by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals.
Photo: Creative Commons

new york city, bees

Apiarists rejoice! All of those secret, undercover hives you’ve been illegally possessing from Manhattan to Brooklyn can now be shown to the world.

New York City on Tuesday amended a law that labeled bees — along with polar bears and snapping turtles — as wild animals; and therefore illegal to keep in the five boroughs. With Colony Collapse Disorder wreaking havoc on bee populations across the U.S., beekeepers (otherwise known as apiarists) have lobbied to overturn such laws in an effort to get people interested in beekeeping and boosting colonies. The new law allows New Yorkers to keep hives of Apis mellifera, the common, non-aggressive honeybee, at their residence.

As we mentioned earlier, the effort to amend the law also received huge attention from Haagen-Dazs ice cream, which depends on bees to help pollinate more than 50 percent of the brand’s flavors.

“More beekeepers means more honey bees, and that’s what we need right now,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, former president of Apiary Inspectors of America and Haagen-Dazs Bee Board member. “By allowing New York City residents to keep bees without penalty, more people will be encouraged to take up this hobby that’s both rewarding and important for our troubled bee population. Good pollinator health is crucial for all of us.”

With the new law, beekeepers in NYC can avoid penalties that once carried fines of up to $2,000.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Michael Raymer

    Well, any one who knows me knows that I’m as pro-honeybee as the next guy. But my question is, WTF is there to pollinate in NYC? And what kind of flavors does Haagen-Dazs have growing in NYC that they need more bees for.
    I’m not trying to be a wise ass here, but what exactly just got solved?

  • Michael d'Estries


    I believe they’re trying to promote the idea of beekeeping wherever possible. I remember reading somewhere that the average age of beekeepers in the U.S. is 60! So any interest that can be created by amending this law is good for the future of the industry.

  • Rob

    It’s not more bees we need, but native pollinators – extensive bee colonies are a disaster for biodiversity. Lots of other animals feed from flowers and pollinate them in the process, let’s encourage them so we have a healthy robust stock of wildlife.

    Bee keeping is a big no-no as far as I’m concerned, especially for the purposes of gathering honey. See here for info about what’s wrong with it:, and here for ideas about encouraging other kinds of pollinators: