University of California
Beekeeping in San Diego County

Sensitive Sites

To reduce the safety risks while promoting beekeeping, the beekeeping ordinance in San Diego County requires beehives to be placed further away from areas that people or animals frequent.

A sensitive site is identified as a location where at-risk people such as the elderly, physically challenged, small children, residents with a documented allergy to bee stings or animals that are confined or with limited mobility inhabit or frequent.

There are areas that are automatically designated as sensitive sites. These include: schools, playgrounds, picnic areas, outdoor sports facilities, day care centers, senior care facilities, medical facilities, kennels, and horse-boarding facilities.

To Opt-in:

Other areas may apply to opt-in as a sensitive site. Those areas include persons with medical reasons, or businesses where bees could cause a nuisance during work activities. To be designated as a sensitive site, a person must fill out a sensitive site application and submit it to the County of San Diego, Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures. Brochure: Sensitive Sites for Apiaries: What are they?

Download Sensitive Site Opt-In Application

For beekeepers:

The setback distance for hives from a sensitive site depends on the number of hives at that location. As a beekeeper, be aware that at any time a sensitive site could be designated in your area. You will be notified in writing and be required to move your hive(s) to the required setback distance.

Tier A: 150 ft or further

Tier B: (3-10 hives) 150 ft or further

Tier B: (11-20 hives) 300 ft or further

Tier C: 450 ft or further

This site provides education and outreach to the public and beekeepers to protect public safety within San Diego County in response to the the new apiary ordinance. The site has been developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension - Farm and Home Advisers Office in San Diego County with support from the San Diego County - Agriculture, Weights, and Measures Office.

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