ADDITIONAL HOSTING CONSIDERATIONS
Mowers and Trimmers: Bees don't really like lawn mowers or trimmers (more than likely the vibrations and gas fumes) and will let the operators of such know that they are not welcome. Mowing to within about 10' of your hives might not be a problem.
1 year commitment: I ask for all hive hosts to make a 1 year commitment to hosting, with the understanding that circumstances (e.g. allergic reaction, neighbor relations, etc.) may require the removal of the bees from the host site prior to the end of the year.
Flight Path: The bees do not generally cause problems if you walk in the yard, but you should not walk directly in front of the hive. Bees can be clumsy and they will sometimes bump into you. This will generally not cause them to sting, but it can be startling. The best option is to find a way to position the hive where they will fly across the back of your lot and still let you be able to watch them (hours of fun, seriously).
Yard treatments: There are a small number of treatments that are safe for bees , especially when applied in the, evening after the bees are in for the night. Once the material is dry, it generally does not cause a problem. Please contact the WSU Master Gardeners, for a list of treatments that can be used around your bees.
Worried about Stings? Don't bee! They say you’re not a real beekeeper until you’ve been stung. I rarely get stung, in 2020, I've only been stung twice, once one of the ladies got trapped in my knee brace, and the second was when I was pulling weeds and accidentally squished her. Bee Stings can be scary, and painful, especially if you are allergic, but if you don't have an allergy to bee stings, every time you get stung by a bee you should say thank you (perhaps after a few choice words first). You should be grateful that the honeybee gave up her life to give you the medicine that only she can dispense – bee venom. Bee stings have healing properties and are used as medicine all over the world. The practice is called Apitherapy.
Worried that your Neighbors Might not Approve? I think you will be surprised at the support you will get from your neighbors! When I told my neighbors about the bees, every one of them riddled me with questions and praise, all of them also excitedly came over for a visit, and insist on coming over every chance they get. Just in case you need the extra support, I've developed a letter that you can share with your neighbors to ease their worries and will hopefully get them excited about having bees next door!
LOCAL BEE KEEPING CODES
Urban Beekeeping is Legal! When we meet I'll be sure to discuss this in more depth with you.
City of Spokane
Link to City of Spokane's Website for their Beekeeping Code
The number of colonies is limited to one colony per 4,350 sf (four thousand three hundred fifty square feet) of lot area, up to a maximum of eight colonies; and
Colonies shall be setback a minimum of twenty-five feet of any property line, except that a colony may be situated within ten feet of a side lot line or rear lot line provided the following provisions are met:
The beehives are isolated from public access by a security fence as required under SMC 17C.110.230(F); and
The beekeeper establishes and maintains a flyway barrier at least six feet in height consisting of a solid wall, solid fencing material, dense vegetation or combination thereof that is parallel to the property line and extends ten feet beyond the colony in each direction so that all bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six feet above ground level over the property lines in the vicinity of the colony; or The colony is situated ten feet or more above the grade of the nearest adjoining property line.
Colonies shall be maintained in movable-frame hives with adequate space and management techniques to prevent overcrowding and swarming.
In any instance in which a colony exhibits aggressive or swarming behavior, the beekeeper must ensure that the colony is re-queened. Aggressive behavior is any instance in which unusual aggressive characteristics such as stinging or attacking without provocation occurs.
Every beekeeper shall maintain an adequate supply of water for bees located close to each colony.
All colonies shall be registered with the director of the state department of agriculture pursuant to RCW 15.60.021 no later than April 1st of each year. (I'll handle this!)
The beekeeper shall have completed the requirements for apprenticeship level of the Washington State Beekeeper’s Association master beekeeper certification program. (Already done!)
Link to Spokane Valley's Website for their Beekeeping Code
In residential areas, hobby beekeeping is subject to the following conditions:
The number of beehives shall be limited to one beehive per 4,356 gross square feet of lot area;
Beehives shall be set back a minimum of five feet from a side or rear property line and 20 feet from the front property line;
A flyaway barrier shall be provided that is at least six feet high and consists of a solid wall, solid fencing material, dense vegetation, or combination thereof, that is parallel to the side or rear property line(s) and extends beyond the beehive(s) in each direction that bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six feet above ground level over the property lines in the vicinity of the beehives;
Beekeepers shall maintain an adequate supply of water for bees located close to the hives; and
The beekeeper shall be certified by the Washington State Beekeeper’s Association." (Already done!)
Link to Spokane County's Website for their Beekeeping Code (You'll have to search for "beekeeping")
Beekeeping is allowed as an accessory use on any lot or parcel occupied by a single family residence. The keeping of bees shall meet the requirements of the Washington State Department of Agriculture RCW 15.60 or as hereafter amended.
The number of colonies allowed is limited to two (2) for the first 4,356 square feet of lot area, and one (1) for every 4,356 square feet of lot area thereafter. There is no limit on the number of Nucs/Nuclei.
Beehives shall be setback a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet from any abutting side or rear property line or public right-of-way, except that beehives may be setback up to five feet from any abutting side or rear property line when the beekeeper establishes and maintains a flyway barrier as provided in section (e) below.
A flyway barrier shall be at least six (6) feet in height consisting of a solid wall, solid fencing material, dense vegetation or combination thereof that is parallel to such side and/or rear property line(s) and extends beyond the beehive(s) in each direction so that bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six (6) feet above ground level over the property lines in the vicinity of the colony.