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Bee Permit Application Form

  1. City of Whitewater

    312 W. Whitewater Street
    P.O. Box 178
    Whitewater, Wi 53190

  2. Bee Keeping Permit
  3. If this permit is to have a beehive on a rental property, please fill out the information below.
  4. Additional Items Needed
    Print this form and bring the items below to the Neighborhood Service Department.

    Good-neighbor Beekeeping Practices and Your Whitewater City Ordinance Requirements 


    • Review the local city ordinance on keeping honeybees for details not covered in this document
    • Beekeeping is allowed in our community, but requires a permit and certain restrictions to minimize the potential for nuisance issues and to promote good beekeeping practices
    • Your permit application requires a one-time fee and must include a site plan. See attached example permit application and site plan: consider a Google satellite map screenshot or visit to take screenshot of your property. A well-drawn sketch of your property, approximately to scale, may suffice.  Photos can be useful but do not substitute for a site plan
    • Although beekeeping is allowed by local ordinance, if ordinance requirements are not being followed, the City may require you to remove the beehives from your property
    • Although not required by the ordinance, it is a good practice to inform your neighbors of your intent to raise honeybees
    • You can alleviate fears by educating your neighbors of the docile nature of honey bees and the benefits of having honey bees in the neighborhood 
    • Describe the difference between honey bees and the more aggressive wasps and hornets
    • Honey bees will pollinate vegetables, flowers, trees, and bushes
    • Find out if any neighbors have serious allergies to bee stings. Be respectful and place your beehive further away from allergic neighbor’s property lines
    • Encourage neighborhood children and your own children to wear shoes around your beehive and blooming plants in your lawn
    • Discuss bee swarm behavior, so neighbors understand that swarms may be cast from your hive and that they should not be alarmed, but should inform you if they see a swarm or swarm cluster
    • Have neighbors notify you if they plan on pesticide applications
    • SHARE your honey crop with your neighbors
    • Get them involved if they appear interested – invite them over for a colony inspection 
    • Be discreet about the placement of your beehives
    • Consider a rooftop if possible, out of the way of human activity
    • You may keep a maximum of 3 colonies on your property with 1 additional temporary nucleus colony for purpose of swarm collection or splitting of colonies. Properties greater than 1 acre in size may keep additional colonies (2 additional colonies for each additional acre)
    • City Ordinance requires that your beehives be placed in your back or side yard only and no closer than 5 feet from your property line.  Entrances must face away from adjacent neighbor lot lines
    • For beehives within 30 feet of a lot line you must establish a 6-foot tall flyway barrier that extends 10 feet on either side of the nearest beehive.  The flyway barrier can be a solid or closely slatted fence, wall, dense line of vegetation, or combination thereof.  The purpose of the flyway barrier is to raise the flight path of bees leaving the beehive, thereby limiting their interactions with nearby residents. (see example diagram below)
    • Honey bees must be maintained in beehives with removable combs for inspection purposes.  Both langstroth and top bar beehives are acceptable structureCapture.PNG
    •  Provide water sources for your bees to keep them out of neighbor’s pool, bird baths, pet watering bowls and water spigots
      •                Because the most common nuisance complaint of urban honey bees is bees congregating at nearby water sources, City Ordinance requires that you maintain 2 water sources on your property (1 within 20 feet of beehives) and each water source shall be continually filled with water when the bees are active outside the hive (water source may cease in the winter months).  
      •                 Suggested water sources would include a bird bath that is regularly filled with water and/or a chicken waterer – each filled with stones to allow bees to perch near the water.
      •               Minimize the potential for robbing behavior
      •                 Beekeepers are required to ensure that no empty beehives, bee comb, or other materials that might encourage robbing are left upon the property
      •                No open feeding of honey bees is allowed
    • Learn to work your beehives at appropriate times
      •                Sunny days between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when most of the field bees are foraging, is an excellent time to examine your hives. Use smoke appropriately when inspecting hives
      •                 Avoid working your bees when there is threatening or inclement weather
      •                Respect your neighbors and DON’T work on your colonies when neighbors have activities going on in their yard. 
      •               Promote the benefit of urban beekeeping
      •               Backyard gardens often lack sufficient number of pollinators
      •               Some of the best honey can be produced in city areas without the harmful pressure of chemical sprays often used in heavily farmed areas
      •                Cities often have an abundance of nectar sources such as basswood, black locust, and maple trees
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