I am glad to see everyone is having fun and good luck with their TBHs this year. I only have 2, and that is a big mistake. It is hard to stay out of the hives! they are too much fun to work. I am adding 3 more TBHs for next season, maybe I can spend less time bothering them then if I have to spread my interference around.
I am curious to know if any of you have had your TBHs inspected? My local inspector knows I have TBHs and neither he nor his wife (both "master beekeepers" who sell equipment, and are active in the local clubs) approve of them. They think of them as an archaic and in their words "destructive" method of beekeeping. I made my hives to look nice, pitched roofs with cedar shingles, and everything is clean and spotless. What else would you do to try to win over a potentially hostile inspector? I thought of giving them some nice virgin comb honey, but would that be considered a bribe?
Maybe he is thinking its a hive without movable comb and that is why he is saying it's 'destructive'? Might be worthwhile to ask him why he thinks that, it sounds like a misunderstanding.
The national bee inspector in the UK visited our club to give a lecture on disease, and when asked about a TBH, he had no problem with it and was enthusiastic about me trying it out as a beginner.
As for archaic, I see nothing wrong with allowing bees to carry on a 70 million year tradition :>
I would make extra certain they are easy to inspect. Straight combs, etc.
This could backfire but maybe you could invite him over to inspect them with you and show him how well setup everything is. Maybe he is just uneducated about them.
I suspect that the bee inspector thinks that as soon as the new wears off the TBH beekeeper will neglect his hives, allowing them to become a mass of immovable comb. There is no question that burr comb and brace comb can totally destroy the functional integrity of a TBH. About all you can do is show him how a well managed TBH behaves.
So far I have not found time to make the pretty roofs you describe, but I definitely have one in my future.
I think "sells equipment" is the key to their hostility. After all you don't seem to be taking much advice or buying much equipment from the "Master" beekeepers. :> ) Kicked him in the wallet, you did. And as a "master" they might fear a little ignorance of tbhs too.
The destructive part probably relates to not reusing the comb. But the bees build comb so effortlessly in a tbh, a fact they are probably unaware of, it's hardly destructive. And if comb is rotated, it certainly is constructive in keeping out broodnest contaimination.
Don't fear. The state runs by rules of law. Just make sure you comply with the law and let the inspectors take care of themselves. I wouldn't encourage them to enter into your affairs. If they're hostile because of an economic or ego threat, nothing will assuage them.
If you leave them alone. They will probably go away :> ) But if they don't, make sure you understand their legal bounds. And make sure they know you understand their legal bounds.
We have 100% inspection in Florida annually. I can't even register my new hives until the inspector comes to see them first.
I have made friends with the Chief and Assistant Chief of the department and the Assistant Chief is a TBH user and supports their use, and so any inspector I have a problem with I won't have a problem with for very long.
I agree that getting the hive prepared for inspection is key. If you aren't doing a very good job keeping bees in a TBH I don't really think you should. Not every hive gets off to a good start and build combs in ways that make us beekeepers cringe, but with a diligent first couple of weeks, inspecting 2 or 3 times a week to make sure combs are looking good is all that is needed.
I have to add, that if the inspecter says anything about your TBH you have a very simple recourse. The inspecter is in conflect of interest. Period. you are, a. In compitition with him. B. He is a retailer of products used in the field. Both of thoes are major red flags, and, if he says anything, you can take him to court. He would loose his job, and worse. There are saposed to be laws to stop that sort of thing.
I don't think I kicked him in the wallet too much, I bought some things, bee jacket with veil, smoker, hive tools, etc. from him. He is a good guy, and has been helpful when I needed it, he gave me Dr. Mangums contact info. He only sells a little bit of equipment, and distributes catalogs at the meetings for the larger dealers (Dadant, Mann Lakes, etc..).
I guess hostile was a strong word. He disaproves of TBHs and yes ,I think the comb taking is a big part of it. Perhaps if I could demonstrate the speed with which they can draw it that would go a long way.
I guess that what I wanted was not to find out how to win a fight, there hasn't been one, and my hives are easily worked and inspected, gentle, and clean, so there shouldn't be. But how to win him over, to get him to see that TBHs are a viable beekeeping method, not something that the crazy scientist down the street does as an experiment. The concerns were brought up after a conversation with a nearby beekeeper who came over to see my TBHs (and now has built and started one! )and expressed concern as to getting his inspected.
As I am sure all of you know, most American books on beekeeping in their introductory chapters strongly advise against trying any hive design other than a Lang'. Most of the people I have talked to do not even know what a TBH is, and have little or no interest in finding out. That is the most frustrating thing. I think that I will make a slide show, and a 10 frame or so portable observation hive to take to meetings. Maybe some web savy TBH beekeeper knows of a way that we can all post and share pictures. Then it would be easy to build a powerpoint presentation. I would be happy to put it all together, then post it for anyone to use/ modify as PR in their area.