Regulation

Freedom for Beedom!

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beebeard

From an interesting Christian Science Monitor story about urban beekeeping:

This year there are at least 30 new hives in community gardens, on rooftops, and in backyards across New York. Most are the result of a series of beekeeping classes taught last winter by Jim Fischer, a veteran beekeeper who lives in Manhattan.

Mr. Fischer and some of his students formed the Gotham City Honey Co-op to buy beekeeping equipment in bulk, and hope eventually to set up a site where members can extract and bottle their honey. The co-op also plans to brand its honey and sell it to specialty stores.

The only hitch: Beekeeping is illegal in New York City.

Mr. Fischer and other Big Apple beekeepers are confident that the honeybee ban will be lifted soon. A city councilor has introduced a bill to legalize it, and urban gardening groups are pushing for it to be passed.

My knee-jerk sympathies are with the beekeepers. I'm open to the idea that in some circumstances a hive's spillover effects would make it a nuisance, thus allowing antsy neighbors to banish the bees even under a hard-core libertarian's law code. But I'm also open to the idea that the fretful folks next door just don't know much about bees:

Since bee populations have declined, people understand them less, says Fischer, who as a child spent the summers playing baseball barefoot. Back then, grass-seed mixes included red clover, a bee favorite. Inevitably, children stepped on bees. There were tears, but parents took it in stride—"the response was a hug and a cookie," he says.

Today, many people mistake one bodily response to a bee sting—some swelling and itching—for an allergic reaction and take their children to the emergency room, Fischer says.

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  1. My dad is a beekeeper, so I empathize with the plight of the beekeepers.

  2. i’m genuinely allergic to bees but not completely genocidal about the whole thing. there are too many stupid rules in this city anyway.

  3. I didn’t know i missed the honeybees until i saw one in my yard recently, and realized i hadn’t seen ANY of the things in years.

    Makes me want to get a hive.

  4. Isn’t almost everything illegal in the Big Apple?

  5. Today, many people mistake one bodily response to a bee sting — some swelling and itching — for an allergic reaction and take their children to the emergency room, Fischer says.

    Good Christ, but parents today give me the hives. For too many, everything has to be supervised, protective padding worn, and every little boo-boo is an excuse to throw on their Drama Pants and run to the ER.

  6. If my mom had taken me to the emergency room because of a bee sting, I would have spent my entire childhood in the emergency room. We used to catch them with our bare hands, which only works if you’re fast. Otherwise, you get stung.

    Nothing like having a mason jar full of bees. Why this was appealing as a child I really can’t recall.

  7. I run by a man that that has an apiary in his back yard in the middle of St. Louis city. When the Linden trees in the area are in bloom they actually buzz. It’s pretty neat. There are two unconventional, no grass, yards within about 3 blocks and they are gorgeous, along with the couple of median plantings in the area. To be honest I don’t know the actual positive impact of bees on local landscape, but from that little snippet of my day I’d say it is at least marginal and possibly significant.

    I can see at least 4 hives from my path along his backyard.

    MMMMM mead.

  8. >Good Christ, but parents today give me the >hives. For too many, everything has to be >supervised, protective padding worn, and every >little boo-boo is an excuse to throw on their >Drama Pants and run to the ER.

    Yah. Welcome to the New Generation of Parenting. Micromanagement rules.

    Back in *my* day we actually were told to get the f*ck out of the house and go play and shit…

  9. What we need is to breed lots of Brooklyn Honey Bees to beat the shit out of whatever parasite that’s causing colony collapse.

  10. Emergency room rules for our house when growing up:

    – If it isn’t spurting blood, shut up and get a bandaid.
    – If it isn’t dangling and/or appears to be falling off, were the animals fed. If not they better be.
    – If it hurts that’s okay we will check back in a few days. If it turns black and blue in that time it’s healing. If it goes numb in that time stop complaining it isn’t hurting anymore.
    – If you keep crying or bitching I will give you a reason to cry or bitch.
    – Rub some ice, warm cloth, dirt, lotion, antibiotic stuff, on it and stop crying.
    – Jesus christ this is the hundreth time you’ve stepped on a nail. Pull it out and make it bleed you got a tetanus shot last year. Were the chickens fed?

    …there’s more, I’d have to call mom to get them.

  11. Note:

    Spurting blood did not guarantee an ER run. There was a still to date unknown volume of blood required. So spurting could mean just a bandaid.

  12. “Beekeeper 1: Well, very clever, Simpson, luring our bees to your sugar pile and selling them back to us at an inflated price.
    Homer: Bees are on the what now?”

  13. Seriously, though, I had a good discussion about this subject with my former boss. He’s a baby boomer, and I’m gen x. He got really annoyed with how his grandkids would follow him everywhere and basically demand to be entertained at all times.

    “That’s really weird what they do, isn’t it?” he said.

    I agreed.

  14. Bee stings were fixed by rubbing tobacco on them. No idea why or if this worked.

    My mom also “cured” a wart on my thumb by rubbing a dirt clod on it under a full moon. Even as a child, I called bullshit on this. However, it almost immediately went away. 🙂

  15. “by rubbing a dirt clod on it under a full moon”

    Hmm, I thought that only cured werewolvism…

  16. >Bee stings were fixed by rubbing tobacco on >them. No idea why or if this worked.

    Dunno. When I was little, I got stung only once (miraculously?) by a swarm of angry bees who were angry cuz my beekeeper dad blasted them out of their hive with a new “experimental” bee technology called, “BEE BLASTER.” The idea was to blast those poor bees out of the hive with brute force.

