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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Ok, time to talk about what change will look like if there is any change.

    The “reciprocal” word has reared its ugly head. What are the hive inspection laws in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi? I understand the bee inspection law in Georgia is very lax. What is the truth of the matter?

    I HAVE NO ILLUSIONS, UNLIKE SOME HERE I BELIEVE THAT STATE OR GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF ANY INDUSTRY IS THE WORST OF ALL POSSIABLE WORLDS.

    However, if I breed cattle, and only one cow in my herd tests positive for bangs disease (all cattle sold at auction are tested) the state will step in, brand my cattle on the jaw with a "B" and destroy the herd down to and including my last head, furthermore, I am not allowed to keep cattle again for X number of years. The same is true if one horse on my property tests positive for Coggins, all the horses on my property pay the ultimate price.

    Do you wish parity with the beef and dairy industry for your bees? Well there it is right above these words.


    The time for debate is over, the time to vote has arrived. How many of you within the sound of this post, who in the future have a hive test positive for AFB, (the bangs disease of the bee world) will gladly burn all your bees and all your bee equipment and keep no more bees ever again for X number of years?

    All of those voting for this new rule please signify by saying aye.
    All of those opposed to this rule signify using the same sign.

    come on now, speak up!
    Last edited by Scrapfe; 02-03-2011 at 09:44 PM.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapfe View Post
    How many of you within the sound of this post, who in the future have a hive test positive for AFB, (the bangs disease of the bee world) will gladly burn all your bees and all your bee equipment and keep no more bees ever again for X number of years?

    All of those voting for this new rule please signify by saying aye.
    All of those opposed to this rule signify using the same sign.

    come on now, speak up!
    Well, not "gladly". But if that's the law then I feel obligated to comply. Virginia, my last domicile, has a similar law--although I don't think you're banned from keeping bees for years afterward, not sure. I knew at least one beekeeper, personally, who burned all his hives, or burned a good sum of 'em due to AFB. I discovered he'd done this when I met him at a local bee supply store in Bealton, VA, and asked him, "Mike, why are you buying all this brand new equipment?"

    I've never had AFB, but I'm sure i will before I die, assuming that's 40 years or more off. I was told that some with AFB can spare the bees yet burnthe equipment. If given the choice I'd try to spare my bees.
    "...the most populous colonies ...are provided by queens ...in the year following their birth." Brother Adam

  4. #63
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Eek, You are mostly correct. But those were the second shipment of queens from Africa selected by Dr. Kerr that escaped. The first SELECT shipment was killed with pesticides by an ignorant customs agent. Dr. Kerr imediately went back to Africa and basically got what ever stock he could find. Some of that stock even came from South Africa. The bees were not all "Scuttelata". Back to the Dilution is the Solution--it goes a little deeper than genetics. If your EHB's are able to hold their own in a particular territory and use up the resources. Then AHB's can not get a foothold, then you are diluting their ability to pass on their genetics by taking away their resources and habitat. Which brings us full circle back to the Alabama law and the lack of bees in my state. Now, those viruses that you have a great fear of--You will not stop them as you have already stated. Passing dumb laws to keep out bees on comb will not stop them. The Africanized honey bee has an ally that is a symbiote and evolved together with the bee. It is called the hive beetle. The beetle is a dirty little creature that is chocked full of viruses and yeasts. The AHB has those same microbes. And like most states, you already have the hive beetle!! My ancestors, some which were American Indian, met on the East Coast, some of my European Ancestors. Well, the outcome for my Indian relatives was not too good. My European Ancestors were chocked full of diseases that my native relatives had no immunity to and were wiped out. Thus my European Ancestors had an easy time moving into territory previously held by the Indians. The same is occuring with the meeting of two great populations of honeybees. Our EHBs do not have the natural immunity yet, to combat the viruses that AHB along with it's ally, the beetle, carries. It is just another weapon in the dirty bag of tricks that the African honey bee has in taking over colonies and territory. AHB has been introduced into the USA before. Look at the old journals from the very early part of the 20th century and you will find them being sold to beekeepers. There was a malady called Bee Paralysis that was giving beekeepers fits back in the 40's,50's and 60's. So Steve Taber bred a bee back in the late sixties that was 98 percent AHB to use in combating that problem. The stock was resistant to the paralysis problem. So stock from that program was released to the breeders across the south in the early 70's and paralysis was cured. BUT HELLO!, disappearing disease occured and thousands of EHB colonies were lost. It was attributed to the AHB stock. (YOU can read about this breeding program in some of the old bee source archives) I remember it, because I was a newbee when all this happened. It seems that every time EHB's encounter AHB's, EHB's die out by the droves. Maybe the anomoly called CCD has been around a long time but we have called it by different name in the past. So regulations around the borders of the great state of Massachusetts might keep bees out, and ruin your state's agriculture. It will not keep out the hive beetle, that already carries the same microbes. I Knew Dr. Morse, he was a very knowledgable man on honeybees. When he made the statement "Dilution is the Solution", he was not talking about genetics alone. TK

