Red Hot Chili Pepper/neighborhood council meeting attendee Flea and his backyard bees, via LAist
It took Los Angeles about a million times longer to legalize urban beekeeping—already legal in most major cities—than it did to sign off on an expensive NFL stadium or ban McMansions in well-off neighborhoods (and those things won't even pollinate your food sources), but hey they finally did it yesterday. The push for a backyard beekeeping ordinance began in 2011, led by a nonprofit called HoneyLove. Honeybees are deeply endangered, having lost about a third of global population to colony collapse disorder, according to City News Service, and their presence in cities "aids urban farming efforts such as community gardens" (they also, duh, produce honey).
The ordinance passed by the LA City Council yesterday allows one hive per 2,500 square feet of property—in single-family home neighborhoods only—and requires a barrier at least six feet tall between hives and neighboring lots (so bees fly upwards as they leave), as well as a water source (so bees don't go looking elsewhere). Hives are still banned in front yards and within five feet of any lot lines. Beekeepers will also have to be registered with the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commission.
The ordinance seems to have taken so long because some people are very afraid of bees, but as bee experts told the City Council, honeybees rarely sting, and are aggressive only in self-defense near their hives.
Anyway, City Councilmember Paul Koretz—a primary supporter of the ordinance—said this just before the vote yesterday: "To bee or not to bee, that is the question. But there is no question. We must have bees."
· Backyard beekeeping OK'd by City of Los Angeles [CNS]
· All the Details on Los Angeles's Plan to Legalize Backyard Bees [Curbed LA]