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Louisburg woman ordered to give up backyard bees

Posted February 14, 2012

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— A Franklin County judge on Tuesday ordered a Louisburg woman to give up her backyard beehives. 

Pat Walker was keeping hundreds of honey bees behind her home to help pollinate her garden and produce honey for use and sale. But she was in violation of a town ordinance stating beehives have to be at least 75 feet from a neighbor's property line. The ordinance passed in May after town staff received several complaints about the bees.

Assistant Town Manager Tony King testified on Tuesday that before the ordinance it was illegal to keep bees at all. He said the town decided to develop an ordinance when they found out that several residents had hives. Officials reviewed several ordinances from around the state before coming up with their own. 

Walker was ordered to pay a $50 fine and remove the beehives from her property if she could not meet the ordinance's distance requirement within two weeks. 

If she does not, she will be held in contempt of court and possibly go to jail. 

40 Comments

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  • pwalker47 Feb 16, 8:25 a.m.

    The Honey Bee is a part of Wildlife,a part of nature that is everywhere,free to go and come or stay and leave.They are not caged,fenced in or contained in any way.Honey Bees travel 2 miles and more from their hives gathering pollen and nector,this makes it inpossible to own them.The size yard you have matters not to the Honey Bee for its 2 mile or better range is the size of it's yard.-----Thank You All--The Bee Lady

  • quaten Feb 15, 6:52 p.m.

    >>Just a note: the entire width of her property is only 75 ft, so the hive is at most about 35 ft from her neighbor ....

    She could simply elevate the hive about 48 feet. That would put the hives about 75 feet away, assuming the post was in the center of the yard.

  • JohnnyMcRonny Feb 15, 5:55 p.m.

    This lady should be praised, not punished.

    The people who complained should be punished for their rank stupidity and selfishness.

  • Sherlock Feb 15, 4:03 p.m.

    Bees have rights too.

  • mustangyts Feb 15, 11:04 a.m.

    Bees in highly populated areas are not a good idea. There are many people within our population that are allergic to bee stings. One sting can kill allergic people. During certain phases of the bees cycle, they can become very defensive and will swarm. In an urban setting its more likely to have encounters with humans during this cycle. Think of a curious small child, or curious pets. I don't live in Louisburg, but the ordinance seems to be only asking for a 75ft buffer from the property lines. I thinks its a common sense issue and a well written ordinance. Is this not the same lady that had like 50 chickens on her lot, and had issues with that also??

  • dldobbins Feb 15, 10:21 a.m.

    The neighbors benefit from her honey bees being there. Let her keep her bees. She isn't hurting anything. If anything, she is helping the community thrive. Not only are her honey bees pollinating her garden, they are pollinating the neighbors at no extra charge and she is contributing to the economy by selling the honey. It's a dumb ordinance. Change it, ignore it but let the bees stay.

  • Hammerhead Feb 15, 10:12 a.m.

    I'd gladly take the hives off her hands to add to my collection.

  • cherokee43v6 Feb 15, 10:07 a.m.

    The American Honey Bee is dying off at an extinction level rate and these /politicians/ are NOT helping.

    No Honey Bees... No food for humans. Period.

  • bill0 Feb 15, 10:03 a.m.

    "which was there first?? that's all i gotta say"

    Then you do understand how laws work. If the city changes a speed limit on a road, do you have to follow the new speed limit or do you get to drive as fast as you want because you started using that road years ago?

    When a new law goes on the books, you have to start following it going forward. The police can't go back and arrest you for "speeding" 2 years ago, but they sure can pull you over for speeding today.

  • smegma Feb 15, 9:48 a.m.

    which was there first?? that's all i gotta say

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