Draft Beekeeping Ordinance to be considered for Mission Viejo
The City Council at a future meeting will consider a draft ordinance that would allow residential beekeeping in the City of Mission Viejo.
The proposed ordinance stems from a citizen who spoke at a Council meeting last year about the community benefits of beekeeping and asked Council Members to consider adopting regulations to allow private residents to perform beekeeping activities on their single-family residential properties.
Beekeeping is a critical component of urban agriculture. Urban bees play an important role in the growth and maintenance of community gardens; and they provide pollination services that are necessary to crop and plant reproduction. This list shows which Orange County cities allow and prohibit beekeeping activities. In Mission Viejo, some community members have raised concerns about health, safety, liability and impacts on neighborhood property values.
The proposed beekeeping ordinance on October 28, 2020 was considered and approved by the Planning and Transportation Commission, which recommended the City Council follow suit. More recently on March 9, 2021, the Council voted to postpone consideration so staff could conduct more research on the type of bees and a beekeeping certification program or educational/training component for inclusion in the ordinance.
The Council meeting to consider the draft ordinance has not been scheduled, but folks can stay up to date by subscribing to receive future City Council Meeting agendas.
Could the city allow beekeepers to ply their trade on properties owned by the city itself?
Might be a bad idea. We have a lot of bees in Mission Viejo right now. We experienced a huge swarm trying to locate themselves in our neighborhood this year. I have never seen so many bees in one swarm. I think there are plenty to go around for pollination purposes.
Allowing bees to be kept in the city of Mission Viejo with the average size of our lots and close proximity to our neighbors is nuts. If a person wants to keep bees let them move to a more rural area. I am a resident and property owner here since 1974
We have been just fine without people keeping bees
If the ordinance is crafted in such a way to create safe beekeeping guidelines and regulations it could benefit the beekeepers and neighbors alike. I encourage the council to do their due diligence and make an informed decision on this matter.
First off, I'm VERY allergic to bee stings. Many medical professionals have advised me to carry an EpiPen when I go out. I very rarely carry one with me when I go out and that is a risk I personally accept. I do not hate bees although by body may disagree. Lol. I understand that bees are necessary for many reasons. I understand that there are many bees in Mission Viejo currently and that fact won't change regardless of what the people/city decides on this proposal. I personally think, if managed the right way, this could be a good thing for the city. I would never ask 90,000 +/- people in Mission Viejo to change their lifestyle/way of life to accommodate me and my personal health. I COULD easily argue that this is a bad idea and my personal health risk is why I feel it's a bad idea but I don't see it that way. It's very possible that others that have a health risk like me may oppose this proposal based on their own person health risks. (I feel I see it now more than ever that people think their personal health risks should dictate how others should live.) I personally disagree with that mentality but on that note, I am a disabled combat veteran that served to help others, regardless of the risks to me. I want to help the community, not the other way around.
As someone who is extremely allergic to bees and have children with similar allergies - I hope that some type of neighbor agreement or sign off (similar to associations when painting your house or installing solar) is part of this ordinance.
I would fear for my life if a neighbor started to keep a hive.
Thank you for your time.
As I stated in my public comments to City Council I am opposed to allowing beekeeping in our city. My comments were about living with beekeeping in my neighborhood when I am allergic to bee stings. I have a few additional thoughts.
1. We have to get permission from neighbors to paint our house, install solar or make additions to our home. Will this be a requirement for beekeeping? What if a neighbor opposes it how will that be resolved.
2. Anoth concern I have is the number one preditor of bee hives are skunks. Skunks are insectivores and when they discover a hive they often return every night to attack the hive. Seriously, we want to encourage this into our neighborhoods?
3. Who is going to monitor this activity? When beekeeping is allowed it is recommended that the beekeeper have a 6 foot high barrier between neighbors and hives to encourage the flight path of bees is above the heads of neighbors. Who will monitor what this barrier needs to look like to keep the beauty of our neighborhoods. Also, it is recommended that the beekeeper maintains a water source on their property to keep bees happily living there. Does this water also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes?
