Resident Seeks OK for Bee Hives on RA Land

Bee Hive/Credit: ladele88 via FlickrReston Association might have some new members soon: a couple of hives full of bees.

An RA member has asked for the RA Board’s OK on keeping bees on RA land near the Golf Course Island community gardens off North Shore Road.

RA will discuss the item at its June meeting on Thursday.

RA President Ellen Graves has introduced a motion that the board approve the bee hives and enter into a maintenance covenant agreement with Martha Lappin, the resident who has made the request.

The deal is subject to legal and Design Review Board approval, and there will be a three-hour emergency removal provision. There will also be a provision for a backup beekeeper should Lappin not be available if an emergency arises.

RA says there are already privately maintained hives at Hunters Woods and Golf Course Island gardens, as well as one near Lake Anne’s community garden.

Citizens have been interested in beekeeping in those areas because the declining population of bees has affected the health and survival of many native species of plants, shrubs and trees, Graves’ motion says. More bees mean more pollination of the shrubs and trees.

The existing hives, in place for a number of years, are on the Williams Pipeline Easement and were approved under older license agreements,” says RA.

There have been no reported incidents of bee stings or other problems related to the hives.

The new hives would be managed in coordination with a local Master Bee Keeper. Some safety rules would have to be followed. Among them:

Location: An adequate distance from people and common spaces (25-50 feet radius in all directions) is recommended for the beekeeper to safely open the hive for maintenance. The proposed location for the bee hives is about 400 feet south east of the Golf Course Island Garden Plots along North Shore Drive. The hives will not be visible from the road.

Sun exposure: Colonies should receive a minimum of eight hours of direct, south-facing solar exposure to support the bees’ innate ability to communicate direction and maintain overall mood and health.

Photo: Bee hive/Credit: ladele88 via Flckr.

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