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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Upper Kingsclear, NB, Canada
    Posts
    73

    Default Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Hi all. I am planning to set a few swarm traps out this year.

    Has anyone ever had an issue being challenged by another beekeeper that you have trapped their bees (and maybe they want them back)? What is the legality of taking ownership of bees that move in from parts unknown? After all, there are beekeepers all over the place and most of the time we have no idea where other hives may be. Perhaps just around the corner.

    It's probably very unlikely, but it could happen that a beekeeper sees their bees swarming and going into a trap on someone else's property. Is it really finders keepers? In practical terms it almost always will be, but in law?

    I'm not really concerned about this, but it would be interesting to know if it's an issue where legal precedent has been established.

    cheers

    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    502

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Michigan has laws on the books regarding this. Basically it said that the bee owners is allowed to persue the swarm as long as they maintain visual contact with it during the pursuit. so, they need to be concerned with trespass laws while trying to recover their bees. I don;t recall if anything was said about them still belonging to the orignal keeper after they enter a swarm trap or structure.

    You might try the google and see what you come up with.

    From a practical standpoint, I figure that they are yours once they are in the trap. The previous beekeeper lost them when he could have managed to prevent or controll the swarming. Furthermore, the bees congregated somewhere in the open and waited for the scouts to find your trap....potentially DAYS have elapsed where the beekeeper could have recovered them. Why would he wait until they were in your trap to recover them?

    Others may have a differeing view.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Oxford, MS
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    if they end up in my swarm box they are mine

    DC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Harrisonburg Va
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Simple.....If they are in my box, they are mine.....if they move into your box, they are yours.....ingrateful bees....why would i want them anymore

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybeebee View Post
    ....If they are in my box, they are mine.....if they move into your box, they are yours.....ingrateful bees....why would i want them anymore
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Possession is 9/10ths of the law as they say. Once they are in your box on your land I don't see how anyone else could make a claim.

    Besides, chances are that someday your bees will swarm, just think of it as paying it forward.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,064

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    The way I look at it is that once the bees become airborn, the belong to no one. It isn't my fault they like my hive better! lol

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    if there your bees, just call them, they should know you and come right to ya! i caught a swarm last year. and know right where they came from. i am going to say if you set up a trap.any where other than the other keepers property, or outyard apiarie.
    THERE YOURS !
    thats the way i roll.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,643

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    I have spent years trying to catch a swarm from Charlie B's apiary in San Francisco and have to date failed. Purposely targeting a fellow beekeeper is challenging, fun and profitable. Wish me luck this year, the trap is set once again. Nothing would thrill me more than to see Charlie running south down 25th Avenue with a nuc box in his arms chasing his bees as they fly into my box.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    good luck. and if the bees leave the property. HEY THERE AWOL !
    thats the way i roll.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    3,998

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    according to ancient greek law, bees aren't owned. They are wild animals.
    Whoever's property the swarm lands on has the right to give them to you.
    Dan

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    If a body got aggressive with me about it I would dump them on the ground and put my box up. He can then collect HIS bees.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,417

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Oh come on be fair. Give the guy his foragers back and keep the nurse bees and brood because they were fathered under your care. He may have to pay child support for food and housing until they become adults.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    it is my understanding that in ny and most other states that a swarm belongs to the original owner only as long as he or she has them in sight and is chaseing. when they land anyone can catch them as long the original owner is not in persuit.once established the property owner owns the "wild swarm". posted no tresspassing signs do not really apply to an original owner persueing live stock [bees]... the interesting twist is that the original owner is responseable for damage even if he/she no longer technicaly owns the bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,417

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathesonequip View Post
    the interesting twist is that the original owner is responseable for damage even if he/she no longer technicaly owns the bees.
    Where would the "damage" come in from a swarm?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Trapping swarms - whose bees are they?

    if my bees swarm and the bees go across the street and get into my neighbors wall or chimney and then sometime afterward sting his favorite pet ferret.... i would likely be liable.... if i was not watching at the time the bees swarmed, so i could catch them immediatly, then the bees would be the property of my weasel loveing neighbor despite my liability.
    Last edited by mathesonequip; 03-16-2013 at 04:21 PM.

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