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 Post subject: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:26 am 
Larvae
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Region: South Florida
Primary Bee Related Interest: Bee Removal
What are the laws in Florida as far as spraying honey bees with bee spray (to kill them)? Is it legal if I am the homeowner without a pest control license? Is it legal if someone without a pest control license sprays them? For the sake of argument, these honey bees are outside, and hide in the water meter box. Please provide as much facts as you can.


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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:21 pm 
Drone
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Location: Alva, FL
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archn,

Regarding dealing with bees on your own property. You can legally spray bees if they are on your own property (however, you should NOT try it), but you legally cannot spray them on property of which you are not the owner. Bees are not protected, in danger or extinction, not an endangered species, and there are no shortage of wild (feral) pest bees in Florida... 100s of colonies per square mile, especially in south half of florida which has been officially noted as Africanized Honey Bee territory. Beekeepers cannot exterminate bees or practice pest control on another's property.

For more on what is recommended about what to do if you have "Bees on your Property" and other useful information regarding Florida and bees in general.

http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/afbee/bee_removal.shtml

To determine if you are in AHB territory or to view a map of all the AHB declared territores in the US use the following link:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11059&page=6

For information about legality of killing bees see http://www.ehow.com/facts_5892578_illegal-kill-bees_.html

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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:30 pm 
Worker Bee
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I see that while I was typing this response OldManRiggs already answered your question. That's fine... I like his answer better anyway. But since I took the time to type this response... I'm gonna post it anyway!
______________________________________

I'm going to refer this one to OldManRiggs (who lives in Florida) or someone else to answer. I want to help you but I don't know what the law is in FL... and they definitely vary from place to place.

In Georgia (as I was told - by an exterminator)... it is against the law to kill honey bees (they are protected), even a licensed pest control person is not allowed to exterminate them.

However, in Florida things are a bit different. Because of the problem with Africanization and the negative publicity that has started... I believe that feral colonies like the one you mentioned CAN be exterminated. It is sometimes too risky to try to save them.

One of the important things to remember when you consider exterminating bees is: just because you kill all of the bees... that does not eliminate the whole problem. There is still a messy honey situation that that can get ugly quick. Left behind honey and comb attracts other pests (much less desirable than bees) such as flies and maggots, wasps, beetles, ants, and moths... and that's saying nothing about the smell that comes from rotting sections of honey comb. So, in most cases, it is better to have a beekeeper handle the problem than an exterminator. A beekeeper has methods that will remove the bees AND the honey. A proper bee removal job will also include measures to prevent the bees from returning... which is VERY likely if you just kill them.

If it does come to the point where your best recourse IS killing the bees... I've heard that Dawn dish detergent and water is safe and effective (as a last resort).

-OneEarWillie

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Last edited by OneEarWillie on Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
added intro-explanation.


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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:40 pm 
Drone
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Location: Alva, FL
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Region: Alva in Southwest Florida
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I don't want to mislead anybody by my previous post. That was just law, not my recommendation. I would not recommend that anybody EVER spray bees on their own property with pesticides, nor with soapy water. I also would not assume that a beekeeper is capable/qualified of doing the job for you, if you want them removed alive and the job done properly you should hire a reputable, experienced live bee removal specialist (not just any beekeeper). Beekeepers and Live Bee Removal specialists possess two different skill sets (not the same, but overlapping).

If you decide to remove them allive or have them exterminated, "Do NOT attempt either yourself". Many live bee removal specialist charge more for the live bee removal if you botch the job or if you try spraying them first, because the bees become nasty and they have to now deal with tainted honey and sick bees which could contaminate their own apiary. Insect spray (even wasp or hornet) is not made for killing bees... it actually makes them attack, due to the smell which resembles closely attack pheromones. Many have been hospitalized by attempted to spray their own bees. If you determine that the bees must be exterminated rather than saving, you should hire a licensed pest control officer (PCO) to exterminate them.

As OneEarWillie mentioned. Often PCOs do not remove the nest, honey, or protect the site to prevent other bees from foraging the nest area and causing toxins to be spread to other healthy colonies for miles around the treated nest. If at all possible have a live bee removal specialist handle the job properly for you... or at minimum get a PCO that will remove the nest and comb and dispose of it in a manner as not to affect other bees.

REGARDING specifically killing of bees in Georgia... it is not illegal to do so per http://www.agr.georgia.gov/Data/Sites/1/media/ag_plantindustry/plant_protection/files/2011swarmquestion.pdf which states, "This is a common misconception, even within the pest control industry. Although the Georgia legislature named the honey bee as the state’s 'official' insect, the designation does not offer any legal or regulatory protection."

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Old Man Riggs
Alva, FL


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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:43 pm 
Larvae
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Region: South Florida
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Let me try to explain my situation without trying to give personal opinions of mine. Please let me say that off the record, I do not have any interest in killing any bees, so I don't need to be convinced. I am just interested in pure facts/laws, so that I can present my case to a higher power.

I work for a utilities company in Florida which is required to look inside water meter boxes outside. Sometimes there are bees in there. We cannot always examine inside the meter boxes, because the bees get in our way. We have two options. The first option is to kill the bees ($6-12 in spray I'd guess) as if they were never there. The second option is to have someone remove the bees/honeycomb, which will probably result in a higher fee (Maybe $30-50).

Being that it is cheaper to spray bees than save bees, it seems more economical to kill the bees. However, if this practice is illegal since we do not own the home attached with the water meter box, then I need to know this. Our company does not own pest control licenses. What I can tell you is that we usually place the meter box on an easement, and we own the meter box and the meter inside.

When I tried to research this myself, it said that honey bees are considers pests because they are anthopods or something, and that even identifying them as honey bees requires a pest control license, and so spraying them/removing them is also something requiring a pest control license.

