New law makes beekeeping more accessible for Hoosiers


VIGO Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) Perry Riley and his wife have been keeping bees for over a decade.

“Well, she wanted one hive, and we got one off on a neighbor, and we got interested in it. So we thought we’d try another and we ended up with sixty-five,” he said.

Of those sixty-five, Riley now has over ten that he raises on his forty-acre land in Vigo County. He does so without chemicals.

“You don’t need chemicals to raise bees because chemicals kill bees. You’ve got to have a proper hive and you got to learn how to treat them,” he added.

Senate Enrolled Act 529 says beekeeping can no longer be prohibited on property that a person owns, rents, or leases.

Additionally, Terre Haute recently passed an ordinance allowing beekeeping. This made it possible for one resident to start two hives in his backyard.

“My interest in beekeeping mostly started as fascination and curiosity. I randomly came across something on YouTube about it,” said Chris Thompson.

The new law says beekeeping can be regulated by the amount of hives on a property. But Thompson says that can be avoided.

“A good beekeeper needs to monitor the activity of the hive and know when to turn one hive to two hives. If they don’t do that properly, it will swarm and you might have thousands of bees end up in your neighbor’s attic,” he said.

Though beekeeping may not be for everyone, there are ways the community can help keep them alive.

The main thing is to plant things around your house for them to eat,” Riley suggested.

Chris Thompson says it’s also important to not use weed killer in your yard. Both Riley and Thompson say the bees play a huge role in agriculture. Without pollination, crops will not be able to grow.

The Wasbash Valley Bee Club meets Wednesdays at Saint Mary of the Woods.


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