  5. #64
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    @Scrafe
    "...the 26 Africanized "queens" you renfered to as escaping (in Argentina I think it was in 1956) escaped when a worker not in the loop removed the drone traps or screens from 26 hives with African queens, allowing both Africanized drones and Africanized queens to escape their hives..."

    Okay, here is my source.

    http://apisenterprises.com/papers_ht...20Americas.htm
    Citation:
    White, W. “The bees from Rio Claro” New Yorker, September 16, 1991.

    The passage was:
    "All was progressing well until one day in the fall of 1957 when a visiting beekeeper removed the barriers (queen excluders) keeping the queens from escaping. Twenty-six of the queens accompanied by swarms of workers left these hives and are considered the origin of the so-called Africanized honey bee."

    You are right, my account was incomplete. The swarms mentioned would have presumably included drones. These would have been F1 drones, a 50% dilution, because the African and European chromosomes got shuffled when the F1 queens were produced. Since drones have no father, they carry the filial number of their mother. Breeding with local European queens would yield a F2 generation 75% diluted. The large numbers of drones produced and the ready availability of European queens suggests now to me that most of the Africanized F2 offspring would have come this way, European queens with Africanized drones.

    There is a possibility that these F1 drones may have also mated with their sisters, or rather it is likely that F2 queens mated with their brothers. Such inbreeding would yield offspring that were (25% + 50%)/2 = 37% Africanized or 63% diluted. The prevalence of inbreeding in the released lines must be assumed low for the hypothesis "dilution is the solution" to have merit. But, for completeness it should be mentioned. Thank you for bringing these details to my attention. It does not help the dilution case though.

    In this source the release was fall 1957 at Rio Claro near Sao Paulo in Brazil.

  6. #65
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    Well, not "gladly". ...I've never had AFB, but I'm sure i will before I die...
    I would try to spare my bees as well and I have heard that AFB is not a big issue in the south, but that it is more prevelent the further North you go where bees are forced to stay in the hive for more or most of the winter. I don't know this to be true I only surmized it from what I read. Someone in the know comment on this for us.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  7. #66
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    you are probably right. EHB bees and Queens will have to come from somewhere.
    I really can not take credit for this idea as my own original one... it has been presented on this forum and in talks by a well respected Northern Queen producer...but it has taken me a while for it to really sink in. Now when I look around at the problems occurring I see how much sense it makes. I think that more of us who are new to the craft need to learn how to make our own queens and definitely make our own splits and nucs- and/or support these efforts in our local and regional areas. There is a huge shift in this direction going on now in our area.
    karla

  8. #67
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    I think I will retire to a tropical location and set up the "Carribean Queen company" when the time is right.
    Met a beekeeper and saw some gentle bees in the US Virgin Islands not long ago.. so when you're ready... just give a shout for the connect.
    karla

  9. #68
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eek-a-beek View Post
    The swarms mentioned would have presumably included drones. These would have been F1 drones, a 50% dilution, because the African and European chromosomes got shuffled when the F1 queens were produced....
    In the dilution/solution scenario, an important fact is being overlooked. Africans have a trait that negates the dilution. Usurpation is common with Africans. Small swarms enter the apiary and land on the bottom board of a European colony. After a number of days, the swarm creeps into the hive, protecting their African queen. When the European queen is found, the swarm bees kill her and the swarm queen takes over the colony. In this way, African genes are introduced undiluted into the European population. I've read that Arizona apiaries have experienced 20% usurpation during the swarming or absconding times of the year.

  10. #69
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    @TK So I take it you have read Jared Diamond's tedious Liberal political rant "Guns, Germs, and Steel." You are applying to bees the thesis he popularized there explaining the role disease plays when one population displaces another. This idea has merit, although not enough to excuse Diamond's unscholarly digressions into poli-babble. Thank you for the suggestion that the concept is relevant here. If this is your own insight then you are quite intelligent.

