By Charlie Sommers for SUST 240
A couple of residents in the West Dundee community began to push for the right to keep honeybees in their backyards. West Dundee already allows for its residents to have chickens on their property, but to officials bees seemed like a whole new extreme. Officials feared the spread of the bees into the community and the fact that a single bee hive could be as large as 50,000 bees. Unlike chickens, bees do not stay in the back yard, but instead they travel around the community and pollinate, which from a sustainability standpoint is not such a bad thing after all.
Daniel Wilbrandt, an official in West Dundee who voted against the beekeeping proposal, had this to say in the October 1, 2013, Chicago Tribune article, “West Dundee Allows Backyard Beekeeping”: “The natural instinct for a lot of men and women and children is to swat at a bee. Sometimes if people have allergies, it only takes one sting.” He is right about the potential dangers of the honeybees for those with severe allergies, but it seems like the bees are more interested in pollinating and benefiting the environment then they are in attacking people. The voters decided the good outweighed the bad and the bill was passed in favor of the bees by a 4 to 3 vote.
The Chicagoland area has seen a drop in honeybee populations in recent years and officials who voted in favor of the honeybee ordinance realized that lifting the ban would help address the national honeybee shortage, increase plant pollination in the community, and contribute to the area’s overall sustainability efforts, particularly in terms of biodiversity.
According to Lenore T. Adkin’s Chicago Tribune article, those who want bees in their yard need to follow strict rules such as posting a small sign on the property alerting others to the presence of bees and keeping convenient sources of water on site to keep the bees from leaving the property in search of water. I feel like as long as West Dundee sets up proper rules and regulations, which they already have in place, then there should be no danger. Honeybees will only bring benefits to the environment and the community. The bees will also produce honey which can be sold locally and used by residents. It is good to see people in the Chicago area making decisions that are in favor of sustainability and not personal convenience.
Each week during the Fall 2013 semester, students in the SUST 240 Waste online/Schaumburg class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.