We are not bee keepers. We just work for a water company.

I just need to gather facts to show if the law affects us, to know if we will go with the cheaper solution or not. If the law does not affect us, then there will be a lot less honey bees in our area.

For argument's sake, this is considered South Florida.

Thanks for the quick responses!


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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:56 pm 
Worker Bee
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I am glad that you found this forum… and I empathize with your situation. In order to answer your question, I am going to take a step back and try to remove my opinion from this as well.

Just the FACTS:
Looking at your unique situation your options are limited based on the following:
  • You are in South Florida… a known Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) Territory.
  • These bees are likely to be destroyed ANYWAY, by a Pest Control Officer.
  • The bees are in a box that is YOUR property.
  • Left behind comb is not a major concern in a water meter box.
So, although it is hard for me to actually type these words… I think it is completely within the bounds of the law (I am NOT a lawyer) for you to kill these bees yourself, as long as you do not use any EPA prohibited chemicals to do so. Please do NOT use a can of spray!! A pump-up garden sprayer with dish detergent and water is much better.

Now for my OPINION:
I want to STRONGLY urge you to proceed with CAUTION… or better yet DON’T proceed. Honey bees will defend their hives (their homes) with their lives. When they sting, poisonous venom is injected into your body. It is at a minimum EXTREMELY painful and can be LETHAL. People have DIED doing what you are considering! Before you proceed… is saving a few dollars worth the risk? There are people out there who KNOW how to handle these bees. Think about it… there’s a reason why there are no “Surgery for Dummies” books on the shelves… certain things are better left to the professionals.

Here's a better idea... take a proactive approach. These bees must me finding a way into these meters, somehow. And once there, they're liking it enough to stay. Why don't we come up with a way to (inexpensively) modify or "bee-proof" these boxes. I bet a bit of hardware cloth and some spray foam could not only solve your problem... but save the lives of some bees and some of your money.

If you want to share some photos of one of these boxes... I know someone would be able to offer some ideas.

-OneEarWillie

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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:24 am 
Drone
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Location: Alva, FL
Number of hives: 3
Region: Alva in Southwest Florida
Primary Bee Related Interest: Backyard Beekeeping
Archn,

When, I have had such legal questions (in the past) I have received great results asking directly by e-mail, the man in charge of enforcement of pest control violations and responsible for interpretation of these pest control laws in Florida. He has in the past been a great help in answering my questions regarding beekeepers doing bee removals and very helpful in how we must conduct ourselves to stay on the right side of the law.

Steven E. Dwinell
Assistant Director
Division of Agricultural Environmental Services
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
3125 Conner Boulevard
Tallahassee Florida 32399
850-488-7447
850 617-7900 (Office)
Steven.Dwinell@freshfromflorida.com

I am guessing that the responsibility for making water meter boxes accessible and safe may fall upon the homeowner and not the owner of the utility box. However, I don't know what method you have of making the homeowner meet that responsibility. It is doubtful that you would be able to exercise pest control on your box on another's property. It has been my experience that often the city or muncipality contracts the work out to PCOs or Bee Removal Specialist to do all their meter boxes. The property including easements are still owned by the homeowner... you only have the right to use the easement not practice pest control. Just my guess. Please ask Steve. I am assuming he is still in the same job capacity as he was when he helped me.

Below is a water meter box on which I was asked to do a live bee removal rescue relocation service.

Image

P.S. Also it should be noted that Africanized Honey Bees tend to occupy small voids/cavaties in low places (close to ground level) of which meter boxes, beneath sheds, culverts, etc. are very popular whereas the gentle European Bees typically are larger colonies seeking larger voids/cavaties usually above ground. For safety and liability reasons it may be wise to leave removal and/or extermination up to the professionals. If an employee of a utility company in AHB territory (South Florida) was responsible for setting an AHB colony into attack mode resulting in a stinging incident of human (even worse if a pet in some cases) by attempting to exterminate these bees, then hopefully the company has special liability insurance that covers exterminating AHB colonies.

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Alva, FL


Last edited by OldManRiggs on Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
P.S. Added


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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:43 am 
Worker Bee
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Location: Shelby County. Alabama
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"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
-Benjamin Franklin

If I was in charge... I'd much rather spend the money to purchase one of THESE (or something like it) for every one of my meters... than appear on national news with cameras in my face explaining why I set off a swarm of "killer" bees on the community.

Image

-OneEarWillie

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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:58 pm 
Pupae
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This was a fascinating discussion, but I'm curious as to what archn ever found out about the situation..?

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 Post subject: Re: Laws in Florida
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:36 am 
Emerging Worker
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Region: SE Florida
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I am a licensed PCO in FL turned beekeeper and bee removal specialist. This is what we are taught in IFAS seminars.

What are the laws in Florida as far as spraying honey bees with bee spray (to kill them)?

Florida law simply states "The label is the law". You must follow mfr labeling precisely.


Is it legal if I am the homeowner without a pest control license?

You can exterminate the bees on YOUR property only using chemicals available to the general public. You are not allowed to use restricted chemicals unless properly licensed. Only "over-the-counter" materials.


Is it legal if someone without a pest control license sprays them?

Yes, if on their property. You can assist a neighbor/friend but cannot do it for hire and only using OTC material.


For the sake of argument, these honey bees are outside, and hide in the water meter box. Please provide as much facts as you can.[/quote]

I cannot answer this one. I am sure if we asked 5 lawyers, we'd get 5 different answers. Your situation is like the postman who carries pepper spray while on his route.


Perhaps the producers of the "Jackass" movies will consider doing a segment illustrating someone (without protective garb) going after an established feral hive with a can of Raid. That's one I'd pay to see.


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