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Thread: skeps illegal?

  1. #1
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    I know, I know, too many questions, but I just have to know!!
    ANY DOCUMENTED laws ...state or federal that say we cannot keep our bees in a skep or log?
    thanks again for the valuable info!
    JG in TN

  2. #2
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    You have to be able to maintain diseases in your colony,and it is very difficult to examine brood in a skep.

  3. #3
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    Laws vary state by state, but most (all) have some provision for moveable frames, or at the very least, easily inspectable hives.

    From the Ohio revised code:

    909.12 Frames and honeycombs must be easily removable and accessible.

    No person shall keep or maintain bees in any hive if all frames and honeycombs cannot be readily removed therefrom for inspection or keep or maintain bees in any hive situated where adequate and efficient inspection is difficult, impracticable, or impossible. All cross-comb hives or domiciles for bees, from which the frames and honeycombs cannot be readily removed, are hereby declared to be a public nuisance.

    If any owner is found using such cross-comb hives or domiciles, the director of agriculture shall notify said owner in writing to cease using them. If, after the expiration of one year from receipt of said notice, the owner has failed to cease using said cross-comb hives or domiciles for housing bees, the director may seize and destroy them without remuneration.


  4. #4
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    >ANY DOCUMENTED laws ...state or federal that say we cannot keep our bees in a skep or log?

    Most states have one similar to that. Usually it specifies movable combs and the ability to inspect for disease.

    Nebraska does not specify this, but does specify that they can inspect for disease. Since they can't if there is not movable comb they could construe that it was not possible to inspect for disease so they don't know if the hives are free from disease.

    Iowa is the same. No specific prohibition of non-movable comb, only that they can inspect, which they can't do if it's not movable.

    Nebraska and Iowa also no longer have inspections unless you ask for them and pay for them out of your pocket. They also no longer have registration of hives.



  5. #5
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    With laws like this, no wonder feral hives are extinct........

    Since bees are responsible for the life of the species of this planet, you'd think the word nuisance would be struck from the documents...

  6. #6
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    These laws were passed when the bees were almost wiped out by AFB. The consensus at the time was that if we inpected all the hives and burned all the infected ones, we could wipe out the disease.

    That view did not turn out to be practical. But at the time feral hives were almost wiped out by the AFB anyway.

    They were almost wiped out again by the Tracheal mites and again by the Varroa.

  7. #7

    Smile

    JasonG,
    Not too many questions at all - in fact, pretty good questions. However, you seem to want things "documented". This being the case, might I suggest you see if Tennessee has their state ag laws (state statues) on some website (a Yahoo or Google search, as an example). Or a quick trip to a larger public library should yield a copy of the latest state ag laws concerning honeybees.

    Many years ago I did the old library search on Texas' honeybee regulations and within the last year or two, I've found Texas statues regarding honeybees online. And believe it or not, made for some pretty interesting reading (BTW, Texas has the requirement for removable frames - however, special permission can be granted on a case-by-case basis for an exception to that law by the state apiary inspector).

  8. #8
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

    Smile

    txbeeguy,
    I will and thank you.
    You have been quite informative!
    Jason

  9. #9
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    dahlonega,ga USA
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    why not go to your local ag department, usually they have a office in most towns where the county seat is. Mine carries the laws concerning bees, and gave me a copy of those laws. Also gave me more information that i could have hoped for.
    steve

  10. #10
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    ATL, GA, USA
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    Another issue with keeping bees in skeps and logs that you might have overseen is that these hives are much more inhumane and brutal to the bee population IF you plan on harvesting their honey. Remember sulfur smokers?

  11. #11
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Lightbulb

    Of course, if you put a skep out for purely decorative purposes and a swarm HAPPENS to move in, there's no law saying you have to do anything about it.

  12. #12
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    Sulfur smokers?
    Doesn't sulfur smoke kill bees?
    Good ideas!
    Thanks,
    JG in TN

  13. #13
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    Yes sulfur smoke kills bees and it's how they harvested. Basiclly if you ran skeps it worked pretty much like this. You catch a swarm and put it in a skep. You let the skep get overcrowded and you catch the swarm the leaves the skep and put it in another skep. Then it swarms again and you put that swarm in another skep. At the end of the honey flow you smoke a skep or two with sulfur and feed all the dead bees and brood to the chickens and harvest the honey.

