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Author Topic: Is there friction between us?  (Read 2123 times)
David McLeod
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« on: November 16, 2010, 10:29:27 AM »

I would like to pose a question, but first let me frame the question.

There are many of us that come to the bees for many different reasons. Most are beeks that love the bees more than actually making a living from them. No problems there. Others love the bees but absolutely measure the bottom line. Some have made the bees their sole livlihood while others do something else with the bees on the the side. So as you can see their is a multiplicity of available answers to the pending question.
Now on to the question which I shall frame from the veiwpoint of my chosen industry in general (I am a company man to the end) and will set it up as such.

I am a NWCO (nuisance wildlife control operator) and the owner and operator of Georgia Wildlife Services, Inc. As such I am a small businessman with the sole focus of profitability of my company and expanding it's operations. Now for some background, there is and will continue to be conflict between the "pure" NWCO (vertebrate wildlife) and the PCO (invertebrate pests) industries with many on my side of the fence claiming the PCOs are looking to conduct a "takeover" of the NWCOs as has already happened in a couple of states. Now I come to this board not only as a former and soon to be current beek but also as one who deals with honeybees on a professional basis as a remover of stinging insects. Now as we can all imagine with an insect so valuable and loved as the honeybee while at the very same time raising fear and concern from the great unwashed contention can arise. The short of it is that the ladies have, through no fault of their own, found themselves to be a commodity much in demand between several groups. The beeks first and foremost, the NWCOs, which IMO should align themselves on the side of the beeks for the preservation of bees, who are IMO the more qualified to deal with them in structures (not that a beek beek with the skill isn't) or the PCOs who have a bent to the lethal when it comes to insects. Okay, so there's some background and to the point.

And here is the $20,000 question. What frictions do you see between the various groups chasing honeybees today?

I ask this question not to raise hackles, though I am known to do that from time to time, but instead to identify for my sake what issues are out there with an eye to resolving them. Seriously, I would rather have mutually supporting allies for my profession than to waste time and resources fighting to save my industry. So in that vein please feel free to respond openly, truthfully and without rancor so that we can have an enlightening conversation. Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 10:48:18 AM »

By chasing honeybees, do you mean removal of feral colonies from structures?
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 10:52:41 AM »

Scratch what I said lol
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 11:06:53 AM »

By chasing honeybees, do you mean removal of feral colonies from structures?

That is how I read it  myself.

To me it seems like the pest control people are of the exterminate and hack them out of a wall (as can be witnessed on youtube by some of the "bee savers" or so they claim).

Beeks that are wanting to save the bees will take the time to relocate them, whether they are hobby, commercial or even someone like JP who loves the bees and is also an exterminator (correct me if I am wrong JP).

Most commercial guys IMO do not do cut outs or swarm collections, they just don't have time for that.
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 11:15:58 AM »

i have not encountered any friction.  in fact, i have been getting referrals from pest control companies.  most have been for swarms, but a couple for removals from structures.  my impression is that some pest control companies don't want the bother of killing and removing hives.  + i think many people are re-thinking both the cost of removal the the "plight" of the (disappearing) honeybee.
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 11:34:00 AM »

No friction in my state yet. Bee regulations are somewhat lax as to who can handle bee calls. Of course this could change as it has in a few other states.

I find most people or companies don't want to invest the amount of time it takes to perform proper live removals and relocation.

Besides, live bee removal is not for just anyone, you have to have passion to do this.

While I get excited about different removals I have performed or the challenges of the next one I am confronted with there are those who are saying, I just don't get it or you couldn't get me to do that for all the money in the world, or (most often) if I'm not out of there within three hours its a waste of my time.


