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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default KTBH and USDA Question

    I'm starting an apprenticeship to go into being a master beekeeper. I have 2 Warre Hives and am starting my first Kenyan Top Bar Hive. One of the leaders at our club says that if I want to be in the master beekeeper program, I need to use Langstroth because the inspectors won't approve the Kenyan Top Bar Hives because of USDA rules. Is this true? Does USDA require framed hives? Where would I go to get the rules on USDA concerning the construction of a hive? Has anyone had experience with USDA inspectors and the KTBH?

    Thanks a lot,

    --Logan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default

    USDA has no authority over beehives at all. All fifty states have their own respective laws that require you to have inspectable and removable combs (which a KTBH has). Only one that I know of (Florida) specifies Langstroth in it's regs, but the inspectors don't take it to mean you can't have a KTBH nor do they take it that you can't have a British Standard hive. Only that it has to be inspectable. When someone says that skeps or other uninspectable hives are illegal in the US, that is only indirectly true. It is true that each state has passed a law against them. It is not true that there is any federal law on the subject.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Island County, WA, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    USDA has no authority over beehives at all. All fifty states have their own respective laws that require you to have inspectable and removable combs (which a KTBH has). Only one that I know of (Florida) specifies Langstroth in it's regs, but the inspectors don't take it to mean you can't have a KTBH nor do they take it that you can't have a British Standard hive. Only that it has to be inspectable. When someone says that skeps or other uninspectable hives are illegal in the US, that is only indirectly true. It is true that each state has passed a law against them. It is not true that there is any federal law on the subject.
    Thanks, Michael. I read the rules in Washington State (the RCW and the WAC), and I don't see anything prohibiting the KTBH. Do you happen to know where someone obscenely interested in reading the actual verbage of the federal policy might find the citations regarding apiaries? E.g., where you can read what the federal rules actually say about what is (and is not) "inspectable"?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default

    There is no federal law on the subject and therefore no verbage to read. If you wish to read the FCR (Federal Code of Regulations) for the USDA I'm sure your local library has it. Last time I was going through that the internet wasn't around and it was pretty time consuming. I would guess it's more accessible now and your local librarian should know how to get to it, but there will be no regulation on Apiaries as that is a State matter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/multidb.cgi

    Under "bees" and definitions:
    Beekeeping equipment. Equipment used to house and manage bees, including, but not limited to, bee boards, hive bodies, bee nests and nesting material, smokers, hive tools, gloves or other clothing, and shipping containers.

    Elsewhere in another reg it mentions "container" or "box".

    When I was a kid a typical taunt was, "Well you don't have to make a federal case out of it" for any minor, crybaby action........so the worst nightmare is that almost everything HAS become a federal case.
    Go and enjoy your bees on your property and PIFFLE on the federal regulations for a hobbyist enjoying them selves.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    637

    Default

    Sounds like the leader in question has issues with foundationless beekeeping!

    Hold fast to your Warres and KTBH!

    Matt

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