Members of the Leavenworth City Commission met with a bee expert to discuss possible changes in regulations related to beekeeping in the city.

Members of the Leavenworth City Commission met with a bee expert to discuss possible changes in regulations related to beekeeping in the city.

In May, a resident of the city asked commissioners to consider amending regulations to expand where beekeeping is allowed in the city.

Julie Hurley, director of planning and community development for Leavenworth, said Tuesday that current regulations prohibit beekeeping in the city except for large lots, which are mostly located on the west side of the city.

Commissioners met Tuesday with Sharon Dobesh.

Dobesh said she holds a master’s degree in entomology and is working on a doctorate. She previously served as a honeybee specialist at Kansas State University.

Dobesh said hives can have 30,000 to 40,000 bees but only a fraction of them leave the hive to forage.

“Most of the time, bees only travel within two miles of their hive,” she said.

She said bees need water sources. And birdbaths in people’s yards can attract bees.

“There’s different things that can be done to handle those situations,” she said.

She said beekeepers usually keep additional water sources on their properties.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Griswold asked Dobesh about the motivation of people who want to take up beekeeping.

“There’s a lot of reasons for people to keep bees,” Dobesh said.
She said some people may want bees for the honey they produce. She said others may want their gardens pollinated.

Dobesh said there has been an increased interest in beekeeping across the country.

Mayor Jermaine Wilson asked Dobesh if she has seen increases in bee stings in residential areas where hives are kept.

She answered “no.”

Dobesh said local beekeepers can serve as a resource for dealing with bee swarms.

Commissioners were provided information about beekeeping regulations in other cities including Lawrence and Overland Park.

Commissioner Nancy Bauder suggested commissioners may want to look at Leavenworth’s regulations.

“There’s a pollinator group right here in Leavenworth,” she said.

Bauder suggested city officials could consult with this group.

But Commissioner Mark Preisinger said he does not feel any action is required from commissioners, at least for now. He noted that only one person has approached commissioners about the issue. He suggested waiting to see if there is other feedback.

“Let’s sit back and see what we hear from the public,” he said.

The issue was discussed during a study session, and no action was taken.

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