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David McLeod
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 12:19:52 PM »

By chasing the bees I mean chasing the swarms, cutouts and trap outs not run of the mill keeping. Keeping has it's own set of issues but other than treatment and chemical use is not at the risk of regulation or general public perception.
JP, Kathy and G3 I too see most of the PCOs (at least the better ones IMO) shying away from honeybees and many shy away from the other stingers as well. Which in my opinion is a good thing as long as they are referring them out to "live removal" service. Just my experience within my own local area but almost all NWCOs are also PCOs (at least they hold the license even if they do not offer, most do, household pest control) and the SOP for bees is hose them (even swarms)and cut and scoop. It shames me to say that I was one of those in the past when I worked for someone else. Kind of a conumdrum when the mainline PCOs refer out honeybees due to a concern for them just to have the one they sent it to kill them. Not good IMO, but then again there is alot that goes on in the NWCO community that I would like to see changed.
Let me toss this out there. On my dream list of things to do for the industry (and it is coming whether we want it or not) is certifications for various aspects of what we do. Among these would be certification for specific species which require more than a general knowledge of say trapping alone or have unique biologies or special concerns. What would others think about some sort of certification for honeybee removals. I am not advocating one way or the other. I have other fish to fry and frankly honeybee removal is such a small part of my total operations I wouldn't lose the business if I couldn't do them.
Fortunately for beeks, NWCOs and PCOs the honeybees themselves seem to be somewhat self limiting on the type of operator certification and regulation would be needed for.
Opinions?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 12:37:48 PM by David McLeod » Logged

Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
Georgia's Full Service Wildlife Solution
Atlanta (678) 572-8269 Macon (478) 227-4497
www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
georgiawildlifeservices@gmail.com
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 12:35:11 PM »

I don't think FL would ever issue a certification for bee removals. The head Apiarist with the Dept. of Agriculture has called for the extermination of all feral colonies and swarms.

Scott
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 12:41:37 PM »

i'm not a fan of certification/regulation of much of anything.  grin  i do think that would lead to some friction and probably higher cost.  after all, if you are certified, you are worth more money!  i am getting more libertarian in my old age.....
one of the reasons i do my removals for free, keep it a hobby,  and don't do any repairs, is that we have a fairly  nasty contractors union here.  they are going after little old church men doing odd jobs.  i don't want to be in their crosshairs.  any kind of certification would probably put me there.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 12:46:06 PM »

Scott, y'all are FUBAR down there in FL. The PCOs reign supreme over the NWCOs and your Dept of Ag is part and parcel of the cabal. I don't know about your state apiarist but considering the dept it does not suprise me.
Us guys to the north of you are watching y'all like hawks to make sure the taint doesn't spread north. We've got to many in Atlanta (Dept of Ag) and Social Circle(Dept of Natural Resources) without a clue that look to Tallahassee for guidance. I'm worried we may get something like that kill on sight order now that we have AHB but so far I haven't heard anything stupid out of the Dept of Ag. Actually those I've talked to seemed to have a good head on their shoulders when it came to honeybees.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 12:55:26 PM »

i'm not a fan of certification/regulation of much of anything.  grin  i do think that would lead to some friction and probably higher cost.  after all, if you are certified, you are worth more money!  i am getting more libertarian in my old age.....
one of the reasons i do my removals for free, keep it a hobby,  and don't do any repairs, is that we have a fairly  nasty contractors union here.  they are going after little old church men doing odd jobs.  i don't want to be in their crosshairs.  any kind of certification would probably put me there.

kathyp, I am in total agreement in principle. I am opposed at the core to any person telling me how to do things. Yet I have become a very strong advocate for increased regulation for my own specific industry. Not beekeepers or even PCOs (other than what we NWCOs need to keep them on their side of the street or to make them play fair) just us critter guys. It just so happens that honeybees fall into a sub category of wildlife that both NWCOs and PCOs can play with. Like so many areas in these often overlapping trades this creates "grey zones" and the actual regulations are extremely lax leading to the oppotunity for the general public and or wildlife to be harmed. Well, I'm straying off topic to a degree.
My main question was see if any among us from hobbiest beeks to full fledged removal service guys were aware of any issues that may cause trouble in the near or long term future.
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Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 04:20:41 PM »

I'm not sure I would consider it friction, but the biggest issue I see is the new be/wanna be that thinks doing removals are simple and decide to just do it for the bees. Unfortunately a lot of these get in deeper than they can handle.  These folks have basically eliminated any swarm jobs though.  I have had more than one person call me for swarms and after they found out I would charge for my travel opt for a freebie,  only to call me then next day because the swarm moved into a wall.  I never say I told you,  but I think they got the point when a new price was quoted. 

