County may loosen restrictions for beekeepers

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SAN DIEGO — Beekeepers in San Diego County are buzzing with frustration over an ordinance they say is bad for business and the county’s $5 billion agriculture industry.

Restrictions require that hives be kept at least 600 feet from dwellings and 100 feet from public roads.  Beekeepers say they want to promote the industry and help it grow, but the ordinance makes it difficult.

“So it’s just a matter of coming in line with where beekeeping is going now and what’s reasonable.  We don’t have to be two football fields away from any hive,” said Kim Hamilton, a beekeeper for 35 years who keeps a few hives outside her home near Jamul.

Hamilton is part of the San Diego Beekeeping Society which went to County Supervisor Dianne Jacob to ask for help in easing the mandate.

“We want to make sure we release those onerous regulations, break down the barriers and let the bees thrive.  These are the good bees, the honey bees – the bees that pollinate our crops,” said Jacob.

Supervisors will take up the issue during their meeting Wednesday.

Bee populations are rapidly disappearing.  Last year, a third of all colonies in the U.S. died off.

“To think we’re losing them is disastrous and its tragic.  It doesn’t speak well for our planet,” said Hamilton.bees

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