>Beekeeper B if using sumac soley as a smoker fuel would not be using it illegally because he has no intent to kill or mitigate a pest.
Actually this may not quite be true. If infact it is illegal to use sumac as smoker fuel to control pests in a beehive, then it is an illegal act to use it in a beehive period. Ignorance of the law or lack of intent are not a defense for commiting an illegal act unless intent is specifically codified in the law. That being said in reality they are treated much different. Following is an analology to illustrate:
The Law: It is illegal in the United States to posess the dried pods or straw of the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum). No distinction is defined in the law regarding the violator's intent, it is illegal to posess it period.
Gardener A: An 80-year old woman who grows "ornamental" poppies in her flower beds. She saves the dried pods from year to year as a seed source to maintain her beds. She believes that "ornamental" poppies are not the same as opium poppies and has no knowledge to the contrary.
Gardener B: A 60-year old man who grows "ornamental" poppies in his flower beds and saves the dried pods from year to year. He has written and published articles on how to grow "ornamental" poppies and promotes the use of the pods/straw to make "opium" tea for use as a mild sedative/analgesic.
Both gardners are performing an illegal act (posession of poppy pods/straw).
Gardener A has very little risk of being arrested or prosecuted.
Gardener B not only is at high risk of being arrested, if he is, it is almost guaranteed that he will be prosecuted because his knowledge and intent are easily documented and can be used against him in court.
I don't personally know if using sumac smoke could be considered an illegal act, since I have not done an exhaustive research of the applicable laws in my state. My gut feeling is that it would be almost impossible to apply the pesticide control laws in my state to this unless there was an "incident" involving sumac smoke being used in beehives that had been proven to be detrimental to human health in a major way. Sumac smoke is not a well known, documented highly used pesticide. If, in the absence of a law specifically forbiding its use, it could be determined based on existing pesticide laws that using sumac smoke was indeed an illegal act, a beekeeper using sumac smoke in almost any circumstances would most probably be viewed similarly to Gardner A above unless he/she had publicly documented and promoted its use as a pesticide. This still begs the question: "Should I use it?" Since the evidence of its effectiveness is "anecdotal" at best IMO its a question each beekeeper should ask themself and make an informed decision based on his/her own comfort level and sense of ethics.
[size="1"][ July 03, 2006, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: Gene Weitzel ][/size]
"The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."