4. Lastly, it is recommended that the beekeeper keep hives replenished with young queen bees so bees don’t swarm and send out scouts looking for new hive locations. This could easily be in my attic or walls. Is this going to be monitored by someone within the city to make sure this is being done?
Please do serious research and think about all the ramifications to our City before you pass any new ordinance.
MV is too densely populated to allow for something like this. This is more suited for rural areas where homes have significant separation. If adopted, this will cause a lot of neighbor to neighbor trouble. We don’t need that. The risk outweighs the benefits!
I have advised many cities in putting together a beekeeping ordinance. While I see that some people are against having bees kept within the city of MV, there is something that you must consider in disallowing bees. That is it won't happen. As long as there are flowers within the city limits there will be bees. Nature abhors a a vacuum. If you don't have western honeybees you will have other bees. Beekeepers in city limits of any city in S. California should be sure to requeen their colonies on a regular basis with European stock. That is your best defense to keeping Africanized bees away.
Thank you for your comments and sharing your insights. In response to the comment above about allowing "beekeepers to ply their trade on properties owned by the city itself," beekeeping is prohibited on public and private property, but the proposed draft Ordinance would potentially allow for such activity on private property.
Is the city prepared for lawsuits if someone allergic to bees dies if this ordinance passes? Many children are highly allergic to bees. Not everyone has an Epi-pen. All it takes is one mistake from an irresponsible beekeeper for someone to potentially pay with their life. It's NOT worth it. We have plenty of bees in this city. It's unfair that people allergic to bees should feel unsafe in their own backyards. Don't we have enough to worry about these days? Beekeepers can find a rural area for their hobbies. The one place everyone, especially kids should be safe is at home.
We fully support residential beekeeping. We rely on bees for pollination of our flowers and crops and during a pandemic you should realize how important it is to grow your own. Our bee population is going down due to the Asian mite that is decimating hives, we are going to be in a world of hurt if we don’t have bees to pollinate all our food resources.
Not everyone is going to run out and start beekeeping just by our city allowing it, let’s be realistic. There are many cities in Orange County that have ordinances in place and they are successful. For those that are “allergic” you’re more likely to get stung by the feral bees that are currently flying around your neighborhood, not a bee from a beekeeper. Beekeepers raise calm bees that could care less what you’re doing in your backyard and the bees you do see in your yard are traveling 3-5 miles away from their hive as it is.
There will be rules set in place as I understand it as far as how much space you need to have to be able to have a hive. People living in condos are likely not able to have a hive on their patio so those interested will miss out. People whom are interested need to take classes on how to learn and join the local beekeeping chapter etc. they don’t just go out and buy bees without knowing what they’re doing!
Bees and their keepers shouldn’t be feared. It’s time to pass this ordnance and allow those who want to keep be able to keep. #savethebees
I am writing in favor of the pending beekeeping ordinance in Mission Viejo. I am saddened by some of the previous comments against the ordinance due to inaccurate, or unfounded, information. There is not an overabundance, or too many, bees in Mission Viejo. The honey bee is under stress by many factors including the drought and loss of habitat. There are feral bee colonies everywhere, and adding a few more domesticated bee colonies in people’s yards will not appreciably add to the total bee population. Wild feral bees are the ones that are aggressive, not the gentle bred bees that beekeepers raise. No beekeeper wants to deal with aggressive bees. Several cities in Orange County have adopted backyard bee keeping ordinances and have not seen any issues or problems with homeowners keeping bees.
As a member of the Orange County Beekeepers Association, and a beekeeper myself for 7 years, I don’t recall any responsible beekeeper having an issue with neighbors being attacked by their bees. The bees are concentrated within the hive and when they exit, they disperse in all directions. They don’t congregate right around the hive. My guess is that more people attacked by pet dogs than are stung by beekeepers’ bees.
As for the comment earlier about skunks coming in every night to attack a bee hive, I have never once had that happen to my hives, nor have I heard any of my beekeeper friends experiencing that.
I strongly suggest the City Council adopt the beekeeping ordinance; bees are an important component of our healthy environment.
