Information ... Information ... Information!

Starting and Keeping Bees in Michigan

Awareness, respect, and accurate information are all key in establishing any successful beehive.  In essence, to be successful you will need to inform yourself, so you will be spending time reading everything you can get your hands on before you make any purchases.  First, to avoid frustration and potential fines/penalties, there are often beekeeping regulations you need to research.

For example, in the State of Michigan, Apiary laws are found under MCL/Act 412 of 1976.  Laws vary from state to state.

The MSU Extension has a wealth of information on keeping bees in Michigan, which is also available in a 2016 Downloadable document, "Starting and Keeping Bees in Michigan: Rules and Regulations".


Starting and Keeping Bees in Michigan: Rules and Regulations, Dr. Meghan Milbrath, MSU


"Two Things are Certain - Death & Taxes" ...

Urban Beekeeping

Many communities are regulating beekeeping in urban settings.  Locally, Holland, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo are a few such instances.  Be sure to file appropriate documents and pay any fees associated before investing large sums of money and time to establish your hives.

Some of those regulations might include:

  • Requiring permits to keep bees
  • Requiring permits to sell honey produced by the bees
  • Requiring the owner of the hives to live on the property where the bees are kept
  • Limiting the number of hives
  • Informing neighbors that you have hives
  • Establishing setbacks for hives from property lines
  • Requiring fences with height minimums to create flyaway barriers
  • Restricting location of hives to backyards

Remember to check with your local municipalities for specific Beekeeping Ordinances

Even NPR is "Doing" Their Own Urban Beekeeping

Keeping bees is not limited to access to acreage or vast rural space.  Bees fly.  Recent awareness of honeybee decline have encouraged many to resort to "higher" possibilities.  In European cities, the concept of urban beeekping is no novel idea.  Although relatively new in the US, urban beekeeping and rooftop beehives have been practiced and in place for centuries.

'Bees will be bees!'

There is much to be learned from an iconic national media source when they experience their own hives swarm.  From atop the NPR buildings, one of the two hives recently swarmed ...

Beekeeper Jeff Miller checks the hives on NPR's green roof in 2013. Becky Lettenberger/NPR

May 6, 2017 ... "A swarm of bees from one of the two hives atop NPR headquarters buzzed over the streets as they followed their queen out of their hive to some new location, which is unknown at this time. Queen bees apparently get restless and strike out on their own, like teenagers, followed by a swarm." For the full story, read here ...

Stephen Repasky - Communal/Urban Beekeeping in the Pittsburgh Area

 Stephen Repasky, with Meadow Sweet Apiaries, visited the Holland Area Beekeepers and spoke on Urban Beekeeping, and his experiences - and challenges - of setting up community hives in the urban areas of Pittsburgh.  It was quite an inspiration to hear what an active community has been built by their common passion and interest.  The project has become quite the buzz.  For a glimpse into Steve's adventure, here's the Portrait of an Urban Beekeeper: