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  Beekeeping in Richmond
March 26, 2011

In response to “TOM BUTT E-FORUM: Urban Goats - and More, I was asked, “Do you happen to know if there any ordinances that cover backyard beekeeping?’

Photo One


There is in the Richmond Municipal Code the Section 9.24.090 – Permit required for keeping of bees, which states ” It is unlawful for any person to keep bees or maintain an apiary within the City of Richmond without having first obtained from the health department a permit so to do, provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to make unlawful the keeping of bees which are at all times confined within a box, cage or other container for the purpose of observation and study.”

This section (Ordinance 1746) was passed in the 1960s. The City of Richmond does not have a health department, and the Contra Costa County Health services neither requires nor offers permits for bees.

Bottom line, apparently you can keep bees in Richmond as long as they don’t become a nuisance.

By copy of this to the city attorney, I will request that 9.24.090 be agendized for repeal.

However, there may be state laws that govern beekeeping.

Photo TwoThe following is from a 1987 publication, “Beekeeping in California,” which warns the information is dated.

California laws regulating beekeeping are enforced by county agricultural commissioners and provide the basis for an effective apiary inspection program that helps beekeepers protect honey bee colonies from disease, pesticide damage, and theft. Excerpts from the California Agricultural Code relating to bees and apiary inspection can be purchased from: Office Services, California Department of Agriculture, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 445-8164. Beekeeping in some localities is also governed by city or county ordinances. Beekeepers should consult local authorities about this.
Apiary registration.All apiaries must be registered each January with the agricultural commissioner of the county in which the colonies are located. Registration fee is $10 and involves listing the location of each apiary and the number of colonies at each location. Newly acquired apiaries and apiaries brought from out of state must be registered within 30 days of establishment.
Apiary movements and identification. Details of laws pertaining to movement and identificationof apiaries can be obtained from county agricultural commissioners or Supervisor of Apiary Projects, California Department of Agriculture, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Apiary assessment. Resident and nonresident beekeepers operating 40 or more colonies in California are required to pay an annual assessment fee on their colonies. The rate has varied for several years, so the Supervisor of Apiary Projects (address above) should be contacted for current rates.


From the website of the Contra Costa county Agricultural Commissioner:

Apiary - Each year all beekeepers in the county are required to register their colonies with the Agricultural Commissioner. This process is designed to be beneficial to beekeepers as well as people who live and work near bee yards. It helps us know where hives are located and helps resolve certain complaints and issues concerning bees in our county. The possibility of Africanized Honeybees entering our county makes it especially important that we know where colonies are being kept. There is $ 10 registration fee. Blank forms are available at our office. If you have been stung multiple times by honeybees or ground nesting wasps, you can possibly get assistance from the Contra Costa County Mosquito and Vector Control Agency at 925-685-9301.