Southern California has ferral africanized bees. One way to combat this is to allow legalized bee keeping within the city. That way the hives are managed and any defensive hives are usually requeened with docile European queens.
Bee education is highly needed. I am hearing fear and speculation from possible uninformed residents. A good idea would be to educate residence on bees and beekeeping with a pamphlet available at city hall. The facts are: bees are cool, bees are endangered and nice and one hive will pollenate your trees 50% more each year!
Fact 1: To anyone scared of “one” swarm. This is a Ferrell bee hive (wild) that is natural in nature. If you don’t see a swarm then nature is out of balance and your lemon and almond prices will double!!!! Did you know that beekeepers rent their bees to CA almond farmers every spring in order to produce nuts?
Fact 2: To anyone allergic - nothing will change your current lifestyle. You will still need your pen for Ferrell bees. My 8 YO son is a beekeeper and I his mother help him. I am allergic to bees and ants and still take care of my bees just fine. A beekeeper purchases species that are gentle unlike the Ferrell aggressive or Africanized species. Our bees are gentle and recognize human faces. The comment about “fear for your life” is unwarranted. Your Life will remain the same.
Fact 3: The idea of requiring g a 6’ fence between neighbors is fear based. Bees travel up to 5 miles for food so the fence will not deter nature. Again, beekeepers purchase gentle species. Best to focus on Ferrell wild species instead.
Fact 4: To the Queens need to be young comment in order not to swarm. Did you know beekeepers do constant progress brood checks already? Did you know a Queen can last a maximum of 5 years before her hive determines her unhealthy and allows for new Queen cells?
Fact 5: To the comment around bees should not live in densely populated areas. Did you know that many high rise cities have bee hives on their high rise building roofs? This is another myth. Mission Viejo is no where near as dense as LA or San Fran who house beehives on roofs.
Netflix and Amazon Prime has some wonderful documentaries on bees to help demystify all the fear and speculation. Once these guys are gone your nuts and fruits will be non existent or cost more than gas!
I am in favor of beekeeping in our city. We need bees in so many ways. Without bees, what will happen to flowers and trees? Our honey supply will dwindle and there are already signs of colony collapse. Yes, bees can sting and dogs and cats bite. Beekeeping is necessary for food. Have you ever driven along the 5 Freeway or Route 46 up toward Lost Hills and along the way to Chico? The area is filled with nut trees. At certain times of the years, the hives sit near the groves. If those beekeepers weren't keeping bees, we wouldn't have walnuts and pecans. We NEED bees! Please let those who wish to keep bees in Mission Viejo keep bees. Thank you.
Hello! I'm writing IN FAVOR of the bee keeping ordinance. I'm excited that MV is considering to allow beekeeping, and to be honest I was surprised when I first moved here that it wasn't allowed. Bee populations have suffered so much in recent history, and ordinances like this would allow us to do our part to help these beneficial insects. I agree that guidelines need to be established to keep not only neighbors safe, but also the colonies themselves. Not every location is prime for a hive. I sympathize with the population that have allergies, but as many have noted, their day to day lives would not change - the bees that are kept by hobbyists are more gentle than native bees and no extra precautions would need to be taken (that aren't already being taken). As with anything, education about the rules regarding beekeeping AND on the creatures themselves need to happen in order to alleviate fears.
We love bees! They are so vital to our community from flowers and gardens to their honey! My kids both have terrible allergies and local honey has helped them immensely. These bees are not the swarms but are gentle and helpful to our community. I have so much respect for the beekeepers and what they do and I hope they can continue this without hassle!
Allowing legal beekeeping in Mission Viejo will likely IMPROVE conditions for those worried about stings and allergies. Feral (naturally occurring) bees, many of whom display defensive behavior (‘Africanized’), can only be mitigated by dilution of their genetics with more gentle strains. Sensible management by local beekeepers would include yearly re-queening with non-defensive stock, reducing feral bee density, as they compete for the same resources. Non-defensive stock have little or no tendency to sting unprovoked, unlike feral defensive (‘Africanized’) colonies. Banning beekeeping does not keep bees out of Mission Viejo; it enables defensive bees to be more prevalent. With the 5 mile forage range of honeybees (Apis Mellifera), and all of Mission Viejo’s neighbors already permitting beekeeping, the only way to improve conditions is to permit responsible beekeeping. Everyone would win.
