8 Michigan Cities That Allow Backyard Beekeeping

honey bees

Backyard beekeeping in Michigan is not regulated at the state level, but rather at the local level. This means that the ability to keep bees in your backyard in the Wolverine State depends on your specific location and its zoning laws. Backyard beekeeping is typically restricted in residential neighborhoods. Therefore, before establishing a beehive in your backyard, it is recommended to review your local zoning regulations. To provide some examples, I have compiled a list of a few Michigan municipalities that allow backyard beekeeping.


The City of Detroit allows residents to keep a maximum of two honeybee hives on their residential lots as an accessory use, but beekeeping sites must be licensed. Hives are also permitted on rooftops. According to the City's Animal Keeping Ordinance, honeybees must be kept 25 feet away from the property line if no flyway barrier is present, and 5 feet away from any perimeter property line if a flyway barrier is in place. The flyway barrier must be at least 6 feet tall.

Grand Rapids

Backyard beekeeping is permitted within the city limits of Grand Rapids. However, there are specific proximity requirements that must be adhered to, which can make it challenging to maintain bee hives. According to Section 9.212 of the Grand Rapids Code, bee hives must be situated at a distance of more than one hundred fifty feet from any residence, hospital, sanitarium, school, church, office building, store, hotel, apartment house, rooming house, or any other place of habitation. Additionally, bee hives must be positioned no less than one hundred feet from your own property line.

Ann Arbor

Residents of Ann Arbor are prohibited from maintaining an apiary with more than two stands or hives of bees in their backyard. Violation of this ordinance will result in a civil infraction, with a fine not exceeding $500.


The City of Flint permits the keeping of bees as an accessory use to a single-family residence or community garden, subject to specific conditions outlined in City Ordinance No. 220225. A maximum of two hives are allowed, with each hive limited to 20 cubic feet in size. Bee colonies must be housed in hives with removable frames that are maintained in good working condition. Hives must be positioned at least 10 feet away from rear and side lot lines, and at least 25 feet away from any neighboring dwelling. Adequate water supply must be provided for all hives. The City prohibits the keeping of Africanized bees.

Garden City

If you live in Garden City, MI, you are permitted to keep bees in your backyard if your property is larger than one-quarter acre. According to Garden City Code, hives and colonies must be situated at least 60 feet away from any lot line and at least 150 feet away from hospitals, public eateries, offices, or schools. Additionally, you must provide a suitable water source for your bees to prevent them from congregating at neighboring properties' water sources, such as swimming pools, pet watering bowls, or bird baths, which could lead to contact with humans, birds, or domestic pets.


Beekeeping is permitted within the city of Kentwood, subject to review and approval by the Zoning Administrator. However, approval may be denied if the Zoning Administrator determines that beekeeping would result in a nuisance, such as odor, noise, or any other disruptive factors.

Battle Creek

The City of Battle Creek permits the keeping of honey bees, with specific regulations in place. According to the city's Urban Livestock Draft, beehives must be located in the rear yard and at least 50 feet away from any neighboring property lines. Each hive is limited to a maximum size of 20 cubic feet. Additionally, a continuous water supply must be available for all hives.

Bay City

If you live in Bay City, MI, you must adhere to the City Code regulations when it comes to keeping honey bees on your property. Prior to establishing hives, you are obligated to obtain a permit from the city clerk. The permit application must include written consent from a majority of neighboring property owners. Under the permit, you are limited to maintaining no more than two hives. Additionally, the primary use of the property must be as an owner-occupied single-family dwelling.

Furthermore, you must ensure that a convenient source of water is provided for the bees at all times throughout the year. This is to prevent the bees from congregating at swimming pools, pet watering bowls, bird baths, or other water sources that may lead to potential contact with humans, birds, or domestic pets.


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