Bee Safe Neighborhoods

David Braden's picture

Design by Emily WilcoxLiving Systems Institute and Honeybee Keep are sponsoring the "Bee Safe Neighborhoods" campaign to create living spaces where honey bees and other pollinators can propagate without the effects of toxic chemicals.  We want to help Bee Safe Neighborhoods obtain swarm traps and/or build hives for honeybees. 

If you are interested in becoming a Bee Safe Coordinator in your neighborhood after reading the information below, please send an email to d-braden AT  We'd love to know who you are, how to contact you and the name of the neighborhood you call home. 

" . . . my involvement with Bee Safe Neighborhoods has been nothing short of transformative. 

We are elated that we were successful in turning Normal Park, Ypsilanti into the first Bee Safe Neighborhood in Michigan and we have already been invited to canvass an adjacent neighborhood. So onto the next journey. I wonder what it will bring?"
Melissa Sklar, Bee Safe Normal Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan
"We were so fortunate that everyone from the Normal Park neighborhood were open to knowing and learning more and having honest discussion about the issues surrounding the use of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides.  
No door was shut in our face, thus our morale never waivered and our committment only strengthened.  This journey has also shown me how much the power of grassroots activism can impact a neighborhood, community, and beyond."
Germaine Smith, Bee Safe Normal Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan

This work has been endorsed by the following organizations:  PANNA, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, Colorado State Beekeepers, (See Letter).

PANNA logoFriends of the Earth LogoBeyond Pesticides Logo



Colorado State Beekeepers Association Logo





Thank you for helping to protect the bees and your neighbors!

What is a Bee Safe Neighborhood?

The goal is to have leaders from as many neighborhoods as possible solicit pledges from their neighbors to stop using systemic Contiguous Block of 75 Homespoisons.  The minimum number of households required for a bee safe neighborhood designation is 75 in a contiguous block.  If a neighbor on a particular street does not wish to participate, the boundary lines of the contiguous block will be configured to exclude that household.  In other words, every neighbor on every street does not need to participate in order to have a contiguous block.  Please see the diagram for an example of how one contiguous block might look.  The households not participating are shown in red.  Each neighborhood will probably have a unique configuration depending on the participation of neighbors.  See more details.  HONOR ROLL

We will also encourage people to stop using all poisons so a healthy ecosystem can develop wherein all pests become food for their predators.  Elimination of poisons will also decrease the toxins that can run off into surface water and accumulate in the soil.

We will ask our neighbors to increase safe habitats for honey bees by landscaping with safe plants (uncontaminated by neonicotinoids or systemics) that can provide pollen and nectar to pollinators through spring, summer and fall.  We will inform neighbors about neonicotinoids and systemics found in plants that are available for purchase at chain stores and in many garden centers and plant nurseries.  We will provide information on and promote local, independent garden stores who do sell safe plants; who do not carry insecticides with neonicotinoids or systemic products or, at a minimum, adequately segregate or label any neonicotinoid/systemic insecticides so customers are aware that those products harm bees.

Would you Like to Help the Honeybees?

Step 1:  Contact d-braden AT and indicate whether you want to be a Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader or a Volunteer who can help out to create a Bee Safe Neighborhood. 

A Bee Safe Neighborhood Coordinator is the person who is responsible for obtaining 75 pledges (1 pledge from each household) in their neighborhood.  (You do not have to collect all 75 pledges single-handedly.)  Obtaining 75 pledges can be done with other members of your neighborhood.   You can also work with other people in your neighborhood to allocate other tasks or to arrange gatherings, etc. 

Want to Register as a Bee Safe Coordinator?

Bee Brochure - PDF format (2 pages)

Pledge Form and Signature Sheet (for your neighbors to sign)

Sample form

If your Community is not a neighborhood of single family homes

Yard Signs, cards listing the systemic poisons, and door hangers for canvasing your neighorhood.

