Over the last three years, more than one in three honeybee colonies collapsed nationwide, a phenomenon now called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. According to the USDA, about one-third of our food is thanks to the work of bees, making CCD one of the broadest environmental and food security challenges of our time. And while there is no one smoking gun causing CCD, scientists now widely agree that it is a result of a combination of factors, made manifest by industrial beekeeping, a practice which involves trucking thousands of hives great distances to pollinate crops, exposing bees to countless pesticides, interfering with the species natural defenses by treating them with miticides and antibiotics, and feeding them high fructose corn syrup. This deadly cocktail has made bees incredibly vulnerable and on the brink of collapse. That is, only if we fail to act, if we fail to recognize this disaster in the making and do not take strong action to counter the slow march to extinction.
Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Spokane, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and most recently Santa Monica and Redondo Beach have all taken decisive action and legalized urban beekeeping.
Los Angeles currently outlaws beekeeping in residential areas, and the city's policy is to exterminate all feral honey bees. With worldwide bee populations threatened with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and urban beekeeping more popular than ever, this policy needs to change. We believe it to be a necessary and just measure requiring immediate action.
Many Neighborhood Councils within Los Angeles (Mar Vista, Del Rey, Greater Griffith Park, South Robertson, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, Atwater Village, West Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Lake Balboa, Chatsworth, Palms...) have already voted in favor of supporting an urban beekeeping program in residentially zoned districts. Help us inspire the City Planning Department to initiate an ordinance that would allow Los Angeles residents to raise their own honeybees, a practice that helps boost struggling honeybee populations and ensures local food security.
Please sign our petition to let the Los Angeles City Council know that this is an important issue that they should move on as soon as possible!
I am writing to ask that you make the legalization of beekeeping and the establishment of a humane bee rescue policy one of your top priorities.
Bees are an essential part of our food system. According to the USDA, bees are responsible for the production of about a third of our diet. In addition, bees are a boon to local gardeners and urban farmers. As you may be aware, honeybees worldwide are in crisis, falling prey to the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder at an alarming rate, making beekeeping a serious food security issue.
Urban beekeeping has been gaining widespread attention especially since the President and First Lady of the United States began keeping two hives on the White House lawn and San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago and most recently Santa Monica and Redondo Beach have all taken decisive action and legalized urban beekeeping.
With all that in mind, I strongly urge you to:
1. Support efforts to: develop a new ordinance which will legalize beekeeping within R1 districts in Los Angeles; improve Bee Rescue policy; create a legal bee yard within the city of Los Angeles that will operate as a secure, temporary holding area for feral honeybee colonies that are awaiting relocation to agricultural zones outside city limits.
2. Change Los Angeles’ current response to feral honeybee swarms (which is extermination), and to allow only live bee removal on city and public property within Los Angeles.
REFERENCE: LA City Council File 12-0785
Thank you for taking the time to consider this globally important issue.