Gautier leaders approve beekeeping ordinance

Gautier leaders approve beekeeping ordinance
Bee farm sparks a buzz in a Gautier Neighborhood. (Photo Source: WLOX News)

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Some yards in Gautier will continue to buzz with bees. During a Tuesday night city council meeting new regulations were passed on bee ownership in Gautier.

City leaders voted to approve an amendment to the city's ordinance on animals and fowls to include the regulation of bees.

Under the ordinance, if someone wants to own bees on their property they will need to fill out a free permit. There are stipulations in the ordinance that limit the number of hives you may have based on the size of your property.

For instance, if your property size is under one quarter acre the keeping of bees will not be permitted. However, if you have one acre or larger you may have eight colonies per acre.

Councilman Adam Colledge said the purpose of the amendment is to protect the beekeeper and property owners.

It's an issue that has been creating quite the buzz for residents in one Gautier neighborhood.

"It's hard to do anything outside, it's hard to go outside at all," said Ann Walker.

Walker says it's all because her next door neighbors have a honeybee farm in their backyard.

"I guess about 15 hives? There could be thousands of bees per hive," Walker said.

Walker says this has been going on for years on the 8100 block of Martin Bluff Road in Gautier. Walker's neighbor post videos of the hives to YouTube. Walker says those swarms of bees make their way over to her yard.

"We've been stung trying to get our kids out of the car. I can't pull my car around the back of the house anymore, I have to park in the front because the engine is too much and they start to swarm," Walker said.

The neighbors to the other side of the bee farm say they don't have an issue with the bees, most likely because the hives line the opposite fence. But they don't think an ordinance is a bad idea.

"Well, because this is a residential area, I think it's a good thing," said Donald Sipp.

The new ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.