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What to know before considering beekeeping in Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls residents can now keep beehives on their property. The beekeeping ordinance went...
Sioux Falls residents can now keep beehives on their property. The beekeeping ordinance went into effect a year ago. So far only one person has applied for a permit, but the hobby of beekeeping is growing.(KSFY)
Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Sioux Falls residents can now keep beehives on their property. The beekeeping ordinance went into effect a year ago. So far only one person has applied for a permit, but the hobby of beekeeping is growing. Animal control expects more people to show interest this spring.

“Beekeeping is all about the synergy of science and art and I just think it’s a wonderful dance of people intellectually and spiritually and emotionally and bees are just remarkable creatures,” said Tim Olsen, President of the Northwest Iowa Beekeepers Association.

He says bees are an important part of our ecosystem.

“The purpose is pollination, about a third of the world’s food supply is pollinated by bees, honey bees,” said Olsen.

“But for the homeowner, I think part of it is pollination of gardens and flowers. There’s always the wonderful harvest of honey.”

Those interested in keeping bees on their property in Sioux Falls must first apply for a permit with animal control.

“The permit process involves that person having to go through a beekeeping class that’s approved by the city,” said Julie DeJong, Sioux Falls Animal Control Supervisor.

“And those are available online now. So that might be a little bit simpler for them now, than last year during the COVID pandemic.”

You also need to live in a specific zone of the city and must first get approval from neighbors. Olsen says this step could be difficult as some people have misconceptions about honey bees. Some get them confused with yellow jackets and wasps.

“Bees do not attack folks. Typically when people get stung it’s a bee and human being running into each other and the bees’ automatic defense mechanism is to sting,” said Olsen.

“What often happens is who gets stung primarily is beekeepers because anytime you get into the colony, you’re breaking into their home and sometimes they get defensive.”

Keep in mind that beekeeping can be an investment.

“About $1000 per colony to get started. You’re looking at the hive boxes and the frames and all the equipment that goes with it. But right now because so many people are beekeeping, actually the price of purchasing bees has skyrocketed,” said Olsen.

Olsen says anyone who’s thinking about beekeeping needs to start soon because there’s a shortage of honey bees due to the winter storm in Texas.

If you’re interested in applying for a permit, you can contact Sioux Falls Animal Control at 605-367-7000. They can help walk you through the process and make sure you meet all the requirements.

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