Beekeeping buzz prompts new proposal
Beekeeping as a hobby has been growing in Central New York for a couple of years. Now the City of Utica is facing issues with mismanaged bees bothering beekeepers' neighbors. Our Andrew Sorensen takes a look at what one Common Council member is doing to solve the problem.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- Common Council member Samantha Colosimo-Testa has seen issues make a buzz in the city, but this is a new one.
"I received an e-mail from a resident on Riverside Drive complaining about a neighbor that had bees just swarming in the backyard and she has two little kids," she said.
Colosimo-Testa looked into the city's codes on beekeeping, but they didn't exist.
"Basically what I did is I put together a guideline on how you can keep bees in the city of Utica," she explained.
The new regulations are aimed at making sure beekeepers take good care of their hives so the bees don't get out of control.
"If they don't the bees will swarm, and that's what happens to some people, and it's kind of a natural thing," Mid-York Beekeeping instructor John Ferguson said at a class Tuesday.
Ferguson helps teach people how to beekeep responsibly.
He says the responsible beekeeping the proposal pushes for can be great for communities.
Utica resident beekeeper Debra Richardson agrees that the heart of the new legislation is good.
"There were actually some good really good things written in there as far as how a beekeeper should be responsible, such as the source of clean water, etcetera," she said.
But she and other beekeepers don't want to see it go too far.
"It does sort of run the risk for us beekeepers that any time somebody is stung by something and there's an allergic reaction, it might be, 'well now it's because now there are bees in the city,'" she said.
She points out that bees were already in the city, and that if beekeepers are responsible, it would prevent the problematic swarming without any legislation.
The councilwoman says if the bill goes through, it would stop out of control hives with fines for their owners.
The proposal is currently under review in Utica's codes committee to determine how such an ordinance could be enforced.