LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Members of the Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday in favor of a study on the impact of allow urban beekeeping in the city of Los Angeles.

The council also approved a motion calling for the city to explore more humane bee-removal alternatives other than extermination, and a resolution supporting federal protections for bees against pesticides.

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The Los Angeles Municipal Code currently prohibits beekeeping, which it defines as “the care and maintenance of bee hives” and the “managed production of honey bee by-products such as honey and wax” in single-family residential zones.

Councilman Paul Koretz said the state has been losing a third of its bees a year since 2006, threatening California’s avocado and almond growing industry.

“Almonds alone are $4 billion of our state’s economy,” he said.

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Urban beekeeping advocates say legalizing the practice will “foster a healthier bee population,” which has seen a steep decline, prompting concerns that the local economy and the state’s agricultural industry could be negatively affected.

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However, some people worry that legalizing beekeeping will bring more residents into direct contact with Africanized — or “killer” — bees, according to the Associated Press.

Almost all feral hives in Los Angeles contain Africanized genes that can make the colonies more aggressive.

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