    You go on to say that the Africanized bees have recently been re-united with their age old partner SHB, the small hive beetle. Together they form a powerful tag-team able to spread more successfully, perhaps explaining the recent new encroachments after a lull in AHB advancement. This is also a clever observation and possibly true.

    The conclusion you draw is that it is time to pull out all the stops and deal seriously with the threat of a AHB takeover. To that end you invoke Morse and take his stand to mean crowing out AHB with EHB. You suggest that if all the hives through out the country are brought down South to winter in zones, like Alabama, where AHB proliferation is a danger then bee populations could temporarily exceed the carrying capacity of the land. Migrant colonies coming in fully loaded with (HFCS) honey do not go hungry but likewise do not stop foraging. They would therefore starve feral AHB colonies out by simply competing with them for food resources during the winter dearth.

    On the face of it this might plausibly work although the numbers would have to be huge and as you indicated earlier the response by commercial beekeepers nationwide to an invitation from Alabama is not likely to be overwhelming. As a half-way measure it would do more harm than good since high migrant populations spread disease and no good comes of it unless numbers get high enough to suppress AHB.

    Ignoring practicality, is it wise to try starving AHB out with over crowding? If AHB has any chance to spread into an area then it is because there is adequate winter forage for colonies to survive in spite of their meager stores. If there is winter forage then other indigenous species surely exist that have been depending on it. This would also endanger them. Suppose it does not work; it would be a shame to drive a local sub-species to extinction with a policy that in the end fails to stop AHB.

    Small hive beetles mostly die off in the northern winters. After a severe winter, infestations here are due to reintroduction from migratory colonies. Nation wide those migratory beekeepers that winter in the South plague the North. It would be better for the country, and certainly for Massachusetts, if the Feds would mandate that other states have laws like Alabama rather than to encourage more north-south seasonal migration. It would even help if only east-west migration were allowed.

    As to the Diamond disease hypothesis, it is probably more correctly applied the other way around. As AHB came northward it finally reached the disease cesspool that is the USA and was stopped. EHB diseases stopped AHB advancement. This is why we had a reprieve. Although AHB is resistant to mites and beetles, it is equally vulnerable to viruses and other pathogens that evolve rapidly to elude host adaptation. Migrant beekeeping in USA created conditions AHB had not encountered before because countries south of the border do not move colonies on such a large scale. Perhaps initially in South or Latin America AHB had disease allies but they spread northward faster and have been here already for decades. New strains having evolved in our local populations combined with other diseases from around the world, places such as Asia whose strains were never seen by African bees, posed a challenge that AHB colonies could not meet.

    You could, I suppose, argue that nurturing our disease pool is a defense against AHB with some empirical evidence of success. Hence we should increase the migratory practices that spread disease. The problem with this argument is that EHB losses are already too high and such a policy would make them worse. It is like shooting yourself in the foot to cure a limp. And anyway, how do you know AHB is not actually a good neighbor to EHB when there is a SHB infestation? AHB colonies may attract SHB away from EHB colonies because they emit more alarm pheromone and are therefore more interesting to the beetles.

    It is also possible that there never really was a reprieve or lull in AHB encroachment. AHB man be already fully entrenched. SHB makes a colony cranky due to the stench of alarm pheromone from rotting pollen contaminated by a yeast, Kodamaea ohmeri, tracked in by the beetles. Perhaps AHB colonies have been winding down aggressively due to genetic dilution after all, meaning perhaps Morse was right, but once SHB infests a colony they reach again those heights of nastiness that draw attention. When checked for Africanization a hive that was defensive generally checks positive because there are so many such hives but what is really happening is that SHB is making colonies meaner. The meanest ones are Africanized but they would have gone unnoticed if it were not for being SHB infested. This is remotely possible, although admittedly unlikely, but if it is the case then ramping up to battle AHB would be futile. The war is already lost.

  11. #70
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Can a poll be added to this thread? I'd like to see where the numbers fall re: those who think the AL law should be repealed vs those who think it should stay as is. I think the consensus (sp?) is that it should be repealed, but by what margin?

    BTW, how many of you AL beeks will be in Auburn tomorrow? I plan to go. If anyone wants to meet up in central AL, perhaps at or near exit 234 at the Shelby County Airport, PM me or phone 205.516.9589.

