Honeybee Keeping

Backyard beekeeping has become an increasingly popular hobby, and the Village Board passed regulations in 11-2013 to ensure that best practices are used by beekeepers in the Village. This page will give you all the information that you need to keep honeybees in Skokie. Please click here to view a copy of the Village Ordinance regulating beekeeping in Skokie.
Image of a honeybee on a tree

General Information on Keeping Honeybees


  • Honeybees may only be located in residential districts with detached residences occupied by the beekeeper, or similar property with the written permission of the owner
  • Two properties with honeybees may not exist within six hundred feet of each other
  • Beekeeping is not permitted on rooftops or balconies
  • A maximum of five honeybee colonies are allowed on each property
  • Beekeepers must monitor and maintain their honeybees so as not to become a nuisance. View the Illinois State Beekeepers Association Recommended Best Practices.
  • You must obtain a Beekeeping Permit (PDF) from the Health Department to keep honeybees

Applying for a Beekeeping Permit


The following items are needed to complete a Beekeeping Permit Application (PDF).
  • A scaled site plan of the proposed apiary. An "apiary" means the beehive, honeybees, equipment, and the surrounding fencing and flyway. View an Example Site Plan Template (PDF).
  • A Certificate of Insurance from the property owner's homeowner's insurance company verifying that beekeeping is covered by the insurance policy.
  • Documentation of completion of an approved introductory beekeeping course.
  • Written Consent Forms (PDF) from all neighbors on residential properties that abut the property with the proposed apiary location. Notification is not required for renewals.
  • A properly executed "hold harmless agreement" with the Village
  • Payment of a $125 nonrefundable initial permit fee
  • Permits are valid for one year and require a renewal fee of $50

Registration


Once the apiary is established, beekeepers must register their beehive(s) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Two inspections will be conducted each year by the Skokie Health Department. Beekeepers must have their beehives inspected by the State of Illinois Apiary Inspector at least every other year. Beekeeping permits are not transferable, and penalties exist for failure to comply with the ordinance requirements.

Apiary Specifications


The following are specifications for constructing an apiary in Skokie. View an Example Site Plan  with Apiary (PDF).
  • Apiaries may only be located in a rear yard, with specific setbacks from the property line.
  • Honeybees must be kept in Langstroth Type beehives with removable combs.
  • There must be a convenient source of water available within ten feet of the beehive during the honeybees' active months.
  • Apiaries shall be enclosed on all sides by a fence five feet in height and at least three feet from the beehive on all sides.
  • The Apiary entrance shall have a gate with a locked latch.
  • Each beehive entrance must have a flyway barrier at least six feet in height and extending four feet wide, which directs the honeybees upwards as they exit the beehive.
  • A weatherproof sign (ten inch by twelve inch) must be posted on all lot lines facing abutting properties and on the apiary fence outside of the latched gate with the statement, "State Registered Beehive(s) on Property" or similar language.