Legalize Residential Beekeeping in Santa Ana!

Did you know that 30% of our food supply requires pollination by a pollinator, most effectively the honeybee?

Currently bees are not allowed in residential and commercial areas of Santa Ana. (Ord. No. NS-1466, § 7, 2-5-79; Sec. 5-7)

Help us inspire the City Planning Department to initiate an ordinance that would allow Santa Ana residents (with proper guidance) to raise their own honeybees, a practice that helps boost struggling honeybee populations and ensures local food security.

Cities across the country have legalized urban beekeeping as they understand the integral component bees play in our food system. Some examples are: Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Spokane, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and most recently Los Angeles. Even Toronto and Vancouver in Canada allow bees!

Beekeeping benefits the public, provides economic benefits, and supports environmental resilience!

Local Food Production: Urban beekeeping can contribute to greater production in our community & home gardens as well as public parks.

Small Business/Economic Development: One colony of bees can yield anywhere from 30 to 150 pounds of honey, as well as other high-value products including honeycomb, beeswax, pollen, and royal jelly. Honey alone has a market value of at least $10-$12 per pound, contributing significantly to a beekeeper’s supplemental income.

Connect to Nature: Urban beekeeping is not only good for the bees and their currently dwindling numbers, but a way for urbanites to reconnect with the natural world.

Save the bees: Despite the vital necessity of the honeybee to our crops and overall livelihood, honeybees are dying at a rapid rate due to pesticide use, genetic manipulation, poor diet, and disease. Urban and suburban environments have a diversity of food choices for bees, allowing them to thrive under proper care. Let’s help them help us!

Is beekeeping safe?

The most common concern about honeybees is bee stings, though those generally do not occur without provocation due to the docile nature of these creatures. Unwarranted stings are usually the fault of feral or Africanized bees, aggressive populations that can be reduced by responsible beekeeping. It is a priority of beekeepers to minimize these numbers as they are dangerous for “kept” bees and the community alike.

Further, only 3% of adults and 1% of children are at risk of a systemic allergic reaction to insect stings (bees, wasps, hornets, fire ants etc.) In 2013, only 40 people died of a severe reaction to insect stings, whereas allergic reactions to penicillin killed 7x as many people.

How would this new ordinance work?

It is important that anyone who wishes to keep bees in the city would be trained in proper apiculture techniques and properly permitted. In addition, the following regulations should apply:

• Hives must either be screened so that the bees must fly over a six-foot barrier (which may be vegetative) before leaving the property, or be placed at least eight feet above the adjacent ground level.

• Hives shall be continually managed in part to provide adequate living space for their resident bees, preventing swarming.

• Hives shall be “re-queened” at least once every two years to prevent swarming.

• A water source for bees shall be provided at all times on the property where the bees are kept to discourage bee visitation at swimming pools, hose bibs, and other water sources on adjacent public or private property.

How can I help?

Sign our online petition and/or call your Santa Ana City Council member and urge them to support this ordinance.

Share our Fact Sheet with your friends and neighbors – Download in English. Descargar en español.

Supported by over 200 community members and organizations including:
Downtown Santa Ana Farmers’ Market
The Honeybee Hub
Orange County Food Access Coalition