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Author Topic: An ethical question  (Read 4681 times)
uglyfrozenfish
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« on: February 28, 2011, 08:56:04 PM »

Hi all,
Here is the situation.  My grandfather allows a beekeeper to keep 20 or so hives on his property during the summer(in the winter they are moved to florida or other tropical paradise.  Spoiled bees) 

I was thinking of putting a couple of swarm traps out there in case any of his bees swarmed.  I am wondering if the bees swarm are they fair game?  Should I leave well enough alone with these bees??

Just wondering what people's thoughts are. 

THanks a bunch
Lee
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 08:57:42 PM »

Does the beekeeper put out swarm traps or tries to catch every swarms from his hives?   If not, I think you might be ok.   You can always ask.
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 08:59:33 PM »

ask.  i put up swarm traps at my friends berry farm.  the beekeeper that brings his hives does not want to bother with swarms.  i was sure to have my friend ask before i did it.
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 09:19:48 PM »

Swarms are God's bees, and are fair game to whomever catches them, provided you aren't trespassing to retrieve them.

There have been laws for beekeeping for centuries.  A beekeeper owns the hive and the contents of the hive.  They do not own the bees that are not in the hive. 

If the beekeeper doesn't like you trying to catch swarms, they should manage their bees better so they don't swarm.
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 09:48:44 PM »

I think the question was, "is it ethical", not "is it legal".

It is legal, but ethical only if you ask or determine that the beek is not going to be trying to retrieve them.
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 10:14:40 PM »

A swarm trap will not incite them to swarm.  If they were my hives, I'd be ok with it but would wonder why you didn't ask first out of politeness... but swarms are fair game.
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Grid
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 10:19:11 AM »

You should ask, and check your local laws.  Ontario has the Ontario Bee Act, which among other things states:

Right of owner to pursue and recover swarm
   3.  (1)  Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), where a swarm of bees leaves a hive, the owner of the swarm may enter upon the premises of any person and recover the swarm.  R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6, s. 3 (1).

Where owner declines to pursue swarm
   (2)  Where the owner of a swarm of bees that leaves its hive declines to pursue it and another person takes up the pursuit, such other person is subrogated to all the rights of the owner in respect of the swarm.  R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6, s. 3 (2).

Owner of premises to be notified
   (3)  Where the right to recover a swarm of bees is claimed under subsection (1) or (2), the person claiming the swarm shall notify the owner of the premises on which the swarm has settled before entering the premises and shall compensate the owner for any damage to the premises caused by the entry.  R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6, s. 3 (3).

When right of property in swarm lost
   (4)  Where a swarm of bees leaves a hive and settles in an occupied hive owned by a person other than the owner of the swarm, the owner of the swarm loses all right of property in the swarm.  R.S.O. 1990, c. B.6, s. 3 (4).



In Ontario, the swarm belongs to the original owner until/unless they give up ownership, or the swarm settles in an occupied hive owned by someone else (I didn't know that could happen).  Without their permission, if you setup swarm traps (in Ontario), technically those bees don't belong to you unless they came from a feral hive.  (How do you prove/disprove that?!?)  Oh well.

I'd talk to them and try to get their permission.  Regardless of the laws where you live, it seems the decent thing to do.

Grid.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 11:29:23 AM »

Looks like another useless and unenforceable law.  Don't we have enough of these already?
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Grid
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2011, 11:45:58 AM »

Not sure about the enforceability or usefulness of the law.  What is interesting is the different view of swarms.

"Swarms are God's Bees"  v.s  "Swarms are the original owner's bees and he/she has the right to recapture them."  They are livestock.  If your cows broke through a fence and wandered away, would they be mine if I threw a rope around their neck or led them into my field?

Grid.
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2011, 12:04:15 PM »

I can easily prove the cow is mine.  Unless the original hive owner or a witness actually views the swarm leaving the hive and settling into the swarm trap, how do you prove whose bees they are?

