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Bee on watermelon blossom
<p>USDA ARS Photo.</p>

Move to okay bee hives in LA back yards is misguided

Sometimes being observant means more than just viewing the large font.

Sometimes it means asking questions.

With all the media attention on honeybees there’s little surprise that Los Angeles may legalize backyard beekeeping, according to published reports. Backyard hobbyists could be allowed to try their hand at beekeeping in Los Angeles if the city county passes an ordinance.

Bad idea.

This isn’t an attack on honeybees. It’s a challenge over the lack of common sense displayed by the city council and those proposing this idea.

Let’s just say there are sure to be a host of unintended consequences that could arise from such a move.

What happens if Africanized bees move in? What will these bees forage on in LA’s urban jungle?

Who’s going to oversee these hives? What will their credentials be?

Who's going to tell the neighbor he can't spray his trees with certain chemicals because there's a hive in the adjacent yard?

The ordinance proposes one hive per 2,500 square feet within the backyards of single-family homes.

Do they realize that bees fly?

Proponents say the backyard beehives will aid agriculture. How? Almond trees and melons are not common vegetation in the City of Angels.

Proponents apparently also argue that this will help slow the decline of bees through colony collapse disorder. Really? How?

If the Los Angeles City Council is truly interested in helping agriculture, I’m sure farmers elsewhere in California would welcome their genuine support as financiers of scientific research.

Here’s a thought: start by donating some money – real money – to Huanglongbing (citrus greening) research and other projects aimed at reducing invasive pests and the diseases they can spread.

Since Los Angeles already has a growing number of confirmed cases of citrus greening that’s a real and timely issue, the city council could get behind if it truly wants to help California agriculture.

Allowing bee colonies to be raised in urban and suburban back yards by hobbyists is not a good idea.

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