For the most part the pest companies don't want to be bothered with honeybees.   They would rather stick to the spray and pay jobs and not get into structural work and removals/clean ups.  You can't generalize about a given group though,  I have a few that refer to me all the time because they don't want to see the bees destroyed.  I give these guys a referral bonus and refer non-beekeeping jobs to them as well.

The few NWCOs I know in my area don't seem to want to mess with bees, accept one who doesn't get into anything that is too complex.
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 07:30:33 PM »

Regulation smegulation.

I have some good friends who remove bees who are much more qualified to perform bee removals than those with titles/credentials. 

Things seem to change when AHB are added to the equation, being paranoia setting in.

Who knows what the future holds.

The way this world seems to be heading only those with insurance may be doing removals in the future. I get plenty work others can't because they are not insured/bonded.

For the time being, most people in my area can care less who is removing their bees or what credentials/titles or even insurance they may or may not possess.

They just want them gone.

Now don't get me completely wrong on this. Most want them gone but want them to live and that's a good thing.


...JP
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 09:17:13 PM »

I am pretty sure, at least for the time being, that we still live in a free country. For the most part. However, we do have way too many regulations to live by and that do infringe upon our liberties.  If you have ever deal with any state conservation bodies you know what I mean. I.E. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. (They used to be TNRCC Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission). They decided that the title limited their arm length and changed it to be ALL ENCOMPASSING.  Anyway, if I read the rule book correct, in Texas you have to have an exterminator license in order to charge for removals.  I have done both cutouts and swarms for friends and such without charging them.  I do have a friend and mentor that depends on removals for his living.  I try to use my best judgment when assessing the situation. If I even have a hint that it is over my head I refer them to him.  So far it has worked out well.  I get some freebies and he gets more business.
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JP
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 10:04:06 PM »

Vmmartin, I have suggested this to someone in Florida and it worked for him, let your customers know that although you can't technically charge them, you do take donations.

Screw the powers that be!  grin

Hey, hey!


...JP
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 10:17:24 PM »

Hmmm...I'm just a hobbiest, but get quite a few calls for cutouts.  When I mention $300, they usually say thanks and hang up. Probably try to Raid them them selves.  Or find an exterminator who will spray them for $60, and cut the crud out of the wall themselves.

Most of the time I'd guess exterminators do what they need to do to remove the pests.  They aren't all tied in with the benevolent beekeepers, if the customer says get rid of it, they say yessir and take care of it.

There's a few desperate people who call and an exterminator tells them that it is illegal to kill honeybees so they call me and want me to drive an hour to cut it out, but I'm not real keen on cutouts, not like JP, that's for sure!!

Maybe you see other things in the industry that I don't, but for the most part cutouts is a niche that doesn't have a good fit to any models, at least in this area as far as I can tell.  Not enough paying cutouts to make it a viable model.

As far as certifications goes...most people care about the $$$ first, the cert last.

Rick
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 11:01:52 PM »

Vmmartin, I have suggested this to someone in Florida and it worked for him, let your customers know that although you can't technically charge them, you do take donations.

Screw the powers that be!  grin

Hey, hey!


...JP
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2010, 04:11:34 PM »

It's a complex issue with no easy answers.  I do cutouts and swarm removals, and don't charge what the job is really worth.  Still, many people walk away and grab a can of Raid themselves with outcomes that I would rather not contemplate.  As much as I emotionally would like certification to remove the yahoos that kill, smash, and run, I know that I will not be able to do ANY removals if I would have to get certified.  I guarantee that any certification here will require testing (which I would be fine with), a yearly fee (which I may or may not be o.k. with depending what the state would stick us for) and insurance and bonding which there is no way I can afford.  There are too few removals to make a business of it here (Iowa) and although I would be willing to work in a subcontractor position for pest control companies, again, I don't see where it is worth it for any companies to be willing to mess with it.

