What's the buzz? A primer on Boston's new beekeeping rules

Nursing worker honeybees on a honeycomb frame from a bees hive at the Marshfield Fair. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Nursing worker honeybees on a honeycomb frame from a bees hive at the Marshfield Fair. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

The Pru glowed green last night as the Celtics’ took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. Game 3 is Wednesday in Dallas (and TD Garden’s away game watch parties are officially sold out).

But first, the news:

If you wanna bee: For $25, residents across Boston can now own a backyard beehive. It’s thanks to a change made to the city’s zoning code last month, which allows wannabe beekeepers in any of Boston’s neighborhoods to purchase a $25 permit to keep beehives on their property. Interested? Here are a few things to know:

  • A little history: For years, beekeeping was regulated under the same ordinances meant for the keeping of livestock like poultry, cows and goats. Because of this designation, it was only allowed in neighborhoods that historically had big butcher shops, like Chinatown, and parts of Southie, Allston-Brighton and the West End. But for most of the city, beekeeping was legally forbidden.
  • Now what? There are still certain restrictions for keeping bees in an urban environment. Residents are limited to five hives. They can’t be in your front yard, and there are several rules around how close they can be to your property line. The hives can also be no larger than six feet tall or 24 cubic feet.
  • How to get started: This 2024 beekeeping season has already started, but you can still prepare for next year. The Boston Area Beekeepers Association offers six-week classes each February, after which beginners are matched with a mentor “to help them get through their first few years”, according to Val Mayo, a Hyde Park resident and president of the association. “Beekeeping can be mentally, physically and financially challenging, so just get ready for that,” Mayo told WBUR’s Stevee Chapman. (According to The Boston Globe, the city also plans to release a beekeeping permit application to make the process easier for residents.)
  • Not ready for a hive, but still want to help bees thrive? Here are WBUR senior environmental correspondent Barbara Moran’s top 15 tips for helping pollinators — including butterflies, too!

Coming in 2025: Boston and Montreal have been selected as the hosts for hockey’s new 4 Nations Face-Off tournament next winter. The NHL announced yesterday that TD Garden will host three games, including the tournament’s championship, from Feb. 17 to Feb. 20.

  • What’s the 4 Nations Face-Off? The new mid-season tournament will replace the NHL’s annual All-Star game in 2025. It will consist of four international teams — Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States — made up of only NHL players.
  • What’s next: NHL players union head (and former Boston mayor) Marty Walsh said players for each team will start to be announced on June 28 — with the full rosters expected by the end of the year.

Construction season: Chelsea’s main downtown drag on Broadway is getting a big makeover, and officials are asking residents to be patient as the multi-year construction project begins today. “This represents one of the biggest improvements in the city, especially in downtown, in the last three decades,” Chelsea city spokesperson Lourdes Alvarez recently told WBUR’s Fausto Menard.

  • What to expect: The first phase of the $20 million project is expected to run through the end of 2025, focusing mostly on underground work (upgrading sewer systems, expanding the city’s fiber optic network and replacing lead water pipes). That, of course, will mean above-ground disruptions, including daytime road closures and occasional water shutoffs for residents and businesses on Broadway. Chelsea officials plan to post updates on the city’s traffic advisory Facebook page and website.
  • What’s next: The project’s second phase will begin in 2026 and continue through 2027. It’ll focus on above-ground upgrades: road, sidewalk and bus stop improvements; a redesign of Bellingham Square; and greenery to address urban heat islands.

P.S.— Our 2024 summer arts guides launch today, bringing you new local music, books and more to explore in the coming months. First up: 14 albums from New England artists to listen to this season.


Headshot of Nik DeCosta-Klipa

Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.


Headshot of Hanna Ali

Hanna Ali Associate Producer
Hanna Ali is an associate producer for newsletters at WBUR.



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