    -james

  12. #71
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    I got you thinking Eek. No it is not a "Diamond" concept but survival of the fittest. You are dealing with the following scourges with AHB--Colony Upsurtion---F1 hybrid, AHB/EHB that is genetically inferior---viruses and yeast associated with AHB and SHB---Unpredictable agressive behavior--faster emergence times from egg to adult---different drone flight times---Queen preference for AHB drones and the last but most overlooked problem. The intercast upsurption problem. The intercaste have already been spread nationwide. So, Eek The war is already as you said "lost" so why would you want to fester the wounds by federal enforcement of Alabama type laws on other states??? TK

  13. #72
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    So, Eek The war is already as you said "lost" so why would you want to fester the wounds by federal enforcement of Alabama type laws on other states???

    That was a hypothetical, "remotely possible, although admittedly unlikely, but if it is the case then ramping up to battle AHB would be futile. The war is already lost." The war in question being that against AHB becoming established throughout the South, your war. The war you would recruit migratory beekeepers for, a tactic that would require the Comb Law be repealed. This being your justification for a change that you believe would benefit you and others like yourself in the state of Alabama. But it does not seem likely to me that AHB has become entrenched unnoticed and that only now are SHB infestations bringing AHB colonies to our attention. I only raised that as a possibility that should be ruled out before unsheathing your sword.

    But, let me take your question in a more general sense so that I can address what seems to be a common viewpoint. CCD is already here, mites and beetles are already here, numerous viruses are already here so what is the point of imposing quarantine? Is that not locking the barn after the horse has been stolen?

    No. Things can always get worse. Viruses mutate and adapt as do bacteria and parasites. When that happens a lot can be gained by containing the new outbreak in a limited region. Quarantine always helps and it is the main line of defense against viruses, even during or especially during the height of an outbreak. Furthermore, as the testing in Massachusetts showed, not all viruses known to afflict bees are epidemic in the migratory population. This means that a lot is to be gained by a quarantine that stops them from becoming so. Since beekeepers are on the ropes already, fending off even one punch can keep them on their feet.

    I sincerely believe that we are just now seeing the beginning of the CCD problem which is about to get much worse. It is actually in part due to Free Trade treaties that are fairly recent and which opened the country to infestations of all sorts, not just of bees. But also it is due to migratory beekeeping which is relatively new. Both assume diseases can be ignored which is fallacious. It takes time for a mistake like that to bear its rotten fruit. The harvest is starting now. I think disease is too abstract an idea for most people to take seriously because humanity seems to chronically ignore its implications. If we ignore reality, though, in the end it bites us. I believe CCD will escalate until beekeeping becomes economically irrelevant to agriculture and honey a rare curiosity of interest primarily to Sunday School teachers wanting to show the kids what honey meant as in "Land of milk and honey." Quarantine is the only thing that has a chance stop the train before it derails, which is why I am advocating it. The Alabama Comb Law is a quarantine law which is why I am a fan of it.

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Eek, I am glad you are such an ardent supporter of our bee laws in Alabama! I watched a very proud industry die due to fact that we are cut off from the mainstream of beekeeping economics. I am the last man standing!!!! Sure, Eek You will take care of ALL your beekeeping problems through a closed border state. Yes, we do not have any problems any more because we do not have any bees left!! I have very few hives beetles, very low AFB, no nosema and very low mite infestations because I have no neighbors. AND NO WAY TO REPLACE BEES QUICKLY WHEN THEY DIE OFF! There are no package and queen breeders left. You can not just go out and buy bees in the states around you due to the "no comb law". Package bees--forget it, the georgia package producers have old line customers that book 8 months in advance.You can not buy supers of comb when the honey flow is hot, heavy and you really need them-no comb law. And there are no neighbors to buy them from.Because you are in a economic beekeeping backwater called Alabama, your monetary resources are not as great as your beekeeping buddies in the states around you. Your equipment cost thus are greater then in surrounding states because you are forced to buy new--no comb law. How many hives you have?? I bet you do not own many and do not understand the economics of running a commercial operation. I have 1800. Tell you what Eek, before you put your head in a hangmans noose, you are more than welcome to come to Alabama and experience what it is like to keep bees in a extremely regulated state like Alabama. I LIVE HERE, you have no idea what it is like to put up with the crap of that horrible antiquated law that has outlived its usefulness and needs to be repealed. This year only 400 beekeepers registered colonies of bees in the State of Alabama. Eek do know how many square miles this state is??? So how many beekeepers and beehives is that to the square mile, section, township and range. Do the math!! Go ahead and KILL your state's [email protected]! WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES. TED KRETSCHMANN PS Eek we allow bees into the State of Alabama under strict compliance to pollinate the states crops--because we do not have any bees.
    Last edited by Barry; 02-07-2011 at 08:03 AM.

