities in Johnson County, Kansas that allow beekeeping
If you happen to live in the city limits, the good news is that a growing number of cities are allowing beekeeping.
Prairies Village just recently approved an urban beekeeping ordnance and they join others like Olathe, Lenexa, and Overland Park in allowing residential bee keeping. Just be sure to check with your city or county before you set up a hive.
Local beekeepers tell me that beekeeping can be a great learning adventure. And the sweet reward at the end of the season is enough to make you forget about a few stings.