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Thread: The illegal TBH

  1. #1
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    Default The illegal TBH

    I'm in Austin, Texas which is subject to the following laws:

    A beehive is "infectious if the bees are not hived with movable frames" and therefore "the chief apiary inspector may seize and order the destruction, treatment, or sale of a colony of bees, equipment, pollen, or honey, etc."
    -Texas State Agriculture Code; Title 6; Subtitle A; Chapter 131; Subchapter B; Sec. 131.021

    "A person shall keep a colony in a Langstroth-type hive with removable frames that is maintained in sound and usable condition."
    -City of Austin Ordinance Chapter 3-6-3 (A)

    Many cities/counties/states have similar laws on the books. What are your thoughts on keeping bees in a TBH as a hobbyist when it is contrary to the law but where Langstroth hives are allowed?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    A TBH has removable bars that, for the purpose of inspection, function just the same as removable frames do.

    If there are states where TBHs are functionally not allowed, they haven't been mentioned on Beesource AFAIK.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    A TBH has removable bars that, for the purpose of inspection, function just the same as removable frames do.

    If there are states where TBHs are functionally not allowed, they haven't been mentioned on Beesource AFAIK.
    Functionally allowed and legal are not the same thing. I do understand and agree with your sentiment, though. I do not believe this city ordinance would ever be enforced on a TBH. I'm just curious how people feel about keeping bees contrary to the law (even if functionally allowed). One other thing to consider is that these types of statutes/ordinances are only ever enforced based on complaints. Do you fear that this opens your apiary to vulnerability that a Lang apiary might not be subject to if someone just doesn't like the idea of beekeeping? In my case, it would be pretty clear that I'm violating a city ordinance.

    For the record, I am totally fine doing it and I'm an advocate of the TBH. I'm just curious to hear how people feel about these laws in relation to their own TBH beekeeping.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Call your State Apiculturalist and see if they enforce such a rule. I doubt that they do.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Note that it can be very difficult to tell without looking inside a hive whether there are frames or simply bars. Certainly with a horizontal hive (vertical sides) you could even have frames intermixed with bars in the same box.
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Great point sqkcrk. Actually, in Texas they're not illegal, they're merely categorized as "infectious" but there's no way they would enforce that. But at the city level, I'm sure there's someone who could fill me in as to if they would ever enforce.

    How do people feel about the way the law is written? Is it something worth trying to address or better to ignore and assume "movable comb" is what they meant or that a TBH is close enough to a Lang to fulfil the spirit of the law?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Note that it can be very difficult to tell without looking inside a hive whether there are frames or simply bars. Certainly with a horizontal hive (vertical sides) you could even have frames intermixed with bars in the same box.
    I almost prefer the covert rebellion that you are advocating. It adds a little more danger an intrigue to the hobby

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by palangi View Post
    Great point sqkcrk. Actually, in Texas they're not illegal, they're merely categorized as "infectious" but there's no way they would enforce that. But at the city level, I'm sure there's someone who could fill me in as to if they would ever enforce.

    How do people feel about the way the law is written? Is it something worth trying to address or better to ignore and assume "movable comb" is what they meant or that a TBH is close enough to a Lang to fulfil the spirit of the law?
    Here's a little secret just between you and me. Most Apiary Laws aren't enforced, not enough Inspectors or Budget. Those that are have a grace period in which to comply. They often don't stand up in Court if they even get in front of a Judge. Judges have better, more pressing concerns to deal w/ such as traffic tickets.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Just a poorly worded law written by a non-beekeeper to differentiate between inspectable hives and skeps or gums.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    Just a poorly worded law written by a non-beekeeper to differentiate between inspectable hives and skeps or gums.
    Agree. A TBH is a Langstroth-type hive. Not a skep type.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    A TBH is a Langstroth-type hive.
    What?! I think Rev. LLL would argue w/ you on that. Maybe you meant a TBH is more like a Langstroth than a skep.

    By the way, skeps are inspectable. You just can't easily look at the brood comb.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Sounds like once again those folks in Austin were trying to do something good and used some advice, but just misunderstood it (or were given some advice by someone that doesn't know a lot or just dislikes other styles of bee hives). One way or another, again Austin has been mislead.

    You might try one of these methods:
    one contact someone that maintains TBH and can talk well (has the gift of gab) to call your city council man and point out the issue and ask for an amendment or

    two gather up good photos from the net that clearly show how both langs and TBH both have "removable frames" and both have the capacity to fit this part of the ordinance "that is maintained in sound and usable condition.".

