A Lancaster resident won permission from the Village Board to keep honeybees in her backyard following a public hearing Monday night that attracted only supporters of her request.
Betsy Moll, who already keeps bees at a cottage in Wyoming County, wanted to set up a hive at her home on Broadway because she hopes the bees will pollinate her garden and produce ecological benefits.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if it were not important to do,” Moll told the trustees.
All of the speakers at Monday’s hearing said they thought Moll should be allowed to keep bees at her home. The bee backers – including a village resident who has kept bees since 1985 – convinced village trustees, who voted, 5-0, to grant Moll’s request.
“I don’t see any abnormal danger to the community, and [it’s] probably a great thing for the environment,” Trustee William C. Schroeder said prior to the vote.
Moll said she’s heard little opposition to her request to keep bees in her yard since she wrote last month to every resident and business within 300 yards of her property to inform them of her plans.
Moll, a dedicated community volunteer and docent with the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, has kept bees for the past two summers at her cottage on Java Lake. Her positive experience with that hive prompted her to make the request to keep bees at her Lancaster home.
The Village Board set a public hearing, and Moll came prepared with an email of support from a Cornell University bee expert and a friend, Barbara Ochterski, who has three hives at her Town of Aurora home.
These and other advocates of urban beekeeping say the hobby, if done properly, is quite safe because bees generally are interested in nectar, not people, and they rarely sting.
“In my estimation, having honeybees is an asset to the neighborhood,” Ochterski said during the hearing.
Joseph Volkenner, who won permission in the mid-1980s to keep bees at his home on Aurora Street, said just one of his neighbors has been stung, and he believes the culprit was a yellow jacket, not one of his bees.
“My hive is 20 feet from where all the kids used to ride their bikes, and walk, and [I] never had a problem,” Volkenner said Monday.
One neighbor had asked Moll not to set up a hive because she is severely allergic to bee stings, but neither she nor any other opponents spoke up Monday. Five people, including Moll, spoke in favor.
After the Village Board meeting, Moll said she plans to set up the hive in April and she hopes to receive her first order of bees in May or June. “I’m very excited about it and very pleased,” she said.
Moll likely will order about one pound of bees. This can add up to about 10,000 bees, though, she said, “It’s hard to count.”