jdnewberry - You only came to terms with what your state requires because they said come to terms with it, OR ELSE. Has it dawned on anyone that everytime we are FORCED to register something wheather its guns or bees that we give up a little piece of our privacy? It seems that the majority of those of you that have commented on this post either don't mind that fact or you WANT to give up your GOD given right to privacy.
That's not entirely correct. Today, 16 years after I started beekeeping, I could still have my hives unregistered and the government would say nothing about it. Nobody has the time or desire to drive through the countryside looking for beehives just to check a map to see if they've been registered. The benefits to the beekeeper FAR outweigh the inconvenience.
The major benefit to me, the reason I will always register my apiaries, is pesticides. I very nearly lost two of my three hives just four months after I started beekeeping due to pesticide poisoning. Since I registered with the state, I've not suffered a loss. I'm notified anytime a farmer plans on spraying near my hives allowing me to protect my investment.
I agree that the government has overstepped it's bounds in many situations and has regulated TOO MANY things to the point where they are out of reach for the average citizen, but I think you've missed the points we're trying to make here... The government only cares about your bees if:
1) You are selling bees and or queens that were produced in DISEASED hives
2) You are maintaining DISEASED hives which are infecting other hives within your forage area
3) You are producing and selling more than 5,000 lbs of honey per year (FDA)
4) You are transporting DISEASED or PEST-RIDDEN hives across some sort of boundary, be it political or natural.
As an organic farmer, you are probably more aware of non-native garden pests than most of us other folks. these pests were imported and transported by some means, whatever it may have been. The same goes for SHB, varroa mites, tracheal mites, fire ants, EFB, etc... Properly inspecting a hive before moving it to another location is a trait of a bee "KEEPER", not a bee "HAVER." Not only will it protect your future apiary from these pests, but it will also protect your fellow beekeepers in the area. If the inspector finds these pests, he's not going to say fix this issue "or else," he'll offer to assist in fixing the issue. If you decide to move the hive anyway, there is not going to be a cop stationed down the road watching for hives on the move...
It works the other way, too. Let's say that someone else decides to relocate an apiary in your forage area. It could be infected with any number of pests or diseases. If they lost a hive to AFB and did not destroy that hive, your bees could potentially find the empty hive and rob the infected honey for their own use, thus infecting your hive. Every time you replaced your bees, they could suffer exactly the same fate until the other situation is corrected. If they transported fire ants, too, you will soon have them as well. Just because you are a prudent and knowledgeable bee "keeper" doesn't mean that your neighbors are as well.
Looking back at the AFB situation, this is probably the only situation where you might suffer an inspection in the real world. If you and your fellow beekeepers in the area suddenly start suffering losses from AFB and report the losses to the state apiculturist, that alerts them that there is a serious issue that must be fixed. They'll start inspecting apiaries in the area in an attempt to locate the source of the problem. If that infected hive happens to be registered, it will be destroyed as a measure to protect your own hives. If you suffer those AFB losses and never report them to the government, they may never know of the issue and you could continue to suffer losses - worse still, a major outbreak could ensue, endangering every honey bee in your region. I admit that this is not a likely scenario, but an example of the importance if hive registration.
Years ago Langstroth hives were mandated in many states because of the ease of inspection. This made all other hives such as "bee gums" illegal. In recent years Top Bar hives have increased in popularity because it allows the bees to create a more natural nest and possibly allows them to maintain better health. The people who maintain Top Bar hives still have them inspected. The government DOES NOT force them to switch to the legal Langstroth hive. They have too many other things to worry about. As long as everything is well maintained and reasonably healthy, they could care less.
The governments goal here is to protect the bees we already have, educate the public about bees and ENCOURAGE more people to get into beekeeping. 70% of our food supply is dependent on the honey bee. If the bees go away, so does our food. the responsible bee "KEEPER" has nothing to worry about from hive registration. You will likely never even see an inspector unless you call one yourself. In 16 years, I've never had an inspection that I didn't ASK for personally. The irresponsible bee "HAVER" doesn't have anything to fear from inspections either... Worst case scenario, if an inspection happens and AFB is found, the INFECTED hive is destroyed. If the inspection were to find mites or beetles, they would merely suggest a treatment. It only serves to improve your bees' health and productivity, enhancing the benefits your hives provide.
No one will EVER say that you are NOT ALLOWED to own bees. No one will EVER take them from you. No one will EVER mandate a treatment regiment for your bees. There is only a MINUTE chance that you will ever be inspected unless you ask for it on your own. If you are an informed and knowledgeable bee "KEEPER" and get inspected, There is only a MINUTE chance that an issue will be found. If an issue is found, there is only a MINUTE chance that a hive will be destroyed.
There is a STRONG chance that one of the crops in your area will be sprayed this year. If your bees are using that crop as forage, there is a STRONG chance that you will suffer a pesticide related loss. If your hives are not registered, there is a STRONG chance that you will never be informed of the pesticide application.
Registration is a VALUABLE SERVICE that is being provided FREE OF CHARGE. It was never meant to be a hindrance or inconvenience. If you choose not to take advantage of this service, it's you're prerogative, but 99% of the bee "KEEPERS" out there will sing the praises of hive registration.
In short, I came to terms with registration because I recognized the benefit of doing so. I have never given up my right to privacy, because my privacy has never been invaded. My bees are NOT being policed, nor am I being policed. I have my hives inspected before transport, not because I'm forced to, but to protect my fellow beekeepers from unwanted pests and diseases. If I have a question that I don't know the answer to, I take advantage of the free service that is being offered to me so that I might become a better, more informed beekeeper.
Register or don't register.... your choice. After seeing the benefits, I for one will ALWAYS register.