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No Buzz Zones: 90+ U.S. Cities and Towns Where Beekeeping Is Still Illegal (Update)

New York City recently made headlines by legalizing beekeeping, and despite that many cities invite urban beekeeping, "No Buzz Zones" abound in many cities, towns and counties that still equate beekeeping with causing a public nuisance.


brooklyn beekeeping









Rooftop bees, like those kept by Yeshwant Chitalkar in Brooklyn, N.Y., were illegal up until very recently in the five boroughs of New York City. Bees and beekeeping still are illegal in many communities. across the U.S. and around the world.

Note: This list is updated periodically as individuals from towns across the U.S. notify the author. It may not be up to date.

For months now we've been locating the towns and villages and cities that don't allow honeybees on their streets or in their back yards. Below is the list to be posted on the WALL OF SHAME by The Daily Green and BeeCulture.com.

There are many here, but we suspect there are more. If you live in a No Buzz Zone and you don't see your town named here let us know ... we want to add it to the list and we'll update the map.

Most of these cities and towns have had these rules on the books for years, leading some into the sunny, flower-filled underworld of illegal urban beekeeping. And without being challenged and with no good arguments offered, we presume they will stay that way. We hope that if you live in one of these cities you will question the powers that be and challenge these age-old rules and turn your No Buzz Zone into a Free Flight Zone, with bees in backyards and on rooftops and everywhere a honey bee should be able to be.

If a guideline is needed to help the city fathers along, check out these guidelines for beekeeping with happy neighbors. Rather than banning bees, communities can easily construct sensible nuisance laws. We compiled these guidelines for beekeepers by synthesizing honeybee biology principles, beekeeping best management practices, Good Neighbor Policy guidelines, and safety policies for livestock. They're also useful for lawmakers. (And once beekeeping becomes legal where you live, check out these 5 questions for first-time urban beekeepers.)

But the culture and environment in every city is its own master, and we urge you to use these guidelines that best fit your locale. They is not a one-size-fits-all piece of legislation, but these guidelines are informed by decades of peaceful coexistence between bees, beekeepers and their neighbors.

No Buzz Cities

Bull Shoals, Ark.
Antioch Calif.
Chico, Calif.*
Costa Mesa, Calif.
Eureka, Calif.
Garden Grove, Calif.
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Hanford, Calif.
Lompac, Calif.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Los Gatos, Calif.
Orange, Calif.
Paso Robles, Calif.
San Diego County, Calif.*
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Santa Monica, Calif.
Scotts Valley, Calif.
Vacaville, Calif.
Adams County, Colo.
Arvada, Colo.
Bloomfield, Colo.
Jefferson County, Colo.
Lone Tree, Colo.
Thornton, Colo.
Windsor Estates, Windsor, Colo.
Westminster, Colo.
Dover, Del.
Lake City, Ga.
Savannah, Ga.
Hawaii County, Hawaii
Addison, Ill.
Forsyth, Ill.
Lombard, Ill.
Anderson, Ind.
South Bend, Ind.*
Indianola, Iowa
Mount Hope, Ka.
Bossier City, La.
Lafayette, La.
Lewiston, Maine*
South Portland, Maine**
Bel Air, Md.
Frederick, Md.
Chicopee, Mass.
New Bedford, Mass.
Bay City, Mich.
Caledonia, Mich.
Redford, Mich.
Burnsville, Minn.
Coon Rapids, Minn.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
Eagan, Minn.
Edina, Minn.
Fridley, Minn.*
Hutchinson City, Minn.
Luverne, Minn.
Red Wing, Minn.
Missoula, Mont.
Billings, Mont.
Helena, Mont.**
Chadron, Nebr.
Hastings, Neb.
Omaha, Neb.*
Concord, N.H.
Berlin, N.H.
Fair Haven, N.J.
Geneva, N.Y.
Greenwood Lake, N.Y.
Hempstead, N.Y.
N. Hempstead, N.Y.
Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Round Lake, N.Y.
Cape Carteret, N.C.
Cary, N.C.
Garner, N.C.
North Dakota (most towns)
Akron, Ohio
Bellbrook, Ohio
Brook Park, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Bellbrook, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Jenks, Ohio
Lancaster, Ohio
Troy, Ohio
Worthington, Ohio
Broken Arrow, Okla.**
Hillsboro, Ore.
Bethlehem, Penn.
Elizabethtown, Penn.
Silversprings Township, Penn.*
Barrington, R.I.
East Providence, R.I.
Hartsville, S.C.
Fort Worth, Texas
Friendswood, Texas
Pilot Point, Texas*
Fredericksburg, Va.
Norfolk, Va.
Vienna, Va.
Princeton, W.Va.
Eau Claire, Wis.
Greendale, Wis.
Greenfield, Wis.
Kenosha, Wis.
Union Grove, Wis.

* While it may not be technically illegal to keep bees in these communities, observers say it's impossible or nearly impossible, given the tight restrictions (such as a rule requiring homeowners to have five acres of land to keep bees, or to maintain 75 feet between bees and a lot line, when most lots are 50 feet wide.)
** Since this feature was first published, Broken Arrow, Helena and South Portland have repealed the laws that prevented urban beekeeping!

In addition, we got word from some friends outside the U.S. about restrictions there:

Western Sydney, Australia
Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
Ontario, Canada (all cities, including Toronto and Ontario)

Thanks, for submitting "No Buzz Zones," to: Anonymous, Bill, David, Laurence, John, Joseph, Manny, Rick, Steve, Virginia, Kieran Andersen, Stephan Anderson, Teresa Bell, Bernard Bieder, Richard Blohm, Les Blum, Bruce Boles, Buzz Boles, Wendy Booth, Janet Brisson, Allen Brown, Deborah Clark, Ken Cole, Sheila Crowley, Lori Dekker, Laura Dodd, Rober Dorsten, Tia Douglass, Gary Dulinger, Prentice Eubanks, Howard Feole, Pamela Fisher, Ian A. Foley, Erin Forbes, Rod Foster, Cheryl Friese, Tim Fulton, Craig M. Gage, Tony Gedritis, Carol Golash, Phio Goulet, Tim Hall, Greg Hannaford, Richard Hardegger, Michael Huebert, William Hummer, Bob Kentwortz, Geoff Koby, David Krueger, John Lancaster, Buster Land, Joseph Lewis, Carrie Lundberg, Joseph Maes, Verne Marshot, Stacy McKenna, Steve Middleton, Greg Molzahn, Aaron Morria, Zeke Muddpud, Melinda Nelson, Stephen Pegler, Karine Pouliquen, Gay Rahn, Jon Rathke, Lee Richards, Brian Rogers, Wes Rogers, JoAnne Sabin, Anne Savage, Matt Schmitz, Michael Shaughnessy, Eric Smith, Louis Smith, Paul Snellen, David Staskiewicz, Jerry Stroope, Bob Sumner-Mack, Alf Tischler, Laurance Truthan, Murl Wallace, Lowell West, Sarah Worley and Garry Younker.

Do you know of another "No Buzz Zone" we haven't listed? Contact Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine (and author of this blog) or Dan Shapley, senior editor of The Daily Green.

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Kim Flottum

Kim Flottum

Kim Flottum is the editor of Bee Culture magazine.
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Bee Culture: The magazine of American beekeeping.
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