A Kennewick man is balking at an order to remove his backyard beehives, reviving an old debate about whether bees make good neighbors in urban settings.
Christopher Royce, who moved to Kennewick this spring from Alabama, said he reviewed city codes and secured his landlord’s permission before installing four hives at his home near Clearwater Avenue.
There are no firm numbers, but the Mid-Columbia Beekeepers Association estimates that several hundred Tri-City residents keep honeybees, an activity that is largely ignored by city officials until the bees become a nuisance or neighbors complain.
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Fifth-grader Jonathan Jefferson, 10, bedecked in his beekeeping suit in front of more than 200 fourth- and fifth-grade students at Kennewick’s Canyon View Elementary School on Friday, asked some teachers how many bees they thought were in a single hive.
Ten thousand? Way more than that. Twenty thousand? No. One teacher, egged on by her students, said she didn’t think it was a million and guessed 10,000 again.
“There can be one million bees in a hive,” Jonathan finally said to the raucous amazement of the crowd.
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Bee hive registration is mandatory, inexpensive and important. One of the reasons is that the state provides pesticide applicators with information on the location of local bee hives and on preventing bee poisonings.
Forms and fees are due April 1 of every year. Fees are relatively inexpensive with the cost for 1-5 hives being $5 and 6-25 hives being $10.
Visit our Downloads page to download a copy of the form.