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West Des Moines

Are bees allowed? YES, in Open Space, Residential Estate, Residential Single Family,  Single-Family Residential, Single-Family Commerce Residential, Residential Single-Family Valley Junction, and Manufactured Housing districts. Regulations apply. Read the excerpt below or see the full source text (Title 9, Chapter 10, Section 4, Subsection A 19 Specific Use Regulation, click here).

No, in Zoning Districts RM (Residential Medium Density) and RH (Residential High Density). Also see Table 5.2 located here

19.   Beekeeping: In those districts in which SIC 0279-9901 is allowed, the following regulations shall apply to beekeeping operations:
         a.   Beekeeping shall only be allowed on property owned by the beekeeper or on property owned by a third party for which the beekeeper has written authorization from the property owner allowing for the keeping of bees.
         b.   Honeybee colonies shall be kept in hives with removable frames, with said hives kept in sound and usable condition.
         c.   A maximum of two (2) hives shall be permitted on a property one (1) acre or smaller in size, while a maximum of ten (10) hives shall be permitted on a property larger than one (1) acre in size.
         d.   Hives shall not be located in the front or side yard.
         e.   A source of water shall be readily available to the bees within the property that the beehives are located at all times during the time of year in which the bees are active.
         f.   When a hive is situated within twenty five feet (25′) of a property line, as measured from the nearest point on the hive to the property line, the beekeeper shall establish and maintain a flyway barrier parallel to the property line(s) which is a minimum of six feet (6′) in height consisting of a solid wall of a building, fence, dense vegetation or combination thereof. Said flyway barrier shall extend a minimum of twelve feet (12′) beyond the hive in all directions so that all bees are forced to fly at an elevation of at least six feet (6′) above ground level over the property line(s) in vicinity of the apiary. Dense vegetation used as a flyway barrier may exceed a height of six feet (6′); however, said vegetation shall be a minimum of six feet (6′) in height at the time that beehives are located on the property. A building permit shall be obtained prior to construction of any building or fence.
         g.   As recommended by the Iowa State Apiarist, the beekeeper shall incorporate best management practices in the beekeeping operation at all times, including practicing proper management and manipulation of colonies to remedy swarming and/or aggressive colonies.
         h.   In the event that a beekeeping operation is determined to be in violation of this Code with regard to the above regulations, the beekeeper and/or property owner shall be given written notice of the violation and be allowed fourteen (14) days from the date of the notice to correct the violation. If the property is not brought into compliance within fourteen (14) days, the hives shall be immediately removed from the property.


Nuisance complaints are invalid with compliance to Performance Standards, Specific Use Regulations, quoted above (Title 9, Chapter 10, Section 4, Subsection A.19).

Additional Notes­­­­­­­

Zoning maps are available in pdf or interactive map, click here

Contact: Lynne Twedt

Department: Development Services

Title:  Director

Email: lynne.twedt@wdm.iowa.gov

Phone: 515-222-3620

County: Dallas, Polk, Warren