  14. #14
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    Personally I've rased them in a log (they were already in there, but I cut it and took it home for the winter).

    I've raised them in a simple box (a lanstroth deep but no frames) with a bunch of one by twos for the lid and a piece of plywood over that with it on a regular bottom board. You ccould flip the box up on it's side and see all the comb because it's not attched on the bottom. Then, since the top is a bunch of separate boards, I could figure out the best one to remove to give me space at the top to cut comb. And I ccould cut the sides from the bottom. It's not as bad as it sounds to raise bees in a box with combs every which way. But it is a mess to harvest and it drowns more bees in the honey. Also, it's a small hive because you can really only run one box and you have a lot of swarms. I just did it as an experiment so I could see what the bees would do and how hard it was to handle them. Afterwords, I moved them into a regular hive. I just flipped it upside down and drummed and smoked them into a deep box with frames and put the excluder between and waited for the brood to emerge and then harvested all the honey.

    I've also rasied them in top bar hives, which I think is the best of the primitive types.

    I've never tried a real skep, but I have one for decorative purposes. But it's too small to be much good.

  15. #15
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    The laws that some might now criticize may have their origins in protecting bees, especially feral bees. In this commercial age, if people went around killing each hive after honey season was over we would not have many bees at all. Of course this is moot if the people do not intend to harvest honey but I think in a way the laws still have a purpose. Should an outbreak of something new occur it is undoubtedly easier for a state inspector to inspect hives that CAN be inspected without having to kill the whole hive, in that way uninfected hives are not killed unnecessarily and infected ones are easier to detect.

    [This message has been edited by GAbee (edited October 23, 2003).]

  16. #16
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    Jason please email me at Hillbillynursery@yahoo.com. You are the closest person I know of on the net. I have a couple of ? that are area related.

    I have the lumber so I plan on making some top bar hives. I am thinking of making a bee space by drilling holes near the ends of the bars so that I can place regular supers on my TBH. I got this thought after seeing the idea used by cutting the edge of the bars. By drilling in the middle of the bar right next to the end it may keep the bees from attatching the combs by them using this space as a passage. I made some boxes this year that were more or less going to be filled by the bees without frames because money got tight but this being my first year I did not need them but they have been handy for covering my feeding jars.

  17. #17
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    I wonder whether the anti-skep laws would actually be enforced? There are a few people in the UK keeping bees in skeps, but usually for demonstaration purposes rather than serious beekeeping.

    As far as the UK goes, there were some areas where the sulphur pit was used to kill off bees from skeps due to be harvested, and some where they were driven out. Once people started getting over a traditional prejudice against paying for bees, professional drivers could do well driving bees then selling them on. I don't know whether there's any truth in this, but I have heard that areas where there are high numbers of 'runny' strains correlate with areas where bee driving was the norm a century ago.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  18. #18
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    Runny strains? This sounds very interesting that there might be a correlation. Am I right in assuming you mean bees that abscond when you say runny strains?

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    hanson, ma, usa
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    Mr.Brenchley, I had not noticed previously that you are in the UK. Could you tell us a bit about beekeeping there? What type of bees do you keep, for example and do you have the same problems with mites?

  20. #20
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    Runny bees are ones that run about the comb and drop off the bottom while you're trying to examine them. Very unhelpful if you happen to be trying to find the queen.

    Most bees in the UK are A.m.m. (native)/Italian hybrids; mine are as near as possible pure A.m.m. The hybrids are a mixed bag, but givne that people keep importing bees from areas with distinctly different climates, we have a lot of strains around that really aren't well adapted to the conditions here. We have very few strong flows (heather being the great exception), but tend to have a long slow flow involving different species of honey plant. Colonies tend to be smaller than in the US, and one of the main requirements is the ability to survive long damp winters, and mate in unfavourable weather. Mites are the same as in the US, with resistant mites currently spreading across the country. We don't have SHB, so far at any rate. Brood diseases haven't been a great problem for many years, as a policy of burning has kept them well under control. For some reason, I suspect stress due to mites, EFB has become much more prevalent in recent years.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

    [This message has been edited by Robert Brenchley (edited November 16, 2003).]

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