If bees are outlawed, only outlaws will have bees.
I'm very much in favor of it. First of all, whether you realize it or not, there are already bee colonies in Mission Viejo. Question to those worried about allergies: would you rather have feral africanized bees, or docile european ones?
Simply put, having an ordinance will not stop bees from exploring Mission Viejo. Beekeepers will run hives in the neighboring cities, and those same bees will be found foraging in Mission Viejo. The average bee forages up to five miles a day. Passing an ordinance will not create a magical wall that keeps bees from your community. Bees will go wherever there are flowers, and there are a lot of flowers in Mission Viejo.
Your best bet is to allow the beekeepers to help manage the bees foraging in your community, and thus minimize many of the other challenges that come from unmanaged bees.
I am in FAVOR of this ordinance. Many other cities in Orange County allow bee-keeping with minimal or no issues. Bees benefit the ecosystem. Bee-keepers are responsible and this hobby benefits the environment. Maybe having the neighbors sign off on the activity is appropriate. I had a wild hive in the stucco wall/fence with my neighbor. I left them there for many years until I decided to have the hive relocated at a big cost so they could continue to live.
I am a big advocate of backyard bee keeping. Bees are a vital part of the environment & we will be sorry if we let them go!
I am in favor of responsible bee keeping in Mission Viejo. I would ask that the ordinance require that your immediate neighbors agree in case they have a medical issue and cannot risk a bee sting (as rare as they may be).
Thanks for making Mission Viejo “bee friendly”!
Yes to backyard beekeeping in MV. I live in downtown Santa Ana, we are densely populated and have two bee hives as allowed in our city's ordinance on our 50' x100' lot. My husband and I took beekeeping class at CalPoly, joined Orange County Beekeepers Association and attended several work shops all before actually having bees. Now I am one of those who go out and capture swarms in my area, re-queen the swarm so they become gentle and then find someone who wants to become a beekeeper. Once they are educated, I give them the swarm.
I encourage MV city council to approve this ordnance for two reasons, so beekeepers in the city now become legal and so others can become beekeepers. It helps the environment and our health. Education is the key.
I think that Mission Viejo would benefit tremendously by making beekeeping allowed in our city. They provide an enormous amount of positives for the city like keeping our beautiful flowers and trees growing strong while also providing sweet sweet honey in our very own city. Bees are a necessity to life and provide over 35 percent of the worlds agriculture business which means more food for the people who struggle putting food on their tables. These bees are not only hard workers but very clean to say the least. I have been beekeeping for over 2 years now and i can say that this experience has been amazing for me and gave me a chance to give back to the city. I mean, what's better than your very own Mission Viejo grown honey? The possibilities are endless and i think it would be the best decision for Mission Viejo to allow beekeeping.
Our local beekeepers are educated about properly keeping bees. By installing gentle Italian colonies this helps to displace locally defensive bees and change the genetic dynamics in an area. Our Orange County Beekeeping Association, the California Master Beekeeper Program classes and speakers educate our Orange County beekeepers on proper honey bee husbandry. I have yet not met a beekeeper that is happy and willing to deal with locally defensive bees - we teach to requeen with gentle queens or eliminate the defensive colony.
I am a new bee keeper and absolutely love it- the bees are so great for the environment and make delicious, healthy local honey. The local honey does wonders for people’s allergies and immune systems. I am highly in favor of beekeeping in mission viejo. The city will be ALL THE MORE DESIRABLE if it is functioning at its best, and responsible beekeeping is apart of that. The more that beekeeping is normalized, the more people will realize bees are not something to fear and crush whenever you see them, but something to be thankful for. They play a vital role in our ecosystem. The city will benefit from backyard beekeeping.
