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Swarm and Ownership

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Floyd 

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Hello,

I have recently installed a split hive which was requeened with a Buckfast/Cecropia Cross. However it looks like a queen cell was missed during the split. This has led to the hive swarming and I am left with a minimal amount of Bees.

All easy so far!! I am the only Beekeeper for miles around however an old guy living 1 mile away used to keep bees 8 years ago and has an old WBC hive in his garden.

I have heard today that he now has bees in the hive, I called him to discuss and he feels that the bees are installed despite not looking in the hive.

Can anyone assist in where I stand morally. I am hopefully going to get into the hive tomorrow and as the swarm left sometime previous to last sunday the 5th but not before monday 29th June when I had bees covering both sides of 3 frames.

If I am allowed the bees, does the moving cuase a problem i.e the 3 mile rule.

Many thanks

Lee
 

marcros 

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Hello,

I have recently installed a split hive which was requeened with a Buckfast/Cecropia Cross. However it looks like a queen cell was missed during the split. This has led to the hive swarming and I am left with a minimal amount of Bees.

All easy so far!! I am the only Beekeeper for miles around however an old guy living 1 mile away used to keep bees 8 years ago and has an old WBC hive in his garden.

I have heard today that he now has bees in the hive, I called him to discuss and he feels that the bees are installed despite not looking in the hive.

Can anyone assist in where I stand morally. I am hopefully going to get into the hive tomorrow and as the swarm left sometime previous to last sunday the 5th but not before monday 29th June when I had bees covering both sides of 3 frames.

If I am allowed the bees, does the moving cuase a problem i.e the 3 mile rule.

Many thanks

Lee

Lee,

I dont quite get what you mean about where you stand 'morally'

Unfortunately, whether you are the only beekeeper around or not, the bees are the property of their new host. If you were following them (and I think if they were in eyesight), then they would be yours, but you would have to ask the permission of the land owner to retrieve them- you do not have the right of tresspass. I understand that you will be gutted to loose a good queen- so you will have to hope that the chap doesnt want the bees or will be amicable. he is quite within his right to keep them.

As for the 3 mile rule, then yes, it will be an issue- you could keep then at their current location and move during the winter. Their present owner may appreciate having bees there without having to do anything with them, and you get your (former) colony back.

I appreciate that it sound harsh, but the fact is that these are no longer your bees!!

all the best
mark
 

victor meldrew 

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Sorry Floyd,
Gotta agree with Mark:(.
The bees are yours whilst in your hive but wild creatures when out foraging/swarming etc.
The old guy is indeed the new owner of the swarm, sorry colony (as it is no longer a swarm).
An old law used to exist whereby a beekeeper followed a swarm and used a tanging method to cause them to settle, could claim ownership. This was in common use before the advent of the movable framed hive when swarming was encouraged .
I doubt whether it could be cited in this day and age .!

John Wilkinson
 

marcros 

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i think that you could probably still agrue the point if you could find suitable case law. in sight, within earshot of tanging- is there that much difference?

we digress...
 

Floyd 

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Many thanks for your response, although sadly not what I wanted to hear.

As for the line "Can anyone assist in where I stand morally" The basis behind this is that I am the type of guy who would return them if I knew their provenance. Positive Karma balance I suppose.

I shall report back.
 

victor meldrew 

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i think that you could probably still agrue the point if you could find suitable case law. in sight, within earshot of tanging- is there that much difference?

we digress...
Karmly re-read the thread opener! sorry about the pun.
Floyd didn't keep the swarm in sight or indeed can be sure the bees came from his hive "he heard that an empty hive was now occupied". this is so common an occurance, remember swarms can travel miles :svengo:. Floyd would have little chance of gaining title to them even if he invoked the "probability" theory.:(.

John Wilkinson
 

Poly Hive 

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Actually John he has no chance at all. See below.

I recently bought a book on bee case law, though I doubt it will assist you.

When bees issue as a swarm I believe they become finders keepers, and for all I know of English law, then morally or not they are no longer yours.

I found the book and it is no help to you.

Kerry v Pattinson. Court of Appeal (no less) London. I am no lawyer but is appears to reduce to this decision. Bees are "farae naturae" and when they swarm they return to being wild. In following them ro maintain some sort of posession the act of trespass, ie going onto anothers land becomes dominant and so posession is lost at the hive owners property boundary.

This is deemed to be English case law and is dated 1938

From Beekeeping and the Law-Swarms and Neighbours. Frimston and Smith.

PH
 
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jezd 

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Worth pointing out that just because there are no other active bee keepers locally (and you cant be sure of this) it could well be his new bees are from a feral colony - these will swarm regardless. This is even more likely if someone used to keep bees going back a few years.

Jez
 

jezd 

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On the back of that I believe they become legal yours (and this includes you then being responsible for anything that goes wrong) as soon as you have started to recover the swarm.

If a swarm lands on another’s property you can only recover them with permission from the land owner.

I think.


I recently bought a book on bee case law, though I doubt it will assist you.

When bees issue as a swarm I believe they become finders keepers, and for all I know of English law, then morally or not they are no longer yours.

I found the book and it is no help to you.

Kerry v Pattinson. Court of Appeal (no less) London. I am no lawyer but is appears to reduce to this decision. Bees are "farae naturae" and when they swarm they return to being wild. In following them ro maintain some sort of posession the act of trespass, ie going onto anothers land becomes dominant and so posession is lost at the hive owners property boundary.

This is deemed to be English case law and is dated 1938

From Beekeeping and the Law-Swarms and Neighbours. Frimston and Smith.

PH
 

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