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Discussion Starter #1
Smith finds a swarm of honey bees on Smith's property (don't specifically know where bees came from). Smith calls friend who hives the swarm for Smith and leaves the swarm on Smith's property. Jones, a local beekeeper with many hives and LIVES next door to Smith, marchs over to Smith's house and demands that Smith turns the hive over to Jones. So, who owns the swarm? What if we know that the swarm came from Jones' property?

I have two contrary ideas: 1) Bees are like domesticated animals (cows, horses) and while Jones might be liable for any damages caused by his "animals" wandering, he doesn't lose ownership to the bees. OR 2) Bees are like wild animals and like a wandering deer, just because the bees started at Jones' property, that doesn't mean Jones owns them if they leave his property.

So, who owns the bees? (I'm not looking for creative solutions like Smith "should" be a good neighbor and give up the bees or have Jones work the bees and they split the costs and honey.)
 

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My view is #2. Bees are wild creatures that we coax and/or fool into living in our brightly colored boxes. If they take a powder and end up in someone else's box, well, I try to feel good in the knowledge I am helping to spread bees. :)
 

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If the queen is marked, its hard to argue that it isnt Mr Jones.

Other than a marked queen, (or DNA testing) I dont think Jones can claim they are his. What PROOF! does he have that they are his.

In absence of any PROOF that they are his (jones), then i think mr smith is under no obligation to hand them over.
 

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I will also have to vote on #2.

If Jones wants the swarm back he should have to pay for the wooden wares, the labor and the expense involved in hiving the swarm (just trying to think like a lawyer).
 

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One old law, I once read, said that the bees were the property of the originating beekeeper, but only if he could keep them in his sight (continuously), until he could capture them. If he lost sight of them, they were then considered wild animals, he who captured them, owned them.

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Most laws that I've read, consider bees to be untamed creatures (wild animals). Once they leave the beekeepers hives, especially if they leave his property, they are no longer his. They belong to the person whose property they are on. In this case Mr. Smith, marked, or not.

Even if Mr. Jones has special bees that "glow in the dark", so Mr. Jones can know that the "glow in the dark" bees originated with him. Bees are wild creatures that go where they will, they are not domesticated. As long as Mr. Smith did not trespass on Mr. Jones' property to capture the swarm of "glow in the dark" bees, or steal the contents of Mr. Jones' hives. The swarm of "glow in the dark" bees that once belonged to Mr. Jones, now belongs to Mr. Smith, as long as he can get them to live in his equipment, on his own property.

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Since, under most laws, bees are considered non-domesticated animals. I seriously doubt that a warrant would be issued to investigate Mr. Jones' claims of ownership, unless there were eyewitnesses to Mr. Smith relocating Mr. Jones' actual hive(s) or their contents to his own property. It may not be neighborly for Mr. Smith to hive and keep the swarm that issued from Mr. Jones' hive, but, I believe he has every right to keep them.
 

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you said Smith found a swarm on his property, not that anyone knows for sure where the swarm came from. even if the swarm queen is marked Jones has no proof the bees are his (unless jones used a custom mark). the bees belong to Smith nad Jones should be happy for smith. Jim
 

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WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?:scratch:
Marked queen,,how you gonna find out if Smith has them? "My bees dude"
Jones bees ,,,,maybe, maybe not, no proof
Jones says."Hey, that is/might be a breeder queen of mine."
1. Smith says o.k. come check,,,2.Smith says nope, there mine, "my bees dude"

Are bees still "wild" now with all the breeding being done? Cows were wild but we domesticated them. Unlike a cow we can't see the brand on the bee from across the fence. Search warrant for the hive,,,nahh DNA,, crazy.
I say pistols at ten paces:eek::D:D

Rick SoMd
 

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"2) Bees are like wild animals and like a wandering deer, just because the bees started at Jones' property, that doesn't mean Jones owns them if they leave his property"

This has been, historically, how honeybees are viewed.
 

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This might bee helpful, bold emphasis mine...


http://www.gobeekeeping.com/LL%20lesson%20six.htm]

Possession of bees

Blackstone Commentaries, Book II divides the entire animal kingdom into two classes. Domesticated animals (ferae domitia) and wild (ferae naturae). Wild animals are also divided into two classes -- those free to roam at will and those which have been subjected to man's dominion.

The honey bee that exist in the wild (lives in a tree cavity) is little different from the honey bee that lives within a man-made hive. However, honey bees do swarm and thus are free to roam at will. Honey bees do not trespass and the owner of property has no title to wild things using his property. The owner of property can prevent others from coming onto his/her property and taking them and the property owner has a right to capture a swarm and hive it. Trespassing is a violation of the law and is enforceable.

"So long as bees remain in the hive of the claimant and on his premises or premises under his control, they are his." (Supra.§ 5).

It is when they leave his/her hive and premises, as in swarming, that complications arise. Case law has reflected the general idea that as long as the beekeeper keeps the swarm in sight and can identify them has his/hers, the beekeeper retains ownership of the bees. However, in getting the bees hived, one may be charged with trespassing.
 

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If Jones owns the swarm, can Smith and the beekeeper charge Jones for the work they put into his bees? After all, Jones would almost certainly have lost them if Smith and the beekeeper hadn't acted on his behalf.
 

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#2 all the way!!!!

if Jones wants to keep is bees then he needs to read up on Hive Managment

but if the bees are out of the box and off the bee yard property then they are wild bees

i had a fellow keepers hive swarm and he called me to come get them for him he was at work and could not get them - his loss my gain but we will break even at some point - wether honey or future swarms

what goes around comes around
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So....are you Smith or Jones?
Neither, I had a friend ask me the question. The friend is the one who helped Smith hive the swarm. Jones is a local beekeeper who is generally unliked and considered "strange." However, I didn't want shade the analysis with value-laden additional facts such as these.
 

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Smith gets stung and has to be rushed to the hospital, I bet Jones will not claim them anymore! :lpf:
 

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If Smith gets stung Jones better live in WV. Beek who live in WV and follow management rules set by the state are immune to lawsuits as a result of bee stings. WV is the first and only state to protect the beek from bee sting lawsuits.
 

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Here a swarm is considered unclaimed, unowned, and wild.
You are perfectly within your rights to capture it. This doesn't give anyone the right to trespass though. I have not met any beekeepers who felt otherwise. Most are happy to see someone grab it before it just flew away.
 

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It is when they leave his/her hive and premises, as in swarming, that complications arise. Case law has reflected the general idea that as long as the beekeeper keeps the swarm in sight and can identify them has his/hers, the beekeeper retains ownership of the bees. However, in getting the bees hived, one may be charged with trespassing.
One story I have heard is that the reason for banging on a pot or pan, was that if your bees swarmed and as long as you could keep them in site and by sounding the alarm (beating on a pan) they were your bees, but I bet there is a lot of "tails" out there :rolleyes:
 
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