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Columbus Beekeepers Hope to Sway City Council to Vote Against a - KOAM TV 7

Columbus Beekeepers Hope to Sway City Council to Vote Against a Beekeeping Ban

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A proposed ban on beekeeping in Columbus, Kansas comes just as interest the hobby and business is growing there.

Some want the city council to rethink the issue.

On the shelves at the farmers coop farm store are beehive kits, gloves, hats and all the supplies to be a bee keeper.

Manager Brian Clugston says he's hoping the city council doesn't ban beekeeping in the city limits.

Clugston says, "It could hurt business, yes, but I don't  know how you're gonna keep bees out of the city. They're what pollinates your flowers and gardens so it only helps with that. So they're already here. By people having that as a hobby, I don't see how that would make much difference." 

He and others know there is interest. Dale Helwig, a Cherokee County Extension Agricultural Agent said "In June, we held a general honeybee workshop and  we has over a one hundred attendees."

He offered three more days of workshops in January and drew an average of thirty people each day. And Kirby Honeycutt is organizing a beekeeping club. Honeycutt said, "Our first meeting we had twenty-eight people that attended it.  There’s a club in Joplin I know about one hundred people attend on a monthly basis."

Currently Columbus has nothing on the books about beekeeping.

Helwig presented a possible ordinance to regulate bee keeping to  a policing committee. But later the  council voted seven to two to create a ban.

Helwig said, “They were more worried about people getting stung walking by, and that’s where we think if we have an enclosure around it that would be a safety barrier for that."

A common regulation in cities that do allow beekeeping is to have a barrier  very close to the hive like a fence or tall vegetation so that when bees exit the hive they fly upward.

Honeycutt says, "A bee won’t attack people unless you do something to invade their space or threaten them."

Clugston sells some locally produced honey already. Honeycutt hopes current and future beekeepers can convince the council to make it legal in Columbus.

Honeycutt says, "We are hoping that there will be enough people who want to keep bees in Columbus that will  come out and voice their opinion and can sway their vote." 

The next Columbus city council meeting is March 7th at which members are expected to vote on an ordinance that would ban beekeeping.

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