- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Dianne DiBlasi did it.
Back in January, we wrote a Bug Squad blog about Dianne DiBlasi’s three-year effort to overturn an Allendale, N.J. ban on backyard beekeeping.
DiBlasi, who leads a group of teen environmentalists known as Team B.E.E.S. (Bergen Environmental Effort to Save Bees) and is a member of the the New Jersey Beekeepers' Association, simply wanted the Allendale Council to remove bees from the city’s list of “banned and dangerous animals” and allow non-commercial beekeepers to keep their bee colonies in their yards.
On Oct. 14, the Allendale Council unanimously voted to lift the bee ban.
This is good news indeed. It shows what one person, with help of her friends and fellow beekeepers, can do to overturn an ordinance that needed overturning.DiBlasi set out to educate the town officials and the community about how vital honey bees are. She pointed out that bees are important pollinators, that they pollinate one-third of the food we eat. She pointed out that bees are in trouble, due to the mysterious malady known as colony collapse disorder, and diseases, parasites, pests, pesticides, malnutrition, and climate changes. She pointed out that bees need our help and one way to help is to plant bee friendly gardens and allow backyard beekeeping.
Of course, the lifting of the bee ban comes with restrictions, such as the number of hives within a certain area. There are also requirements such as notifying the neighbors within 200 feet of any property line (if a neighbor protests, no beekeeping), protecting the area with a fence at least six feet high, licensing the hives with the Allendale officials, registering with the New Jersey apiarist, and the like.
But she did it!
DiBlasi graciously thanked the entire council for their support. "I promise you that you will be amazed at your flower gardens and vegetable gardens. Give me two years."
We suspect it will be a lot less.