Urban Bee Farming
Springfield City Council recently amended their ordinance that allows citizens to keep honey bees on their property. Two hives are allowed on lots that are at least 5,000 square feet. One extra hive is allowed for every additional 5,000 square feet of property. Each person owning a hive must be able to provide proof that they have at least two years of experience managing a colony of bees without reported incidents or have completed a beekeeping training course through a beekeeping association, academic institution or through a university extension program. All hives need to be labeled with the owner’s name and contact information.
The ordinance also outlines various provisions for where the hives are allowed to be placed. The beehives must be located in rear yards, at least 5 feet from all property lines. The hives must be inside a fenced enclosure that is at least 42 inches high. If the hive is located within 20 feet of a property line, a 6-foot-tall barrier that extends at least 20 feet in both directions is required. A usable water source for the bees should also be located on the owner’s property.
If you are interested in trying beekeeping in your own backyard, you may want to take a look at the following Library resources to learn more about how to manage these amazing insects.
The Beginner's Guide to Bee-Keeping by Samantha and Daniel Johnson.
A fully illustrated, detailed resource for would-be rural and suburban beekeepers.
The Backyard Beekeeper's Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting and Cooking with Natural Honeys by Kim Flottum.
Teaches the process of moving honey from beehive to honey house and how to reveal and extract it so none of the finer aromas, tastes or colors are bruised, burned or broken. You’ll learn which crops produce the best tasting honey and which to avoid.
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities by Luke Dixon.
Presents a guide to urban bee farming, including instructions on how to select the perfect hive, care for a colony, harvest honey and maintain a safe colony for neighbors.
Wisdom for Beekeepers: 500 Tips for Successful Beekeeping by James Tew.
A collection of tips to help beginning beekeepers get started in this rewarding hobby. For easy reference, the tips are divided into chapters, covering all aspects of beekeeping, from hives and equipment through buying your first bees to managing your colony and seeing to your crop.
The following organizations are available to help guide you through your first season as a beekeeper.
The Missouri State Beekeepers Association
Beekeeper Association of the Ozarks
University of Missouri Extention
Find this article at