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Skokie Rejects Beekeeping Ban

SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) -- Backyard beekeepers may continue their hobby for now in the village of Skokie.

Monday night, the Skokie village board rejected a proposal from its staff to ban backyard beekeeping, and to instead allow people to tend to a "community" apiary, according to village spokeswoman Ann Tennes.

Tennes said the thinking of village staff was that beekeeping is "too intense" to do on lot sizes that tend to be somewhat smaller than other suburbs.

Skokie Rejects Beekeeping Ban

The village board decided the matter needs more study.

92-year-old Evelyn Shavitz, who has one hive with about 50,000 bees, said her neighbors don't mind.

"There's nothing dangerous about them," she said.

Shavitz said one of her favorite pastimes is to sit in her backyard, reading right in between the beehive and the plants they fly to to pollinate. She said she's never been stung by a honeybee.

"The secret to being around bees is just to be calm," she said.

Her son introduced her to the hobby a couple of years ago, thinking she'd enjoy it, and she said she does.

As for those who are afraid of the bees, and would not like them on private property in hive-like numbers, Shavitz said she can understand their fear, but she said education about bees is the best way to alleviate that fear.

The village board did not give a timeframe for studying the beekeeping issue, according to Tennes.

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