October 5, 2013 (San Diego) – A proposal by Supervisor Dianne Jacob to encourage beekeeping will be heard by the County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, October 9. Find meeting details here.
European honey bees have an important role in the $5.1 billion agriculture industry in San Diego County. Currently, crops pollinated by bees account for approximately one-third of food eaten. There has been a sharp decline in the bee populations throughout California, prompting municipalities and beekeeping organizations to step-up efforts to promote safe beekeeping in both urban and rural areas.
The San Diego Beekeeping Society has come forward expressing a desire for change to the County’s beekeeping ordinance in order to promote the industry and preserve the honey bee population. The current ordinance requires that beekeepers maintain their hives a minimum of 600 feet from any dwelling that does not belong to the owner and at least 100 feet from a public access road.
“A cooperative approach to modifying regulations would allow property owners to do more with their land, while promoting private and commercial beekeeping operations and ensuring that surrounding properties are not adversely impacted,” Jacob states.
Supervisor Jacob recommends that the County direct the Chief Administrative Officer to work with the San Diego Beekeeping Society and any other interested parties to investigate options that would protect and promote beekeeping operations throughout the unincorporated areas of San Diego County, including the potential change to the County’s setback requirements in the beekeeping ordinance and any other appropriate changes, and report back to the Board within 120 days.
The Board of Supervisors is committed to supporting and encouraging farming in San Diego County through Board Policy I-133. This policy aims to develop and implement programs designed to support and encourage farming in order to maintain agriculture as a major industry in San Diego County. Supervisors have recently taken action to promote other agricultural industries such as boutique wineries, equine, cheese making, and micro breweries. Beekeeping is another opportunity for the Board to further promote agriculture in San Diego County.
Beekeepers in San Diego assist farmers throughout California by transporting their established colonies to various farms, allowing the bees to naturally pollinate crops. More than 1.5 million hives from San Diego County are used to pollinate almond, avocado, broccoli, onion, fruit, and seed crops.