I am an MV resident and I have several citrus trees and wildflowers and other plants. I have noticed that there are fewer bees pollinating these flower over the last 30 years. I would like to see more hobbiests developing small local hives
PLEASE HELP KEEP THE BACKYARD BEES! We need them. The bees are disappearing and have been compromised and are dying off due to the direct relation to all the chemicals (pesticides, insecticides, etc.) sprayed on our foods. Local raw Honey can actually help with allergies. It's this simple, IF THE BEES DIE, WE DIE. Please do more research before you decide to do away with the bees in your city. Thank You, Kim Hamrock ,bee
advocate and member of the Orange County Bee association.
I know Bees can be a pain if someone’s allergic to them that could be harmful but I didn’t realize how important the bees are to everything or bees are down in numbers and it’s better to have beekeepers that know what they’re doing to breed these gentle babies and not the wild feral ones if you don’t have breeders in your area they go feral and they’re very wild and get into areas that you don’t want them in. And become very aggressive to humans that’s why you need beekeepers in your area to raise gentle ones this is a proven fact I didn’t know this myself. Bees will breed on your own without your help but with our control it’s better for people that are allergic to bees. Please check this information out yourself specially if you are allergic to bees.
Plant citrus and you’ll have plenty of bees in no time flying around. There are plenty of bees here. Our properties are too close for hobby bee keeping. Without proper water by their keepers they will take over the neighboring pools. Anyone whose lived with an unmanaged and uncontrolled hive in close proximity knows this. Bad idea!
I favor a responsible and well written ordinance with a licensing and inspection provision to ensure that best practices are maintained.
I am more concerned with irresponsible pet owners who allow their pets to defecate on neighbor's properties or sidewalks. It's frustrating to pick up after these people. The pets do not know better nor is it intentional on their part.
Beekeeping does not belong in a Backyard
We had much trouble around our property
Such as cost to remove the bees from our roofs
What about The medical care from the stinks
Bad idea to keep bees close to children and elderly in backyards
I too agree that allowing bee keeping in MV is a good idea. As many know and have already stated bee populations are dwindling. As a home gardener I must have bees for pollination. I have planted more and more flowers to assure I have more bees pollinate my vegetables. I don't think irresponsible people would want to keep bees as it's a detailed and hand on hobby. And those that fear bees wouldn't see an uptick in the numbers in their own yard. Maybe we would then have more local honey for sale at food markets. What I'm more interested in is raising a few chicken for eggs. MV is a great place to live and this would really add something unique in our area. I say YES to keeping bees!
I support urban beekeeping. Having people who know and understand bees will actually improve the situation and there will be plenty of beekeepers on hand to collect swarms and remove unwanted hives. Registered and responsible beekeepers will actually work to improve the aggressiveness of the local bees as well as working to reduce swarming of their own bees. There will be bees either way but they will be better controlled and monitored when beekeeping is permitted. Many cities in So Cal are aware of the need for bees and are passing ordinances to allow beekeeping.
I totally support bee keeping in M V . That will have good environmental benefits ,health benefit by consuming cleaner honey, pollination 0f our fruits and vegetables, learning from the smartest and most socialised creature that egzists . Getting to know bees in more detales can help to reduce the stres , treat depresion. there products honey and pollen increase immunity and treat allergys.I do not think that by permitting local people to keep them will increase any complications towards bee venom allergys but that would have opposite effect that means less stings since domestic / bees will change demographics of africanised bees which are dominant for now in our city. Of Cours we should have rules and restrictions. as is Lot size distance from neighbor etc.
Please vote YES!
I would encourage the city council to vote in favor of allowing beekeeping within the City of Mission Viejo. It is not like there will be hundreds of bee hives popping up in our neighborhoods, but rather maybe a dozen or so hobbyists with one or two hives at most. Wild bee colonies are everywhere and allowing beekeeping will not appreciably add to the population of bees that already exist within the city. What it will do is introduce bees that are more gentle and less aggressive than the feral bees that exist now. Beekeepers almost exclusively keep bees that are bred to be gentle, calm and less aggressive. No beekeeper wants to deal with aggressive nasty bees. These domesticated bees will over time breed with the wild bees making them less aggressive as well.
