Residential Beekeeping in Adams County
Adams County allows for the keeping of bees as an accessory use with any legal detached, single-family residential use, excluding mobile homes or otherwise regulated by State Law. Standards and specific regulations can be found in Chapter 4, Section 4-22-08, BEEKEEPING, of the Adams County Development Standards and Regulations. These regulations are intended to permit beekeeping for household purposes and not for profit. Download our printed beekeeping guide.
Is there a limit to the number of colonies I can have?
Yes. No more than two (2) bee colonies are permitted per detached, single-family residential use. There shall be only one (1) colony of bees per hive. Two (2) bee colonies shall equal one (1) household pet.
Is fencing required around my beehive?
A flyway barrier constructed at least six (6) feet in height around the structure consisting of a fence or vegetation is required. This barrier forces bees to fly at an elevation of at least six (6) feet above the ground when accessing the hive. All fences and walls more than forty-two (42) inches in height require a building permit and must comply with Section 4-07-01-02-02 (Residential Use Fencing, Walls and Screening).
Where can my beehive be located on my property?
Location: Structures shall be located in the rear or backyard of the lot as determined by the street frontage. They shall not be located between the rear of the dwelling and the front yard lot line.
Orientation: The entrance/exit shall be oriented away from the closest adjacent property line(s).
Setbacks: The structure shall be set back at least fifteen (15) feet from any abutting property line.
Beehive Size: The hive shall not exceed eight (8) square feet.
Are there any bee types that aren’t permitted?
Africanized, hybrid bee species, Apis mellifera scutellata, or bees displaying abnormally aggressive behavior are not permitted. Aggressive queens are not permitted and should be removed, and the colony shall be re-queened with a non-aggressive species.
Where do I start?
A permit, or annual registration, issued by Adams County is required before bees will be allowed on any property (permits are not required in A-1, A-2, and A-3 zones). This registration expires after twelve (12) months and must be renewed every year. The registration/renewal process is free. Adams County may inspect the parcel for which the permit is requested prior to the issuance of a permit. To register for a permit, visit the Adams County E-Permit Center.
What information will I need to register my bees?
Adams County will require owner and applicant information (if applicable), property address, contact information, and a plan or drawing showing the proposed locations of all bee facilities to be located upon the property for which the permit is requested. After submitting your application, you will be required to provide your signature stating you understand the regulations and your site plan demonstrates compliance with the requirements set out in Section 4-22-08-02.
Where can I go to see if there is a permit or violation issued on a specific property?
Use Eye on Adams, an online mapping program, to see if a specific property has been issued a permit or a violation. Properties with any outstanding violations will not be issued a permit and renewals will not be approved.
What happens if Adams County denies or revokes my permit?
The county may deny or revoke a permit if violations or nuisances occur. If a permit has been revoked, denied, or expired, all bee facilities shall be removed within 14 days of such event.
Can I have bees on my property if I live in a Planned Unit Development (PUD) District or have an HOA?
Always contact your HOA/Covenants prior to pursuing permits with Adams County. Check the rules and regulations in your PUD. If bees are not allowed in your PUD, you will not be permitted to have bees on your property.