Are bees pets?

I was going over some notes after last week’s story about the status of urban beekeeping in the Twin Cities metro, and I came across a quotation from Gary Reuter about how he classifies bees.

Reuter works for the University of Minnesota’s entomology department along with Marla Spivak (our guest last week on the Daily Circuit). He said that while some cities classify bees as ‘farm animals’ and thus regulate them accordingly, he doesn’t agree.

“For most hobby beekeepers they’re more – it’s more accurately a pet, you know? And I know everybody’s going to think that’s weird but, for a hobby beekeeper – yeah part of it’s to get honey – but most of it’s they enjoy working with the bees; watching the bees; watching their behavior; and seeing what they do.

“It’s just fun to have ’em out there, so I compare ’em more to a dog or a cat or a fish than I do to, you know, a cow or a chicken.”

So what do you think? Are bees more of a farm animal? Or a pet? Or something in between? How would you classify bees?

Tom Weber