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Old 02-15-2012, 12:21 PM   #71
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I believe that it is a constitutional right. However, I don't think that it is a right that cannot be restricted. See the right to own guns.

Generally speaking one's rights end the moment that they infringe upon another person's rights. While it is acceptable to have bees in your yard, if you cannot keep your bees in your yard and they cause physical or emotional stress on your neighbor, well that is not acceptable.

If I have 8 dogs, I will have issues if I cannot keep them in my yard. Perhaps more specifically, if I keep chickens for eggs, I also must keep them from bothering my neighbors.
Emotional distress is a made up term. It's like being offended. It's one's own fault for being offended. I mean, what happens when you're offended? Nothing. Some brick doesn't fall from the sky and hit you square on the head. Emotional distress is the same way to me. It's something people thought up to make money via our court system. I can sue you for emotional distress. It's an extension of political correctness. #$%&*@#$%*.


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Old 02-15-2012, 01:11 PM   #72
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Wow, I had no idea this was going to become such a hot topic for discussion. So, here's an update, and my thoughts:

First off, the "Constitutional right" I put in the title comes from the interview the news did with the lady; she said it was her Constitutional right. I agree with whoever said in this thread that he's tired of people using that phrase (and "for the children") to make their argument seem more important. I'm a big fan of the specific meaning of words (despite SWMBO's frustrations with that) and agree that most of the time those two phrases actually mean, "This is important to me so shut up and listen!"

Now, this woman was found guilty yesterday of violating the ordinance, and is being fined $50 and has two weeks to remove her bee hive (singular, by the way) or face 20 days in jail.

My understanding based on the limited information the news provides is that she got her bee hive last March and set it up pretty much right beside the fence marking her property line. Neighbors complained, and she did not move the hive, so in May the city passed their ordinance. The ordinance says hives must be 75 feet from a neighbor's property, which really just limits people to keeping bees if they have larger property, which this woman cannot afford. So, she did nothing, which is where the problem seems to arise. She did not take this to court to fight the ordinance, she did not organize a grassroots beekeeping movement, etc., she just waited until the cops showed up with a summons.

Okay, so now my thoughts: No, it is not a Constitutional right to keep bees, but I believe that it is the 9th amendment (please correct me if I'm wrong) saying that American citizens have rights beyond what is stated.

With that said, there ought to be some courtesy amongst neighbors that should kick in before governmental regulations come into play. If I got a hive of bees and my neighbors complained, I would try to work out some kind of compromise. I'm reminded of the guy in town when I was a kid who got a couple pet wolves. They were kept in his (large) fenced in back yard. When the neighbors complained about their fear of wolves, he built a much larger fence, and that settled things. Obviously you can't fence in bees, but my point is compromise before regulation.

To me, this woman is in the wrong because she did nothing when the ordinance was passed. I'm sure she went to the town council meetings when they were discussing it, but after it passed, she just sat there watching her bees. It's kind of too late to do anything about it when the cops show up.

So, anyway, my thinking is that cities should not pass laws to protect people from bees, but people should be considerate of others' fears and feelings. Beekeepers would probably benefit from educating the public about the nature of bees and the benefits that they provide the world.

Also, every time someone mentions how bee populations are declining for no discernible reason, I can't help but think about Dr. Who. Anybody else have that problem?



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Old 02-15-2012, 01:35 PM   #73
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It really comes to this, in my opinion. Do we want bees in the urban environment or don't we? If not, we should forget about setbacks from lot lines, et cetera and just outlaw beekeeping. Because, as noted, bees travel up to five miles to forage. What's a 75' setback to 10,000 bees that travel 5 miles? But that's not enough. As I said, bees exist. So if a feral bee colony moves into the hollow of my grapefruit tree, I should be obligated to eradicate it. If it's a nuisance or a menace, it is so whether I have put it there or not, and I should be prohibited from allowing a substantial nuisance or menace on my property. So in addition to not keeping bees, if we're going to be consistent, we should be obligated to eradicate them when we find them, particularly since kept bees are, if anything SAFER than feral.
This is the strongest point against such stupid regulations. If you are not allowed to keep and maintain a beehive on your property then you also must be obliged to remove any feral hives that pop up for the same exact reasons.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:06 PM   #74
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Okay, so now my thoughts: No, it is not a Constitutional right to keep bees, but I believe that it is the 9th amendment (please correct me if I'm wrong) saying that American citizens have rights beyond what is stated.