The majority of bees live inside the hive and the ones that do go out to forage disperse over a wide area and do not “swarm” around near the hive. If your neighbor had a bee hive in his back yard you probably wouldn’t even know it.
The argument about “what’s next…allowing chickens and goats?” is not valid because we don’t already have wild chickens or goats roaming around the city, but we do already have bees everywhere. If you grow vegetables, have fruit trees, or flowers you should welcome a nearby beekeeper because you will benefit from those plants being pollinated by his bees.
Many local cities have successfully adopted beekeeping ordinances and have not experienced any issues with allowing beekeeping within the city.
As a long time resident of Mission Viejo and a beekeeper myself or the last 7 years I would love to be able to keep my bees in my back yard instead of some remote site where they are hard to keep an eye on.
Oh, and by the way, the girl who first brought the proposal to the Mission Viejo City Council may live in another city, but is working with the Orange County Beekeepers Association to adopt beekeeping ordinances in many cities within Orange County.
Our family had a backyard hive for over 20 years. We kept the bees from foraging for water from 2 neighbor pools by always having a bird bath in front of the hive filled with water. We used a smoker when we harvested the honey combs which makes the bees docile while working the hive. The honey combs were spun in stainless steel drum to extract the honey. The bee hive will be a "bee airport" in your backyard. Bee's leave the hive in morning to forage and return in the early early evening. Our hive was in a orange grove. The bees flight path to return to the hive flying over the trees tops, then corkscrew down to the hive. The area around the hive is busy with bees say about 10 ft diameter. The hive will also have guard bees that will come out to protect the hive from threats.
Bees hives are a serious commitment & I like bees but it all depends on the bee keeper.
I am in favor of allowing regulated backyard beekeeping in Mission Viejo. The bees are here regardless - we have hives in trees in greenbelts and backyard trees that are no more of a problem for those with allergies than the current situation. Beekeeping as a hobby could also help keep Africanized bees from taking over. I carried an epi pen for many years for my dog, and those with severe allergies to bees need to do the same to protect themselves, as well as keeping bee-friendly plants out of their yards. I’ve had a wild hive near my home for 3 years, and haven’t gotten stung. My fruit trees and I love them!
Yes to urban beekeeping.
Without hesitation Mission Viejo should allow responsible beekeeping within city limits. Many (most) of our fruits and vegetables we eat are the result of pollination, mostly by honeybees, and a few other native pollinators. These food items do not come from supermarkets, they come from plants that require pollination. And the lions share of that pollination is from cultivated honeybees.
Home edible gardening has grown considerably in popularity over the past decade, with many new home edible gardens being installed, maintained and expanded. Home edible gardening is the fastest growing segment of urban horticulture. These citrus, fruits, avocados, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and dozens of other backyard plants need this pollination.
Properly managed, well maintained domestic beekeeping is an alternative to feral bees. As mentioned several times in prior comments here, the introduction of domestic, Mel maintained apiaries may actually reduce the potential of bee stings and aggressive honeybee behavior - not increase it.
I am the Vice President of Roger’s Gardens, the largest regional garden retailer in Orange County and also the Vice President of the Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Finally, I am a resident and gardener just up the road, off of Jeronimo Road.
Lastly, honeybees and other pollinators are an integral part of the natural world. Pollinators, prey, predators, pests and other organisms are all components of biodiversity and are critical to what makes this planet work.
Please be a leader and pass ordinance 21-340 permitting responsible beekeeping in the city of Mission Viejo.
Beekeeping should be allowed in Mission Viejo. Bees are so important to our environment, and we are already harming them in almost every way possible(destroying land, gassing their hives, reducing native species of plants that they depend on, etc). We depend on bees, too, to pollinate our food, which otherwise would have to be done completely by hand. The least we can do to help them is legalize the practice of bee keeping. There are certainly people in Mission Viejo already keeping bees (illegally), so realistically the only thing that would change is the legality of the practice, and whether people know if others are keeping bees. It wouldn't really even increase the amount of bees in Mission Viejo, because bees are free to fly anywhere they want, so it would just relocate some hives elsewhere and concentrate the amount of bees in different areas. Let's save the bees.