So, I am fascinated with backyard vegetable gardening and animal keep these days. Having found out that my lot is too small to keep chickens, I am very happy to report that it seems I am allowed to keep up to 4 hives of bees on my 0.125 acre lot!
Beekeeping is a time honored tradition running back to before 2422 BCE according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beekeeping.) As part of the urban gardening renaissance, beekeeping will likely make a comeback in urban areas, including Northern Virginia (well, not according to a 2005 article in the Washington Post…) Over the last few years I have run into people keeping bees in their backyard quite a few times and always wondered how that could be legal.
So, why a beehive? Well, it seems like a great idea as it helps pollinate flowers and fruit in the area – in return you may get lovely delicious honey (which brings me to another topic for a future blog entry – where did all the fruit trees in suburbia go?)
So, the rules!!!
The keeping of honeybees in four (4) beehives or less shall be allowed
as an accessory use on any lot. On any lot of 10,000 square feet in size
or larger, more than four (4) beehives may be kept, provided there is an
additional lot area of 2500 square feet for each hive. In all instances,
there shall be one (1) adequate and accessible water source provided on
site and located within fifty (50) feet of the beehive(s). In addition,
if the landing platform of a hive faces and is within ten (10) feet of
any lot line, there shall be a flight path barrier, consisting of a
fence, structure or plantings not less than six (6) feet in height,
located in front of the hive.
Alexandria and Arlington
No specific rules supposedly. If you stay below the radar you may be ok?
Prince William County
Supposedly the same as Fairfax County according to this article.
Now, I do not know if HOA rules will supersede this. The Prince William County article says you can keep bees HOA restrictions non-withstanding. Not sure if that is true or if it applies to other jurisdictions.
If you are interested in beekeeping, check out the local beekeeping association at http://www.beekeepersnova.org . Now, go get that Langstroth hive!