Beekeeper John Hood appearing at Yarmouth town council’s committee of the whole to appeal for a change in the town’s bylaws, which prohibit bee hives.
By Belle Hatfield
To bee or not, that was the question confronting Yarmouth Town Council at its committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Turns out, nothing in the town’s bylaws gives the town tools to stop people from carrying snakes around town, but the bylaws do prohibit people from having bee hives.
Yarmouth beekeeper John Hood gave a presentation in which he urged council to change its land use bylaw to allow bee hives within the town’s limits. He pointed out that honey bees play a critical part in pollination of flowers and food crops and their numbers are dropping. Over the last winter, he said up to 50 per cent of the bee population was lost.
In his presentation, Hood pointed out that there are many stinging insects. Of the many, honey bees are the least aggressive. It is very unusual for a honey bee to sting in its natural environment, he pointed out, because when the honey bee stings it dies.
Further, he says the honey bee’s range is greater than the boundaries of the town, so the bees, from hives he and others have close to town, are already at work within the town.
Following the presentation, council indicated to staff that it wants proposed changes to consider on an urgent basis. The deadline for beekeepers to be able to establish hives next year is January. To change the bylaws will take a minimum of three months.