89-year-old Michigan Beekeeper May Lose his Hives After Neighbor Complaints

WNEM/Video screen capture

John Bacon is a World War II veteran who survived an 89-day, 600-mile march to a prison camp. He's also a beekeeper who sells honey out of his home. His beehives have come under attack after neighbors complained to the city of Auburn, Michigan.

The city has an ordinance against keeping bees in city limits, but Bacon was grandfathered in since he'd been keeping bees at his house since the 1950s before the ordinance was passed.

Although, that could all change when the city leaders meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17. There they'll decide what steps, if any, the city will take against the beekeeper that turns 90 this month.

According to the Michigan Live story, there have been no complaints filed against Bacon’s bees in all the years he’s lived at the home. His perfect record ended this year after the city received two of them.

One of the two complaining neighbors lives a few houses down from Bacon and claims to have been stung six times this summer. But it's not clear if the neighbor was stung by bees or wasps--which are regularly confused for bees, and are the more aggressive of the two.

Watch the Segment on John Bacon's Bees

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It is pretty clear that Bacon has the support of the majority of his neighbors, that his bees are usually minding their own beeswax, and do not pose a danger to anyone.

Unlike other urban agriculture stories TreeHugger has covered in the past, this one may not have an unhappy ending.

There's a rebellion brewing in support of Bacon. He has the support of Nels Larson, the organizer of the Walleyes for Warriors veterans fishing tournament, and other veterans in Michigan who have been calling to express support, and some even plan on attending the Auburn City Commission meeting.

I hope a compromised is reached, like placing a fence in front of the hives to redirect the bees' flight path, which allows Bacon to keep his two beehives. A man who served his country and experienced what he did should be able to live out his twilight years with two beehives in his yard if he so pleases.

While it seems like the veterans got this, If you'd like to politely express support for Mr. Bacon, the phone and fax numbers for the City of Auburn are right on their homepage.

Tags: Agriculture | Bees | Honey | Michigan

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