July 18th, 2013 4:30 pm | Andrea Damewood News | Posted In: Activism, Environment, PDX News, Housing

Colony of 240,000 Bees in Northeast Portland Are Evicted Again

Tags: bees

LaTisha Strickland's 240,000 bees are looking for a new home. Again.

Strickland, who lives in a rental property in Northeast Portland, keeps five hives in her backyard and has for three years without problems. WW first reported that her bees got the boot on July 3, with Fox Property Management company telling her they must go due to a neighbor complaint.

The heat of summer makes it the worst time to move bees, Strickland says, and thousands of them are likely to be killed—particularly troubling after June's mass bumblebee die-off in Wilsonville and declining bee populations around the U.S.

After a story from WW and coverage from KOIN, Strickland got a reprieve of sorts. On July 8, she said that a representative from Fox came to visit and learn about the hives.

But the honeybees are still being told to buzz off. Now, Strickland says, she has until the end of the month to move them.

"To keep the interior brood nest at the proper temperature many of the bees in the hive 'beard' or hang onto the outside of the hive to help regulate the interior temperature," she explains. "They do this even at night, and I will certainly lose/kill many bees that are bearding by having to move them in the heat."

Spring and fall are the best times to move colonies, she adds.

Now that the decision appears to be final, Strickland says she hopes to change city laws to make Portland a more hospitable place to apiaries.

"There is little a beekeeper can do in PDX to counter a complaint, or create a legal dialogue to come to a compromise with regard to bees because the PDX ordinances are so archaic," she says in an email. "They give the beekeeper essentially no power. It is time for Portland ordinances to come into the current reality of our city - that of urban farms and backyard bees - and create a balanced system for beekeepers and concerned citizens alike!"

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