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Obtaining a City of Madison Beekeeping License

How to Get a City of Madison Beekeeping License

  1. Notify others that you will be keeping honey bees on the property.  If you plan to keep honeybees in the City of Madison, please talk to your neighbors ahead of time. When you do, explain the behavior and benefits of beekeeping. By following best practices, you can avoid creating problems for your neighbors. With planning, you can have beehives near homes, gardens, and other recreational places. You are responsible for monitoring your bees on a regular basis. Regular monitoring helps keep the hive healthy. It also helps make sure you are not creating a nuisance for others. Limit your beekeeping activities to times of day that will not hinder your neighbors' use of their property. 

If the property has multiple units, notify the owner and all the residents of the property.

  1. Complete the Honeybee License Application (PDF) and submit to the City Treasurer's Office.
  • Application
  • License Fee of $10 

    City Treasurer's Office 
    Room 107, City-County Building 
    210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    Madison, WI  53703-3342 
    TEL: (608) 266-4771

Note: You must get a honeybee license annually. Get your license before April 1 of each year, or within 30 days of acquiring honey bees. 

Supplemental Regulations fo the Keeping of Honey Bees

  • Except as provided in sub. (i) below, no more than six (6) hives may be located on a zoning lot.
  • No hive shall exceed twenty (20) cubic feet in volume.
  • No hive shall be located closer than three (3) feet from any property line.
  • No hive shall be located closer than ten (10) feet from a public sidewalk or twenty-five (25) feet from a principal building on an adjoining lot.
  • A constant supply of water shall be provided for all hives.
  • A flyway barrier at least six (6) feet in height shall shield any part of a property line that is within twenty-five (25) feet of a hive. The flyway barrier must be a wall, fence, dense vegetation, or a combination thereof. It shall be placed to transect both legs of a triangle. It must extend from an apex at the hive to each end point of the part of the property line to be shielded.

  • The owner, operator or tenant shall obtain a license under Sec. 9.53, MGO.
  • The applicant for the license shall notify all residents of the property. If not the owner, the applicant will also notify the owner or operator of the property. Notification is not required for license renewal.

  • In the Employment and Special Use Districts, no more than six (6) hives may be located on a lot unless a principal use on the lot is for the keeping of honeybees.


Notification is not required for license renewal.


Last Updated: 09/07/2021

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Annual Renewal

Honeybee licenses must be obtained annually, prior to April 1 of each year, or within 30 days of acquiring honey bees. 

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