Man told to get rid of bees because they are livestock

by: Diana Davis Updated:

CUMMING, Ga.,None - A bee battle is under way after Forsyth County ordered a beekeeper to get rid of his hives.

Channel 2's Diana Davis found out the county said the man's beehives amount to raising livestock.

Honeybees have been part of Nicholas Weaver's life since he was a teenager.

Weaver said a family friend who kept hives got him started.

"Next thing I knew, I had my own hive and it just grew from there," Weaver said.


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He now has thousands of bees in hives kept in the woods of his Cumming backyard.

Though he said he doesn't know of an incident where a neighbor was stung, someone went to the county and filed a complaint. Then a code enforcement officer came out and looked at the hives.

The county said the bees amount to livestock and are not allowed in residential areas.

In a written statement the county said, "The county unified development code defines livestock as domesticated animals for profit or personal use. Based on this, beekeeping is prohibited in residential zoning districts."

The Forsyth County Beekeepers Club said at least 60 county residents keep bees and that the county ban is the result of misinformation.

"I feel like it's a question of education. I don't believe the people who made the decision are aware of just how important honey bees are," beekeeper club president Marc Conlyn said.

Beekeepers claim bees help the environment by pollinating pants and vegetables.

Though honeybees can sting, Weaver said they usually don't, unlike yellow jackets and other species.

"The odds of getting stung are very slim (if) you are just out in your yard or something," Weaver said.

Weaver said he will fight to keep his bees. He said he will go to the county sometime next month and hopes to work with county officials to change the code.