Reference List of Basic Information Sources for Volunteers Canvassing or Neighbors who Want More Info

Before you go out canvassing, define the boundaries of your neighborhood (find and print a map), think or write out your plan, set timelines to begin and end canvassing

Script for door-to-door canvassing

Plants to Grow for Pollinators - Denver area

Beware - even "bee-friendly" plants sold at stores can contain neonicotinoids or systemics!  - Source:

Answers to Questions Your Neighbors will Likely Have:

What are Neonicotinoids? - Source: Wikipedia article (articles are not always 100% accurate so use this as a general guide)

What are Systemic Insecticides? -  Source:  www.gardensalive.comPoison List Card

How do I tell if I have products at home that contain these chemicals and how do I avoid buying them?

How do I buy plants in my local area that are safe (uncontaminated by neonicotinoids/systemics) - a list that we hope grows

What else can I use if I'm not going to use systemic poisons?  Grow Smart Grow Safe Guide - Source:

  • an excellent resource for determining the chemical make-up and relative toxicity of insecticides and weed killers
  • also with sections on insects, weeds, slugs and snails, diseases, moss, animals and pests, soil amendments and fertilizers

Gardening without Pesticides - Source:

Bee Safe Coordinator Starter Kits and Stand-Alone Items (to make your job much easier and to raise some funds for your printing costs) - no link yet

Take some time to define the boundaries of your neighborhood first before you start knocking on doors (this will streamline the process) - no link yet

A Bee Safe Neighborhood Volunteer is someone who has some time available to help collect pledges from neighbors for a Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader (if available) or on their own (if a Team Leader is not yet available).

Find a Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Near You


Step 2:  Print out the Bee Safe Neighbor Pledge Sheet to take with you when you are ready to begin knocking on your neighbors' doors.  Request that a swarm trap from Honeybee Keep be mounted in a tree in your neighborhood.  Swarm traps cost $100.00 plus shipping.  You can pick it up and mount it yourself or we can deliver and install it for an additional $50 and a delivery fee of one dollar per mile from Honeybee Keep.  See: If you catch a swarm.  You can split the cost with your neighbors:  $10 a share, $5 a share.

Step 3:  Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leaders who have signed pledges for 75 in a contiguous block can send an email to d-braden AT to start certification of their Bee Safe Neighborhood.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! ! !

C e l e b r a t e !    C e l e b r a t e !   C e l e b r a t e! 

  You decide how!!  Potluck?  Seed or plant exchanges?  Outdoor party in a back yard or several yards?

Request a project page on this website and instructions on how to update it.

Request recognition as a Bee Safe Neighborhood through Selene Press or Denver Urban Homesteading (or another/other means to be determined)

Stickers for Placement on Windows in Front of House (not yet available)

Yard signs to display

Once you have your Bee Safe Neighborhood established, in what ways might you, if you choose, enhance your habitat through LSI's knowledge base?

Would you like to build permaculture gardens in your neighborhood using the no-till, no-fertilizer method?  LSI can show you how.

Would you like to have a chicken coop built in your back yard?  LSI can show you how.

Would you like to build a greenhouse?  LSI can show you how.

Want a drip-irrigation system?  LSI can show you how.

If you do, gather those neighbors interested in employing community sufficiency technologies to develop the capacity to provide for yourselves.  Please see the home page for LSI to see what has been accomplished in other neighborhoods or check out one of the project pages at the top left.  These neighborhoods have already realized

  • increased economic security from their own food production
  • higher quality and availability of healthier food without pesticides residues
  • a cleaner, healthier and more biologically diverse environment for all
  • a community of neighbors who are learning and working together to improve their habitat.

Thank you for finding Living Systems Institute and the Bee Safe Neighborhood Page. 

We hope you and your neighborhood will make use of our acquired knowledge so you can build your own better world.

Please visit the Bee Safe Neighborhoods Facebook page.  Please like our Page if you do. We like you!