With that said, there ought to be some courtesy amongst neighbors that should kick in before governmental regulations come into play. If I got a hive of bees and my neighbors complained, I would try to work out some kind of compromise. I'm reminded of the guy in town when I was a kid who got a couple pet wolves. They were kept in his (large) fenced in back yard. When the neighbors complained about their fear of wolves, he built a much larger fence, and that settled things. Obviously you can't fence in bees, but my point is compromise before regulation.

To me, this woman is in the wrong because she did nothing when the ordinance was passed. I'm sure she went to the town council meetings when they were discussing it, but after it passed, she just sat there watching her bees. It's kind of too late to do anything about it when the cops show up.
The basic principle is that the Constitution provides the powers that the federal government has. Things in the Bill of Rights are specifically called out, but the absence of an enumerated right does not imply the absence of that right.

This isn't a federal issue, though, as this is a local law, so the application of the Constitution is quite different. There is no need for an enumerated government power to regulate bee keeping, it's understood that aside from specific prohibitions, localities can decide for themselves how to handle the regulation.

I agree with you---the bee keeper here should have taken some sort of action before this point. We live in a society, and if you have neighbors, you have a responsibility to make a reasonable effort to get along with them. If they don't want a bee hive right along the edge of their property, it's a serious dick move to put one (or leave one) there. Put it far enough from their property that you're not going to cause a concentration of bees in their yard. That's common sense. If your yard isn't large enough to do that and your neighbors don't agree that they want your hive to be encroaching on their property, then I'm sorry, find a place that affords you the space to enjoy your hobby.

Is the 75 feet here appropriate? I don't know, but there's unquestionably a radius around the bee hive where there are a lot more bees than in a typical location. That radius needs to be on your property. Regardless of how docile honey bees may be, it's just common sense that you don't let your kids or your dog go play next to a hive. If you stick your hive on the other side of my fence, you're making part of my yard next to a hive. That's a problem, regardless of allergies, etc.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:34 PM   #75
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Again, it's important to understand how bees behave. If they are not in the hive, they are foraging for either water, pollen or nectar. When they leave the hive to forage, they don't aimlessly wander looking for something. The locations have been identified by previous foragers and those locations have been communicated by a "bee dance" to other foragers. When the foragers leave the hive, they rise into the air and make a "beeline" for the resources, forage to capacity on those resources, return to the hive and deposit them. Then they do it again. And bees don't go to the nearest sources, but to the best sources in their range. So, I have a beehive in my backyard. Does my backyard have a higher concentration of bees then one down the street? Depends. If I have rich nectar, pollen or water sources, maybe. If my neighbor does, and I don't, then other than the hive itself and a very short flight path, then my neighbor has more (of my) bees than I do. I'll grant that something like a 7.5 or 10 foot setback might be warranted. Sometimes "barriers" are required, too, so that bees leaving the hive in the direction of a neighboring yard are directed upward. I'll buy that, too.
Now, you might say that I'm negatively impacting my neighbor because my neighbor just happens to be a butterfly gardener and has many nectar and pollen bearing plants, and my keeping bees negatively impacts him. But those plants are only going to attract a large number of my (or any) bees if it's a rich nectar source, and given the foraging range of bees (up to 5 miles) bees are going to be attracted whether I keep bees or not. The existence of the rich nectar source in my neighbor's yard is a much better predictor of whether ANY bees will be there than is the presence of my hive next door.



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