I also know that doing outside work puts myself at risk of a lawsuit, but I have people sign a release and cross my fingers.  So far I have not had any issues.  There was one job that I just shied right away from though, "bad vibes" as soon as I arrived!  You've got to know when to walk away.

I also worry that regulation will possibly put us in the same boat as Florida, where some one bureaucrat will get to decide what I am allowed to, or not allowed to, do with my bees.  The Universities here already seem to have the attitude that feral bees are sub-par and should be destroyed.
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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2010, 06:01:30 PM »

OK, I am going to weigh in on this as both a beekeeper and a licensed pesticide applicator/pest management professional.

Going strictly by the book, and  I mean literally, in the textbooks for pest management/pesticide applicators, at least in Nebraska, If a honey bee nest is found to be in a residential or commercial structure  (house or building) the "solution" is to terminate it.  Kill it.  Immediately.

This puts a lean towards pest control service providers to handle honey bee nests issues like cutouts, etc.. Mostly because the typical methods of terminating said nests is done by using restricted use chemical pesticides which in this state, require one to be licensed to purchase and apply for hire.

Now I remind you, that is the textbook answer.

In everyday reality, the vast majority of pest management companies don't want anything to do with honey bees if they can avoid it.  There are some companies who go so far as to tell customers that it is illegal to kill honeybees in the state because they are protected.  This is not correct obviously, but it serves the purpose of getting them out of having to deal with it.  They will then at least 90% of the time, recommend the person find a beekeeper.

Most people get referred to the county extension office to find said beekeeper assistance.  (a lot of those calls get sent to me because that is my business   grin )

Both the county extension offices and the state Dept of Agriculture  (who also happens to be the licensing body for pesticide applicators and who essentially "wrote the book" that I discussed above)  will tell people that the preference is to keep the bees alive if at all possible.  Advice that both personally and professionally,  I appreciate very much.

Speaking for myself, the primary reason I got licensed to be a pesticide applicator was to minimize, reduce and more carefully mix and apply chemical pesticides as part of a more comprehensive integrated Pest Management plan.    I know that there will be times that the chemicals will be called for to be used, but I can help make sure they are prepared and applied more cautiously and accurately.  anyway,  I digress.

There are a few who do business as what you describe as NWCOs though for the most part, they don't do much when it comes to honey bees.  They stick to the "critter control" venues for the most part.

On paper, the push is to the PCO's as you call them, mostly because of the possibility of a restricted chemical being used in the situation.

In reality, in my area there really is no "friction" because most of the parties involved  (except maybe the terrified homeowner who has the bee issue) are pushing for beekeepers to handle the bees.

Big Bear

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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2010, 06:21:31 PM »

  beekeepers CAN do removals for Hire-without certs-(california)-pco wants all AHB teritory-not gona happen  cheesy
 keepers will do removals---the pco are even trying to say that useing SMOKE constitutes use of pesticide and therefore reqiures LICENCE-  cheesy hogwash ---pleanty friction--- cheesy RDY-B
http://www.pcoc.org/consumer/ahb/forhire.cfm
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2010, 07:20:38 PM »

Wow, that is some kind of vague power trip they got there in California.

Almost sounds unionized by trying to control the other than restricted chemical control methods.

in Nebraska,  I can use pretty much any controls outside of chemical application for hire.  can't even use over the counter sprays and chemicals for hire.  

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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2010, 07:43:05 PM »

  AHB is going to be BIG $$$ in there eyes-power is money--thats the meat and potatoes of it-- Wink RDY-B
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« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2010, 08:07:39 AM »

There isn't much trouble in my area because bees are scarce as it is.  When they are found in a structure, most people attempt to seek out a beekeeper as their first course of action.  I get calls from people to help identify the bees, which are usually yellowjackets.  That's when people say, "Just wanted to be sure they weren't honeybees.  We don't want to kill honeybees."  One guy even went as far as leaving the bees in his structure because they were up high enough and isolated enough to avoid human contact.  (He wanted them for his garden and fruit trees.  I recommended removing them and hiving them in this garden but he declined.)
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