    If you go route two, you want photos that sell your point, so don't think that photos of you or friends are the best cause they show something similar. You want photos of someone holding up frames with the hive box in the background and the slot where the bar came from is clearly visible. Maybe even doing a photo day the hive to get these photos.

    If you go route one, beware of someone that sells TBHs as the nature and healthy way to keep bee being much better than Langs,. You never know how the council person knows or who is their family member. If they have associates that have Langs, well you might just bee peeing in their coffee and the door is closed before it is opened. I know the man who helped me the most has serious dislikes of most TBH people because he has heard the above sell so many times, yet has been working bees for 40 years and helped a lot with some of the USDA work in LA.

    Get an appointment and go make the sell, let your council person hear the truth they made a mistake that unfairly discriminates against small time backyard bee keepers, and then sell the point that bee numbers are down and Austin needs to be willing to help more people keep bees in their backyard so that nature benefits.

    Good Luck
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by palangi View Post
    I'm in Austin, Texas which is subject to the following laws:

    A beehive is "infectious if the bees are not hived with movable frames" and therefore "the chief apiary inspector may seize and order the destruction, treatment, or sale of a colony of bees, equipment, pollen, or honey, etc."
    -Texas State Agriculture Code; Title 6; Subtitle A; Chapter 131; Subchapter B; Sec. 131.021

    "A person shall keep a colony in a Langstroth-type hive with removable frames that is maintained in sound and usable condition."
    -City of Austin Ordinance Chapter 3-6-3 (A)

    Many cities/counties/states have similar laws on the books. What are your thoughts on keeping bees in a TBH as a hobbyist when it is contrary to the law but where Langstroth hives are allowed?
    I think "Langstroth-type" is meant to be a hive with moveable frames, not a square box. So, your TBH would be legal as long as you can take the frames out for inspections.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    "Langstroth-type".

    If not defined in the ordinance, the next question is intent. When was it written and what was the intent. My guess is before TBH was a commonly known term. Intent was to outlaw non removable frame types. If you really want to find intent you could search the records as it was being drafted and debated, or we could do a Beesource and debate it for 4 pages.

    Not trying to debate skeps, commonly believed to be non removable frames.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    They are almost equally inspectable. All you might need to do is educate the Inspectors of that.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH



    Sometimes we need a little Civil Disobedience.
    The average American commits 3 felonies a day without realizing it.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...38900830760842
    http://www.threefeloniesaday.com/You...6/Default.aspx

    Ayn Rand 'There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. ... One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws..

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Awesome points. I especially like the idea that Langstroth-type could be interpreted as TBH and assume that "movable frame" means movable comb. Or even interpret the law in a way that fits the language like that the bees build a "frame" around their comb and the top-bar and "frame" are movable.

    I also love the civil disobedience approach. That was a fun video.

    I'm not sure if it would be worth trying to change wording in the laws/ordinances, but that might be an opportunity to educate people about movable comb hives that you can make in your garage.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Every inspector I've asked the question of in every state I've had the opportunity has said they only care that it has movable combs and is inspectable. They don't care if it's a top bar hive, or a British Standard hive, even if the law specifies "Langstroth" (and several do).

    >The average American commits 3 felonies a day without realizing it.

    That really come home to me when I was on a city bus and stepped up to the front anticipating exiting the bus and the driver said I was in violation of Federal law because I was in front of the line on the floor at the front of the bus... that, apparently, is a Federal crime... and I had always thought of myself as a law abiding citizen...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Every inspector I've asked the question of in every state I've had the opportunity has said they only care that it has movable combs and is inspectable. They don't care if it's a top bar hive, or a British Standard hive, even if the law specifies "Langstroth" (and several do).
    Same experience here, although mine complains a bit about the brand new foundationless frames when he happens upon them. They are fragile in the heat.

  20. #20
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    Vernon, AZ. USA
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    Default Re: The illegal TBH

    A top bar with a starter strip generally remains removable for it's useful life. I can always remove them, and if your "Apiary Inspector" is too incompetent to do so you may have a job available! And, definitely grounds for a complaint.
    This law is a case of (now-adays) someone picking fly specks from pepper. Outside of a commercial beeyard I can't imagine some incredibly bored and underworked inspector would even harrass anyone in a home/hobby situation. Just no fines/taxes in it to confiscate. So called infected bees are destroyed. So why would they?

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