Denver Officials Threaten to Jail Backyard Beekeeper

Nov 1, 2008 by

Here I am, innocently--yet illegally--working in my urban beehive in Denver. Apparently, I'm not alone among the ignorant. Another Denver woman, Marygael Meister, took a beekeeping class at the local botanic gardens and decided to try her hand at beekeeping as well. She invested about $1,500 in hives and bees and established three bee colonies in her backyard rose garden. Sounds great, right? Especially since bees are facing a mysterious, historic decline all over the world, one that may be mitigated by small-scale local beekeeping efforts. Good for Marygael! And yet, not so good. I read in a recent article that a local neighbor complained to the city about the bees, and the city promptly slapped her a fine of $999 and a possible YEAR IN JAIL if she didn't remove her boxes by June 25th. A year in jail. That is where our tax dollars are going. This is disturbing news for two big reasons: First of all...laws against urban beekeeping? Hello? Government policy makers need to craft legislation that allows beekeeping in cities so we can have as many small beekeeping operations as possible. We NEED to allow beekeeping because we need to allow beekeeping everywhere. Reason number two...This so could have been me. I also had a bee colony in Denver, but unfortunately it died in the summer for various reasons. I hope I would have had the cojones that Marygael had when she refused to cooperate with the city and decided to seek outside help. More on that in the next blog. But seriously--a $1000 fine for keeping these fantastic insects. I was this close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *