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February 16, 2014 at 9:22 am #7823
I put this up on the Urban Beekeeping site regarding the issues we are all thinking of in trying to formulate the guidelines for the legalization effort, and think it should also be here—-
I will very much agree that the important talk we need to have is what these educational guidelines will look like. The other aspects listed on Tyson’s message, more objective in nature—requeening and other verifiable, measurable data points, are easier. I think the harder one is discussing what the “code of conduct” for urban beekeeping would look like. I have had 6 mentees, in the 3 years I have been in bees, who have had serious incidents with their poorly managed bees, and all of them were not well versed in the skills needed to safely keep their bees from causing harm to neighbors. I pursued these folks but they were non-communicative or dismissive of my urgings. This has caused me a lot of lost sleep and worry, and too much time on the phone/computer dealing with disasters. There is only so much a mentor can do to emphasize the responsibilities. My opinion is, this emphasis on beekeeper responsibility and active management is fundamental to our success—too many disasters, and the city will yank away their endorsements. I don’t see that potential as helpful for maintaining relationships with people who are not beeks—whether in media, government, or citizenry.
So, of your list of discussion points, Tyson, I endorse these—-
1) Registration of hive(s) with the city for mapping and census purposes
3) Requirement to seek training in keeping bees before being allowed to keep them
For the sake of information, my hives ARE registered with the county dept. of apiary inspection, under the dept of Weights and Measures. Ariel Verrayo, who used to be the apiary inspector 3 years ago, and spoke to BBK twice, urged us to register. I felt his argument that the registration conveyed legitimacy was valid. Since I work with my city, Manhattan Beach, in a unpaid service to remove hives and swarms from private and city property to re-home them, the city Public Works office is more confident in me with my official registration (even if we personally know, it amounts to little actual oversight)
On Tuesday of this week, the registration showed its worth, when I was subject to a unannounced visit from Robert Weider, the current apiary inspector, who drove from the Arcadia office, on receipt of a complaint from someone in my community. As it happened, since my PW yard apiary is listed first, Mr Weider visited that site before showing up at my house, and he talked to my sponsor at public works, who said many complementary things about my work with the city moving bees. By the time Mr Weider got to my house (and I happened to be home!) I think he was already pre-disposed to view me positively. He was here maybe 10 minutes, simply looked AT my hives, not in them, noted they had multiple water sources, and said he would write a complementary report. He would not tell me who the complainer was, however, this was his follow-up note to me—
Good Morning Susan,
The person that complained said that the bees were not being properly cared for and casting off swarms causing numerous neighbors to complain about the situation. After speaking with you, and the fellows over at public works I saw no evidence of this and will make a statement to this effect if the person calls back. I also explained that there is nothing in the Manhattan Beach Code prohibiting beekeeping.
That’s about all of the information I have.
My belief, is that the complainer is a local from Hermosa Beach, a old guy who used to keep bees and paid me a spontaneous visit last summer, and is disgruntled that I am now the go-to person for re-homing the MB bees instead of him. I have caught him cutting out water meter hives on the greenbelt walkway, piling the combs in a cardboard box and making off with them. He made a stink with the City Manager a few weeks ago about his perceived slights. Only a beek would say the words “casting swarms” and I know all my neighbors for 2 houses in any direction know I have bees and give the honey away. They have all said they did not make any complaints.
Weider has told me the so-called apiary inspector has multiple jobs—- monitoring hazardous materials at small business is one of the more time consuming and important ones. The persons assigned to bees know almost nothing about them, in truth. Their job is very fluid, and often they are moved around to different positions in the County system. All this makes me see there is not much to be fearful of with their discovery potential. The visits are complaint driven. If anyone wants to speak to Mr Weider, here is his contact—–RWieder@acwm.lacounty.gov—-626-459-8894
The cost to register ALL your hives is $10.00 a year, and they send you the renewal automatically in January.
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