Although New York City reversed its position on urban beekeeping in Spring 2010 and legalized the practice, there are apparently still some government employees with nothing better to do than harass apiarists and their pollinator companions:
The cash-strapped Bloomberg administration has mounted a “sting operation” against city beekeepers — ticketing a Douglaston man an unbelievable $2,000 for not watering his beehive.
“It’s outrageous. It’s difficult to understand how this could happen,” Tip Sempliner said.
And here’s why: there is a beehive waterer a few feet from the hive.
When asked if it’s logical to assume the bees could fly two feet to get the water, Sempliner said, “I don’t know if they’d bother. They could just step out of the hive and fall in the water.”
But that’s not all. Sempliner’s property is right on Little Neck Bay and he has several fresh water ponds nearby, so if the bees don’t like their water dish. There are many other bee-utiful options.
The city has since backed off from giving Sempliner a fine and has instead issued him a warning. But despite this, the fact that the city considers beekeeping a public health threat is beyond stupid: honey bees are simply not dangerous, even when they swarm (provided you don’t try to attack them) due to poor hive management. These bees, in addition to being a fun hobby for some residents, are essentially harmless insects that play a key role in pollination. See here for the honey bees’ greatest hits.
While some people may be kept up at night believing that swarms of urbanized bees will begin chasing down children and the elderly, these fears are based solely on ignorance. Rather than going after beekeepers for not dumping water on hives (bees need access to water, which is why wild hives are often found in tree limbs overhanging bodies of water, but they don’t need to be drowned in it), the city — if anything at all — should be trying to educate the public to assuage the irrational hatred of these noble honey-makers.