San Diego area newbie

I got interested in beekeeping right when I saw a video of the Flow hive. In my excitement I may have purchased a Flow hive too soon. I live in Chula Vista and finally got around to the codes on beekeeping in this city and to my dismay they say your hive has to be 600 feet away from any residential buildings! I have a decent sized backyard that leads into a canyon but doesn’t fit these requirements… So do I just got to call it quits? Under this code backyard hives can’t really be a thing I guess. I see on here lots of experienced SD beekeepers.

Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness… maybe @Dawn_SD can shed some light.


Hi @Cody, welcome to the Flow forum! :wink:

I am within San Diego city (not Chula Vista), so my regulations will be different from yours, but I think the maximum we are required to have is for the hive to be 16 feet from the property boundary.

I would suggest contacting Jaime Garza, who is the San Diego County Bee Inspector. Really nice guy, I have met him several times and he is very reasonable and approachable (and young, but then most people are young to me these days! :blush: ) I would ask him a “hypothetical” question about if somebody was wishing to keep bees in Chula Vista, what would the regulations be? This is their current web site:

This is the last e-mail address I had for him, but it may have changed -

You could also join the San Diego Beekeeping Society (SDBS) and ask around there (hypothetically, of course). Jaime is often at their meetings in Balboa Park too.

As @chau06 has sort of implied, unless you have hostile neighbors, you are unlikely to run afoul of the enforcement team. If you are considerate and responsible, nobody may even know that you have bees. I registered my hives and in the early years, I contacted Jaime frequently for advice, as I have several hostile neighbors. You may choose a different path if your neighbors are friendly and supportive. :wink:


Thank you for the timely responses. I’ve seen your knowledgeable posts on here and was hoping you would reply given I saw you were from San Diego. I sent an email to the contact you shared in as much a hypothetical way possible while still seeming natural. I understand if I end up doing this “under the table” than I shouldn’t really be going around asking about it :sweat_smile: . I don’t know if I’ll go down that route though. My neighbors are friendly enough, I don’t see them filing a complaint unless someone has a bee allergy I don’t know about. I’m pretty sure I’m not mistaken about the code in this part of town unfortunately, though why its so excessive I don’t know. I can even set it up further down this canyon that’s part of our property but knowing I can be told to get rid of it at some point isn’t an encouraging thought.

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If such neighbors do have a severe allergy (I am a physician, so I looked into this), and they want to limit beekeeping activity around them, they also have to file with the City as a vulnerable person (at least as far as San Diego is concerned). There are increased distances required for people with medically-certified bee allergies, but the City is quite stringent in making sure that the allergic person is truly that allergic. Generally the City is on the side of beekeepers, especially if they are responsible people.