So he’s gone to the Miami County commissioners, in hopes of shortening the setback requirements. Last week, the commissioners asked county attorney Pat Roberts to look into the matter, to see if anything could be done.
Ruble said he doesn’t want to get rid of the rule entirely, but a 300-foot setback would allow him to put the hives where he had them formerly.
“I believe we should have restrictions, like within a city, or around school districts, or soccer fields ... most of it is just common sense,” Ruble said.
Mike Seib, a Mooresville beekeeper who is active in the Central Indiana Beekeepers Association, noted the group has members who keep bees in urban areas of Indianapolis.
“It’s a little bit of an overkill,” Seib said of the Miami County ordinance. “I think 500 feet is a lot more than what’s necessary.”
Seib said that usually when there is a dispute over bees, it’s a case of neighbors not getting along in general.
That may be the case with Ruble and some of his neighbors. Ruble said he’s filed a lawsuit in the past, over a claim that chemical spraying had harmed his bees. And one of the neighbors is allergic to bees, he said.
Still, Ruble said he needs the bees healthy and happy to keep his small farm bountiful. He grows a wide variety of crops, from lettuce, beets and eggplant to blueberries, asparagus and peaches. His bees produced enough honey last year for Ruble to sell 600 pounds of it.
He said he sold all of his honey in 10 days. And he’s hoping to make enough money selling his produce to have a self-sustaining business, if he can get everything sorted out with the county and his neighbors.
“There’s such a demand for local produce these days. Especially up in Rochester, there are so many people who are eating organic food,” Ruble said.
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at email@example.com.