Deer Park lifts ban on beehives

  • Deer Park officials have lifted a local ban on apiaries and beekeeping.

      Deer Park officials have lifted a local ban on apiaries and beekeeping. John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2017

Updated 1/22/2021 2:48 PM

Fresh honey lovers in Deer Park, rejoice: The local ban on backyard beekeeping has been repealed.

The village board on Thursday unanimously voted to delete a provision in the town's animal-related codes that outlawed the keeping of apiaries on lots less than 5 acres in size.


The now-defunct rule also had given the village's building inspector the power to order the removal of any hive deemed a nuisance.

The board approved the change with no discussion -- but with a little bit of humor.

When asked for his vote, Trustee Michael Mann said "buzz" -- and then added a much more official "yes."

The issue arose in November when a local resident complained to the board that he'd received a letter ordering him to remove his apiary from his property, which is smaller than the 5-acre minimum needed for beekeeping that was in place at the time.

The resident asked for help from the board, which led to a discussion and the eventual rule change.

Although a source of anxiety for many people, bees play an important role in pollinating flowers and crops -- in addition to producing honey.

Trees and plants pollinated by honeybees include those that produce almonds, apples, blueberries, cucumbers, melons and pumpkins, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture's website.

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A decline in the wild honeybee population has increased the need for managed honeybee colonies for pollination, the website indicated.

Keeping honey bees also can be a great way for people to learn about insects and makes others more aware of the environment, said Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, a horticultural entomologist specializing in sustainable pest management.

"Learning about insects helps people become less fearful of nature, because we need insects to survive," said Wainwright-Evans, whose clients have included the West Chicago-based Ball Horticultural Co.

Regulated beekeeping has been allowed in Elgin since 2018 and in St. Charles since 2017. Naperville enacted regulations in 2016, while West Dundee lifted a ban in 2013.

Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Arlington Heights are among the other towns allowing beekeeping at home.

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