INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)- There’s a buzz about bees at the Statehouse. Monday, Governor Eric Holcomb ceremonially signed a law that went into effect last week which relaxes the rules on who can raise honeybees.
You might not realize it, but there are dozens of beehives in downtown Indianapolis. Five of those hives are on a rooftop along Meridian Street. Inside those hives are more than 100,000 bees.
Now, because of a state law change, it’s easier for residents to raise honeybees.
“Without honeybees, we wouldn’t have a third of the food we eat,” Jim Berndt of Beekeepers of Indiana said Tuesday.
“They’re absolutely essential to not only agriculture, but to a lot of what we do as far as urban horticulture.” Berndt added.
The law says a city, town or county cannot ban honeybee keeping on a property you own, rent or lease.
Berndt said the new law comes as some places in Indiana have beekeeping bans in place.
“They really are very quiet, very gentle, A lot of what people think of as bees that make them afraid are actually yellow jackets, hornets and wasps, which are not kept by beekeepers.” Berndt explained.
The law still lets cities and towns create rules like how many beehives you can have and the location of those hives on a property.
“It’s really beekeepers working with the local government to make sure beekeeping is done responsibly, but also to ensure pollinators are available for people’s gardens, for flowers, for agricultural crops.” Berndt explained.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports bee colony loss remains a concern. Republican State Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany hopes this law helps ease those concerns.
“Honeybee populations have been declining worldwide as a result of disease, loss of habitat and other factors,” Clere said. “This is something we can do in Indiana to help reverse that trend.”
Berndt said he believes some cities and towns will have to change their ordinances to lift bans on raising honeybees.
(This story was originally published on July 10, 2019)