It’s been a passion of his for years, but the owner of two beehives in Akron had no idea he was breaking the law until this week.
“Monday, I came home from work and I had two notices on my door and one was from the health department and one was from animal control,” said Mike Reitenbach.
Reitenbach did a lot of research before buying 60,000 bees and putting them in the backyard of his Akron home. He didn’t do enough research, though, to know, Akron requires a permit to own bees, a permit, he never got.
“They said somebody complained about the bees and I was going to have to get rid of the bees,” he said.
Reitenbach’s neighbors reported the hives to the city after they claim their dogs were stung by his bees.
“They told me since there was a complaint, even if I comply and turn around and apply for the permit, they’re probably going to turn me down.”
Reitenbach says he’s poured thousands of dollars into his bees which have produced 67 pounds of honey this year alone. But Akron, the only city in Summit County to require a bee permit, says Reitenbach isn’t in compliance. The bees need to be several feet from the property border and need to have a constant source of running water, which they don’t.
Reitenbach is just hoping now, the city will show some sympathy and issue a permit so he can continue his favorite hobby.
“I’ve been here all my life, I don’t bother anybody, I’ve got one thing that I like to do and they’re going to try and take it away from me,” he said.
Officials from Summit County and Akron couldn’t be reached in time to comment for this story.