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Sioux City

Are bees allowed? YES. Bees are allowed in all districts, no variance needed. Nothing prevents the presence of active bee hives in any district/zoning, based on searches that the City Legal Dept. has conducted in the past. Read below for restrictions in an Ag District.

YES – IN AGRICULTURE DISTRICT. Code may be found at: Title 25 Zoning and Sign Code > Chapter 25.02 Zoning Districts and Land Uses > Subchapter 25.02-D Conditional and Limited Uses > 25.02.190 Agricultural, Industrial, Utility, and Communication Use Standards

  1. Apiaries. Apiaries may be allowed as a conditional use in the Agriculture (AG) district, if in addition to the other applicable standards of this Code, it is provided that:
    1. Hives. All bee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable combs, which shall be kept in sound and usable condition.
    2. Setbacks.
      1. All hives shall be located at least five feet from any property line.
      2. Apiaries shall be set back at least 200 feet from the property lines of schools and all types of day care facilities.
    3. Fencing of Flyways. In each instance in which any colony is situated within 25 feet of a property line of the tract upon which the apiary is situated, or within 25 feet of an area of the property used for public recreation or assembly (e.g., picnic tables, playground, etc.), as measured from the nearest point on the hive to the property line or recreation / assembly area, the beekeeper shall establish and maintain a flyway barrier at least six feet in height, consisting of a solid wall or fence parallel to the property line or recreation / assembly area and extending 10 feet beyond the colony in each direction, so that all bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six feet above ground level over the property lines in the vicinity of the apiary.
    4. Each property owner or beekeeper shall ensure that a convenient source of water is available at all times to the bees so that the bees will not congregate at water sources where they may cause human, bird, or domestic pet contact. The water shall be maintained so as not to become stagnant.
    5. Maintenance.
      1. Each property owner or beekeeper shall ensure that no bee combs or other materials that might encourage robbing are left upon the grounds of the apiary site. Upon their removal from the hive, all such materials shall promptly be disposed of in a sealed container or placed within a building or other bee-proof enclosure.
      2. Any bee colony not residing in a hive structure intended for beekeeping, or any swarm of bees, or any colony residing in a standard or homemade hive which, by virtue of its condition, has obviously been abandoned by the beekeeper, is unlawful and may be summarily destroyed or removed from the City by the Administrator, or a designee.
    6. Queens. In any instance in which a colony exhibits unusually aggressive characteristics by stinging or attempting to sting without due provocation, or exhibits an unusual disposition towards swarming, it shall be the duty of the beekeeper to requeen the colony. Queens shall be selected from stock bred for gentleness and non-swarming characteristics.
    7. Colony Densities.
      1. No more than the following number of colonies are allowed on any lot or parcel within the City, based upon the size or configuration of the parcel on which the apiary is situated:
        1. Lot or parcel area one-quarter acre up to but not including one-half acre: four colonies.
        2. Lot or parcel area one-half acre up to but not including one acre: six colonies.
        3. Lot or parcel area one acre or more: eight colonies.
        4. Regardless of lot or parcel size, where all hives are situated at least 200 feet in any direction from all property lines of the lot on which the apiary is situated, there shall be no limit to the number of colonies.
      2. For each two colonies that are allowed on a lot or parcel, there may be maintained upon the same lot or parcel one nucleus colony in a hive structure not exceeding one standard 10-frame hive body with no supers attached, as required from time to time for management of swarms. Each such nucleus colony shall be disposed of or combined with an allowed colony within 30 days after the date it is acquired.

If a nuisance was called: Nuisance bees have been a recurring issue for properties with swimming pools. The city consulted with home owners and a keeper to include restrictions of flyway barriers and water sources. Nuisance bees have also been an issue with a several-acre parcel of land adjoining a state park. Without a way to verify ownership, no nuisance was filed.

Additional notes: City code is same for both Plymouth and Woodbury counties.

Contact: Amber Hegarty

Department: Legal

Title: Assistant City Attorney

Email: ahegerty@sioux-city.org

Phone: 712-279-6318

County: Plymouth and Woodbury