OSSINING, N.Y. -- A new law in Ossining is the bee's knees.
The Ossining Village Board recently unanimously overrode a long-standing ordinance against beekeeping within the village.
Dominican Sisters of Hope in Ossining, who aimed to practice beekeeping at Mariandale Retreat on North Highland Avenue, were a major proponent of the new law .
“I am very excited and extremely grateful that the village trustees voted for the bees’ sake,” said Sister Bette Ann. “We are planting for the pollinators here and hope to attract monarch butterflies as well as bees. We plan to tend our own bees as part of creating a sustainable and hospitable environment.
Bees are essential part of the ecosystem, vital to maintaining healthy plants and ensuring full harvests for a wide variety of crops. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, approximately one third of all food consumed in the U.S. is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination. Roughly 75 percent of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators such as bees to survive.
Under the Village Code, bee colonies must be kept in appropriately sized, designed and well-maintained apiaries with removable frames. Each beehive is to be labeled with the beekeeper’s contact information as well as an alternate qualified emergency contact.
Mayor Bill Hanauer said this would benefit residents of Ossining.
"Halting the extinction of honey bees — perhaps our most important pollinator, — will guarantee the growth of crops, so crucial to survival of mankind," Hanauer said. "The measures required in the law make beekeeping benign, keeping the bees and the population safe.
Trustee Victoria Gearity said she was proud to create the first beekeeping law of its kind in Westchester .
"This was a collaborative process engaging community members, area beekeepers, and village employees," Gearity said. "The resulting legislation addresses the health and safety of residents, protects the village from liability, and fosters responsible beekeeping for interested hobbyists.
Trustee Bob Daraio said with honey bees dying out, it was important the village do what it can to protect the bees.
"We have to do what we can to promote increasing the honeybee pollination," Daraio said. We are doing our small part to save the food supply."