Honey Bees in Howard County Need Your Help!Thursday, April 17, 2014
CB55-2010 Public Hearing
UPDATE ON HEARING The public hearing for CB55-2010 was held on December 21st. A hearty thanks goes to all our supporters who attended or sent their letters to the county council. Although we had a great turnout, the outlook is still in doubt. This one is going down to the wire. We can't rest until the final vote
The County Council postponed voting on the bill until February due to the holidays. Don't be alarmed by this -- it was expected. They needed to fit a work session in to discuss the bill before it can be voted on, and there just wasn't enough time during the holidays to fit it all in. A work session for our bill is this scheduled for Tuesday January 18th, with the final vote occurring around the first week in February.
We still need your help We continue to encourage our supporters to write a letter or email to their representative on the county council. You can use our website to identify the county council person represents your district. In your message, please indicate where you live and why you feel honey bees are important.
Written testimony will be received by the council until they vote on the bill in February.
DontSqueezeTheBees.org was created to draw attention to a recent ruling of the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) that threatens to ban beekeeping in Howard County. Our mission is to educate the public about the vital role that honey bees provide to our county, and the importance of the backyard beekeeper in keeping the honey bees alive. But most of all, we think it is crucial that the honey bee be protected from the hostility they are now facing in Howard County, where the ramifications of DPZ's ruling threaten to squeeze the beekeepers out of Howard County.
At the heart of the issue is a ruling by the DPZ that interprets beehives to be considered "animal shelters" in laws used to regulate shelters for cows and other farm animals. Because of the large set-back requirements for animal shelters, this interpretation prevents the overwhelming majority of beekeepers in Howard County from keeping bees, where the average beekeeper manages only a few colonies in their backyard. These lone backyard beekeeper are often considered the backbone of beekeeping, yet this zoning interpretation is forcing them to either discontinue this time honored activity or be in violation of the zoning law.
This couldn't be happening at a worse time for the honey bees. In recent years, honey bees have been mysteriously declining due to a condition called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). As researchers are scrambling to identify the cause of CCD and its remedy, it has been estimated that we have already lost 30% of all the colonies in the United States since 2006 from this deadly condition. Although CCD seems to be devastating commerical operations, bees managed by backyard beekeepers have largely escaped the dark cloud of CCD. At a time when our region should be encouraging participation in beekeeping, Howard County zoning laws are throwing up roadblocks.
The Howard County Beekeepers are doing their part by teaching about the importance of honey bees and beekeepers, being visible at events in the county, and increasing visibility to the issue through our website and our bumper sticker campaign. But we still need your help! We need you to get involved by writing your county councilperson about the importance of this issue, and by spreading the word by joining our bumper sticker campaign and following us on Facebook and Twitter.How can you get involved?
» Contact your county councilmanRead More
» Bee a fan on our Facebook page
» Join our bumper sticker campaign
» Want to become a beekeeper? Learn how!
Join our Bumper Sticker campaignMonday, April 5, 2010
Show your suppport for Howard County honey bees and their beekeepers by placing a Don't Squeeze the Bees bumper sticker on your vehicle. Let's show the County Council that Howard County residents are serious about protecting our bees.