I don't see anything in that law about the beekeepers responsibility for the swarm.    If I live next door and get a swarm that moves into the side of my house and it cost $1000 to get them removed,  is the beekeeper next door responsible to pay?
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Grid
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 02:01:19 PM »

I think I'd need a very tiny branding iron to get "This here bee belongs to Grid" burned onto every bee I own.   grin   I always took the swarm recovery portion of the Ontario Bee Act to be your "unless" clause - I, or someone, sees my hive swarm and settle on a tree/eve/whatever in my neighbour's yard, so I call them up, and come and get them.  Since they are mine, and not up for grabs, and I want them, legally the neighbour can't say no.  Very different from my finding out that a swarm is somewhere on my neighbour's property, and then demanding they let me come and get them because "they must be mine".  This is where the "prove it" and lack of enforceability come in, for sure.

Regarding damages, it does say "...and shall compensate the owner for any damage to the premises caused...", but this is in the act of retrieving the bees.  If the beekeeper does not claim the swarm, I don't know what the Bee Act says about compensating the property owner for damages/costs incurred removing them.

Anyhow, my point was not to debate the usefulness and enforceability of the Ontario Bee Act (I didn't write it, I just live with it), but to point out that not everyone agrees that swarms are always free for the taking, and that there are places that have laws governing it, whether we like it or not.  And putting all that aside, I think we can all agree that talking to the beek before trapping his/her swarms is the right and decent thing to do, whether there's a law telling you to or not.

Cheers,
Grid
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uglyfrozenfish
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 09:23:50 PM »

Ethics/Politics/Philosophy
Anything else anyone wants to discuss??

Everyone's comments are awsome.  I love it.  Entertaining and informative. 

YAY BEEMASTER!!!!!!
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vmmartin
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 11:13:51 PM »

I would think it would be best to err on the side of caution.....or consideration. I would appreciate it if someone asked me first, just out of politeness.  Would you locate hives near a residence where you knew that one or more of the occupants were allergic? I beelieve that us beeks are generally very nice and friendly people.  Why not try to bee that way concerning swarms?
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hardwood
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2011, 11:23:02 PM »

I bet that if you ask they will say sure. If I found hidden swarm traps around one of my yards I'd be thinking "sneaky little so-and-so" but if someone were to come to me and ask politely I would say "sure, I'd rather you get them than loose them to the bushes".

There's no way you can keep every hive from swarming (although you try). If I'm not setting traps at my own yards why not let someone who really wants the bees try?

Scott
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dennis2021
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 07:34:05 AM »

I bet that if you ask they will say sure. If I found hidden swarm traps around one of my yards I'd be thinking "sneaky little so-and-so" but if someone were to come to me and ask politely I would say "sure, I'd rather you get them than loose them to the bushes".

There's no way you can keep every hive from swarming (although you try). If I'm not setting traps at my own yards why not let someone who really wants the bees try?

Scott

So, Hey Scott, Can I put a few traps around your bee-yard? lol
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hardwood
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2011, 07:39:59 AM »

Anytime Dennis grin
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2011, 08:13:09 AM »

Playing devil's advocate here.

What if you ask and he says 'NO'. 

 It is sort of like asking someone if you can walk on the sidewalk in front of their house.  By asking the question,  you are inferring they have the power to prevent you.   

I see no reason not to have a polite talk to the beekeeper and tell him what you want to do and why.  Good open communications go a long way.   But I would think twice of asking "permission" for something he rightfully has no say in.
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Grid
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2011, 08:39:14 AM »

If the local laws say that swarms are up for grabs, then asking permission, and maybe getting a NO, might be counter productive.

I'd still ask.  Smiley  I'd rather get the NO than be a bad neighbour.

Grid.
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2011, 09:35:00 AM »

A stroll in the beeyard and a few minutes asking him questions and talking bees will be by far the best way to go.

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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2011, 04:09:41 PM »

Our local "Bigtime" commercial bee operation has around 10K hives.  He plops them down in various fields around and about for wintering.  Some of those bee yards are maintained year around.  There is one such yard a few miles from my younger borther's house.  He has made arrangements to place swarm traps (deep nucs) at various places between his place and the bee yard.  He has a good of chance catching a swarm from one of his own hives has from the commercial guys.  Either way he gets to keep what he catches because he has the property owners permission to place the swarm traps.
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