A San Ramon beekeeper may have to move his hive, after a decision from San Ramon's policy committee.
As things stand, beekeeping is allowed in the city, if the homeowner has at least an acre of land.
But a resident of south San Ramon asked the policy committee last week to consider changing the requirement, which was adopted last year, to allow bees on a smaller parcel.
Bees -- along with chickens and even goats -- are part of a recent trend, according to Steve Gentry, the owner of Steve's Bees in Orinda.
"I call them chicken laws," Gentry said of recent moves in some Bay Area cities allowing for them. He knows of a number of people keeping bees in San Ramon, many of them unnoticed by their neighbors.
He said keeping bees and keeping nearby property owners safe is part of being a responsible beekeeper.
"I know people who have a small yard and know how to keep bees. I know people with a large yard that don't know how to keep bees. It all depends on the beekeeper," Gentry said.
Gentry may be a familiar face to those who attend the San Ramon farmer's market. He's usually out there on Saturdays, often with a hive of live bees.
He acknowledged that many people are afraid of bees. Some worry about those allergic to stings, but Gentry said those with allergies are just a small part of the population. He said about 1.5% of people are allergic to bee stings, but most people never even notice if someone has a hive nearby.
Beyond that, Gentry said, any yard with flowers is going to get a proportional number of bees, whether they're from hives or from the wild.
"There are never any more bees than there are flowers," he said.
And he said a responsible beekeeper can use things such as a tall wall to protect their neighbors.
"If bees have to go over a high fence, an eight-foot fence, they'll just be going over your head," Gentry said.
San Ramon's policy committee -- which is two members of City Council, Phil O'Loane and Vice Mayor Dave Hudson -- asked for some information about some of the other cities that permit it.
If they decide smaller parcels for bees are appropriate, they'll forward the idea to the full city council for consideration.
Gentry said he has a beehive built into his back deck, and has used the hive, which is bounded by shrubbery to keep the bees from entering from the sides, as a table when he's had friends over for drinks.