Beekeeper’s beehives can stay but farther away from neighbor’s pool: Report

By Bob Seidenberg/

Northwest Evanston resident Mary Nisi need not remove her beehives, but they should be set farther back on her property – and farther away from the pool of her neighbor, who charged that the bees have dive-bombed her property, stinging guests.

In a 4-0 vote Tuesday, members of Evanston’s Human Services Committee set the terms, ruling on a neighbor’s objection to the city granting Nisi a license to operate an apiary.

Nina Paleologos, Nisi’s next door neighbor on the 3000 block of Grant Street, had brought the objection to the city granting a license in July. Her complaint charged the beekeeper with an inability to manage her beehives.

The committee, which discussed the matter at its Aug. 21 meeting and brought in two outside experts to help resolve the case, ultimately ruled in Nisi’s favor.

“I keep chickens. I don’t know that much about bees,” said Ninth Ward Council Member Juan Geracaris, starting the discussion. “Animals are animals, so it’s hard to tell. You can’t change behavior. They just do what they do. And, so, when you’re keeping them, you try to do your best to promote the right behavior. And it seems like when there was a problem, you folks addressed it,” he told Nisi, sitting with her family in the audience.

The city first brought in an inspector, Jim Wellwood, from the state Department of Agriculture for an inspection, which was conducted on Sept. 12, said Ike Ogbo, the city’s Health and Human Services director.

Some of Nisi’s bees as seen during the Sept. 12 inspection. Credit: Bob Seidenberg

The notes on the state report stated that the “bees are healthy and free from disease; bees are not aggressive; water source has been provided.”

However, because the report focused more on the health of the bees and didn’t address most of the issues brought to the city’s attention by Paleologos in her complaint, committee members, on Ogbo’s advice, tabled action on that report and supported inviting another inspector.

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