License to Own, Keep and/or Habor Honeybees

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Any person who owns, keeps or harbors honeybees in the City of La Crosse shall obtain a license prior to January 1 of the first year or within 30 days of acquiring the bees.

License Period

The term year of a license commences on January 1 of the year of application and ends December 31 of the fifth year of the licensure period. Residents deciding to own, keep and/or harbor honeybees for successive years must obtain a new license for each five (5) year term.

License Fee

A non-refundable license fee of $25.00 is due at the time of application filing (cash, check payable to City Treasurer or credit with convenience fee).

How to Apply

Applications shall be made in writing on the form prescribed by law and filed with the City Clerk's Office.

The application must contain a scale drawing showing property lines, location of apiary and distance from any primary buildings on abutting lots and distance from any public sidewalk(s) and, if required pursuant to Sec. 6-18(c)(1), detailed information of a flyway barrier.

First time applicants must receive written approval from not less than 50 percent of the owner-occupied neighboring property owners whose property is within 100 feet of the applicant's property lines prior to approval of said license by the Common Council. If applicant fails to obtain written consent, the license shall only be granted by an affirmative supermajority vote of 3/4ths of the Common Council. The City Clerk shall notify the neighboring property owners via mail of the opportunity to object no less than five (5) business days prior to the Judiciary & Administration Committee meeting. *Contact City Clerk at 789-7510 to obtain list of property owners within 100 feet.

Filing Deadline

Applications received by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday following the second Thursday of the month will be submitted to and considered by the Common Council at their next regularly scheduled meeting. Renewal applications will be considered by the Judiciary & Administration Committee only.

Additional Information

  • Location: The apiary shall be located in the rear yard or side yard at least twenty-five (25) feet from primary buildings on abutting lots and ten (10) feet from public sidewalks.

  • Flyway Barrier: If a colony is kept less than twenty-five (25) feet from a property line of the lot upon which the apiary is located, and any entrances to the hive face that lot line, a flyway barrier shall be established and maintained pursuant to Sec. 6-18(c).

  • Colony Density: No person is permitted to keep more than two (2) colonies on any lot, except on lots of five (5) acres or more where no more than four (4) colonies may be kept.

  • Liability: Beekeeper shall assume any and all liability for their bees and are advised to secure the appropriate insurance.

  • Maintenance: Beekeeper shall maintain beekeeping equipment in good condition and will have 30 days from the date of any complaint to bring the hive(s) into compliance.

  • Revocation: The City may revoke a license if there are three (3) or more violations within any consecutive 24-month period.

For additional information including Unlawful Conduct and Standards of Practice, refer to Sec. 6-18 of the La Crosse Municipal Code.


For more information, contact the City Clerk's Office at (608) 789-7510.

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