  15. #74
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Okay, so I looked it up for comparison and although these numbers are from a few years ago, the states probably still rank in a similar order. I know you said there are only 8K colonies left of the 13.4K listed but I expect counts are down nationwide. Farm acres are likely nearly the same.

    http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publica..._2_021_021.pdf

    http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publica..._2_008_008.pdf

    Alabama: 13,464/9,033,537 = 0.00149 hives per acre or 671 acres per hive
    Massachusetts: 8,255/517,879 = 0.0159 hives per acre or 63 acres per hive

    So we have about ten times as many hives per acre of farmland compared to you. That is remarkable. However, in total hive counts Alabama is comparable to Tennessee and many states have hive counts around that number.

    I want you to know that I have a lot of respect for you for being the last man standing. It takes good judgement to always be the one who did not make a mistake. It also takes spirit not to get discouraged and give up when setbacks happen; you mentioned three crashes I think. I can understand each of the issues you outlined and I can imagine the trouble they are for you. I feel bad that you are so obviously exasperated by the situation in your state. Clearly it is holding you back and a man like you deserves more success than you could have hoped for in Alabama. I am surprised you stayed all these years.

    But, stay for a while more. Mark my words; you will have the last laugh. These laws that you hate and which I am a fan of will save you in the end. Alabama will be less hard hit by the problems that plague the rest of the nation and in the end Alabama will be a success story of beekeeping. When that happens you personally will be a super star. Be patient.

  16. #75
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Time will tell, Eek. TK

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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    ...Package bees--forget it, the georgia package producers have old line customers that book 8 months in advance...
    Ted, did you notice Dennis dodged my question today at the symposium? "What percentage of Alabama's orders for packages come from Georgia and are plans being made to anticipate those packages having Africanized bees?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    ...I watched a very proud industry die due to fact that we are cut off from the mainstream of beekeeping economics. I am the last man standing!!!! ...we do not have any problems any more because we do not have any ...bees left!! ...I have ...NO WAY TO REPLACE BEES QUICKLY WHEN THEY DIE OFF! There are no package and queen breeders left. You can not just go out and buy bees in the states around you due to the "no comb law". ....you are more than welcome to come to Alabama and experience what it is like to keep bees in a extremely regulated state like Alabama. I LIVE HERE, you have no idea what it is like to put up with the ...horrible antiquated law that has outlived its usefulness and needs to be repealed. ...WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES.

    Ted, thanks for showing me around today. I don't know how I can help but I know of 3 board of directors who think like you, me and markmaster. There is a growing movement to bring this law out of the 13th century and modify it. I hope you'll join me in the federation, and live the Russian proverb!
    "...the most populous colonies ...are provided by queens ...in the year following their birth." Brother Adam

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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eek-a-beek View Post
    ... Be patient.


    The fact he's stuck it out all these years, and you think you need to add that?

    Um, ok.
    "...the most populous colonies ...are provided by queens ...in the year following their birth." Brother Adam

  19. #78
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    Ted, thanks for showing me around today. I don't know how I can help but I know of 3 board of directors who think like you, me and markmaster. There is a growing movement to bring this law out of the 13th century and modify it. I hope you'll join me in the federation, and live the Russian proverb!
    Dang, where were you? I saw Ted off and on during the day, but didn't get to speak with you (although I did hear your question to Barclift).

  20. #79
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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    Two of my wives were either russian lineage or russian. Strict compliance is the answer to the law. I have already proved it works. I pollinated four years running in California. I participated in the nat'l disease and pest survey and much to the chagrin of the powers that bee, I have some of the cleanest bees in the State. Strict Compliance WORKS! So let us gear up for one hell of a fight that is coming, rewrite this antiquated law and bring the law and Alabama into the twenty first century. The other side wants to put a fifteen thousand dollar fine in the law, if you are caught bringing bees on comb into the state. What sort of stupidity is that ??? I learned that yesterday. God, they are so ignorant to the fact that they are cutting their own throats. They will NOT be able to purchase package bees one day from their favorite source-Georgia. They need to be thinking ahead to the future what if's. TK

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    Default Re: Calling all Alabama beekeepers: No comb law...yes or no?

    How many wives do you have, Ted? LOL It was good meeting you at the symposium yesterday. -James (in Montevallo)

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