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Keeping Bees In A Suburban or Urban Area




Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture

8995 East Main Street

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399     




Ohio has many areas within or near cities and towns where honey bees can obtain an abundance of nectar and pollen. Ornamental trees and shrubs many times can provide early forage for bees. However, beekeepers must always keep in mind, many people are frightened by the sight of a bee hive. As a result beekeepers need to position, keep and manage their bees to avoid any problems.


Property lines should be an important consideration. In confined locations, placing the colonies on or near the property line in clear view by neighbors is not recommended. The bee hives should be concealed by hiding them behind a solid fence or dense shrubbery. In urban areas hives can even be placed on a flat roof away from public view and above pedestrian traffic. The hive placement should be made so the bees normal flight pattern does not interfere with a busy street, sidewalk or clothesline.


Good management practices by beekeepers are also important. Knowing when and how to manage correctly can make beekeeping acceptable to your neighbors. Beekeepers should observe the following:

  1. Practice swarm control.
  2. Provide bees with a constant water supply.
  3. Do not overpopulate an apiary location. Consider your location and available forage sources. Usually a suburban or urban apiary can support from two to six colonies.
  4. inspect and manipulate your bee hives when the bees are foraging. This will cause less disturbance and be more acceptable by neighbors.
  5. Keep colonies with good behavior characteristics. This may require requeening.
  6. Register annually with Ohio Department of Agriculture and abide by the Ohio Revised Code and its rules. Contact the apiary section if you have a question or need assistance.


Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture