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House passes bill to let Hoosiers with HOAs keep bees

John and Ann Wynn remove a frame out of a beehive in North Salem, 2021.
Carly Whitmore, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
/
Flickr
John and Ann Wynn remove a frame out of a beehive in North Salem, 2021.

A city or town in Indiana can’t prevent residents from beekeeping — but homeowners associations still can. A state House bill, HB 1337, aims to change that.

Under the bill, HOAs wouldn’t be able to keep people from having beehives as long as they’re actively maintained for honey and adhere to other Indiana laws.

Ryan Lewis moved to the town of Leo-Cedarville outside of Fort Wayne with the hope of beekeeping with his family. He said nothing in the HOA documents he received said he couldn’t keep bees and all his neighbors were OK with it. Still, his HOA rejected his request.

“They called the bees a livestock and they denied me because it was an ‘offensive or noxious activity.’ So our bees have to be somewhere else until they can approve it," Lewis said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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HOAs would still get a say under the bill, said its author Rep. Karen Engleman (R-Georgetown).

“They can still make rules and say how many active beehives a person may maintain, the location of the beehives," she said.

Engleman said honey bees are important because they pollinate Indiana’s crops.

The bill passed the House and now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.