Honey Beekeeping


Elgin City Council approved regulations for honey beekeeping within City limits to begin January 1, 2018. Those interested must meet certain criteria set forth in the ordinance, obtain a City-issued permit and have an inspection completed by the Elgin Community Development Department. In addition, all hives must be registered with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. If you are interested in honey beekeeping, please read and follow the instructions below.

Do you want to keep honey bees?


To acquire a honey beekeeping permit, you must work with City of Elgin community development staff to make sure your property meets the minimum requirements. You will also be required to submit plans for your apiary, showing apiary component (hive, water source, fence and sign if applicable) locations on a plat of survey and have an inspection completed. Review the regulation summary and the complete ordinance below before bringing plans to the Community Development permit desk, located within City Hall at 150 Dexter Court.

Regulation Summary

  • A city-issued honey beekeeping permit ($65 fee) must be obtained prior to constructing apiary and a final building inspection approval is required prior to obtaining honey bees.
  • Two hives maximum for properties under one-quarter of an acre; Four hives maximum for properties over one-quarter acre; Eight hives maximum for properties greater than one acre zoned in the Community Facility Zoning District.
  • Hives must be placed in the rear yard or on a roof, 10 feet from all property lines, and 25 feet from occupied structures other than that of the prospective beekeeper.
  • Multifamily dwellings are prohibited.
  • A water source must be placed within 10 feet from hives.
  • If hives are placed within 20 feet of a property line, a six-foot flyway barrier/fence is required.
  • A sign announcing "Bees on Premise," no larger than two square feet, must be posted to walkway or gate area entrance(s) to the rear yard. *Not required for rooftop hives.
  • Following inspection approval and obtaining hives, resident must register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture

Additional information:

Click here to view the complete ordinance.

There is a $65 permit application fee paid at the time that the permit is issued.

Questions? Dial 3-1-1 to speak with a citizen advocate (in Elgin) or 847-931-6001 (outside of Elgin).