Leland residents buzzing about proposed bee ordinance

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A sticky situation is developing in the Waterford neighborhood of Leland where neighbors are trying to put a bug in the ear of councilmembers about the pros-and-cons of beekeeping.

“I have two hives and at this time of the year there’s probably about 50,000 tops,” said beekeeper John Baum.

In April 2013 John Baum took up the hobby of beekeeping. Baum admits he didn’t ask for his neighbors’ permission, but he says they all kept swarming by his house asking the same question.

“The first thing they asked was ‘when are we going to get some honey,’” said Baum.

But at the October Leland Town Council meeting Baum says he was stung by two of his neighbors who expressed concerns over the hives.

“My wife is extremely allergic to bees,” said one Waterford resident. “She cannot take any medicine to counter act any reaction once it starts.”

“I’ve got two dogs and if they get stung I’m going to have to rush them into Wilmington to the 24-hour hospital because all of the vets are closed at night,” said Edward Cohen.

To try and come to an amicable agreement the town council is now considering an ordinance, but bee hobbyists say that it would behoove their opposition to do a little research first.

“Honey bees are very docile,” said Baum. “You could basically stick your hand in a hive at times and they’ll just crawl all over you. I’ve heard more reports about dog bites and animal bites than anybody being stung. People are allergic and they have epi-pens. People are allergic to peanuts, and people are allergic to shellfish, but they still go out to restaurants.”

“These honey bees are very tame,” said Donna Armiger, who is allergic to bees. “I go to John and Vicky’s house all of the time, many times by myself to feed their cat, and I’m not afraid of going over there at all.”

The Leland Town council made no decision on a proposed ordinance on Thursday night instead deciding to wait until the January meeting so they could gather more information on the subject.

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