    Needless to say, he abandoned that technology in favor of the tried and true method of smoking them out… peacefully. 🙂

    And, yes, this occurred in the 1970s, as if that would be a surprise… 😉

  17. I cut the warts off my fingers with a pair of saftey scissors at school one day, actually dug out would be more accurate. After I ran along a concrete wall to wear then down, leaving a really cool red line.

    They, the school, were a little worried. I was just doing what that stupid acid shit did in 1/100 of the time. My mother wasn’t surprised.

  18. “I wore a 40 pound beard of bees for that woman.”

  19. Bee stings were fixed by rubbing tobacco on them. No idea why or if this worked.

    Nicotine is a contact vasoconstrictor and so reduces local inflammation, and its cholinergic activity impedes the process of cell death in the affected tissue.

  20. Nicotine is a contact vasoconstrictor and so reduces local inflammation, and its cholinergic activity impedes the process of cell death in the affected tissue.

    Apparently my mom has unmentioned PhDs in biology and witchcraft.

  21. Some people are deathly allergic to bee stings, as in, “go into shock, then die. Do not pass Go, do not collect, etc.” If they know they are allergic, they usually carry emergency syringes of epinephrine. Still, jamming a big needle into your thigh and pushing down the plunger while going into anaphylactic shock is no picnic, and no guarantee of survival; and that’s if you already know you are allergic. I can understand why some neighbors could be reticent about bee colonies next door if they are afflicted with the allergy.

  22. Apparently my mom has unmentioned PhDs in biology and witchcraft.

    Hey, you never know. FWIW, an honest-to-goodness doctor advised me to do the wacky witchcraft thing for a wart on my hand when I was a kid. I thought she was crazy, but apparently it works better than no treatment in a statistically significant way. I personally went with the more traditional “stab it with a needle with salicylic acid” treatment, and that worked fine.

  23. Good Christ, but parents today give me the hives. For too many, everything has to be supervised, protective padding worn, and every little boo-boo is an excuse to throw on their Drama Pants and run to the ER.

    Isn’t some of that reaction because of divorce settlements? One false move and one is an unfit parent.

  24. Today, many people mistake one bodily response to a bee sting — some swelling and itching — for an allergic reaction and take their children to the emergency room, Fischer says.

    There’s part of your explosion in health care costs right there.

  25. Some people are deathly allergic to bee stings, as in, “go into shock, then die. Do not pass Go, do not collect, etc.” If they know they are allergic, they usually carry emergency syringes of epinephrine.

    That’s the trouble with society nowadays. We’ve turned natural selection upside down.

  26. “f it isn’t spurting blood, shut up and get a bandaid.”

    My father was a doctor and my mother a nurse. Spurting blood didn’t even qualify. I recall taking a 1 inch gash out of my knee on a sharp edge one day. I was tossed on the kitchen island and stitched with a treatment of wood alcohol, black thread and a sewing needle.

  27. I seem to be a bit allergic to bees and such. Last time I got stung I got a little woozy(like 1 bong hit of cheap dope) and the pain escalated for about 4 hours before gradually tapering off for another 4. The only time I remember tongue swelling and eyes swelling shut was years ago when a yellow jacket got in my beard riding a motorcycle.

  28. Some people are deathly allergic to bee stings, as in, “go into shock, then die. Do not pass Go, do not collect, etc.” If they know they are allergic, they usually carry emergency syringes of epinephrine. Still, jamming a big needle into your thigh and pushing down the plunger while going into anaphylactic shock is no picnic, and no guarantee of survival; and that’s if you already know you are allergic. I can understand why some neighbors could be reticent about bee colonies next door if they are afflicted with the allergy.

    My understanding of anaphylactic reactions is that the most severe are rarely second occurrence encounters. There is always a first encounter required to create the antibodies before anaphylactic shock is a consideration. The numbers for deaths due to anaphylaxis are between 50 and 100 per year. The problem is not all of those are the one sting scenario. I’ve been stung a lot and can say with certainty that 20 stings will make an almost 200lb man feel the effects, shorter breath, heart rate and so on. The one sting scenarios are rare. Working EMS I had one child with a reaction that could be classified as severe and he was both allergic and stung by quick count 15+ times. I didn’t have to tube him, his epipen (what you referenced) worked fine.

    BTW the needle on an epipen is tiny and the pens are automatic. You simply hit your thigh and the needle is spring loaded and the epinephrine injected.

    It’s about as founded a fear as peanut butter in schools.

  29. I seem to be a bit allergic to bees and such. Last time I got stung I got a little woozy(like 1 bong hit of cheap dope) and the pain escalated for about 4 hours before gradually tapering off for another 4. The only time I remember tongue swelling and eyes swelling shut was years ago when a yellow jacket got in my beard riding a motorcycle.

    might want to see a doc if you notice a sting creating a significantly different reaction from any previous stings. As I noted before anaphylaxis can be a progressive process with respect to exposure and it always requires at least one exposure. Better to get find out and get a pen just in case rather than having a medic show up and cram a tube down your throat.

  30. It’s about as founded a fear as peanut butter in schools.

    On one hand, I get where you’re coming from, but on the other, people do die from that once in a while.

  31. hmmm, one of the rules in our house when i was young: if you hurt yourself to the point of getting stitches, you damn well better not be in school clothes.

    The tobacco only worked on the bee sting(in our house anyway) if you spit on the tobacco to make it moist.

  32. On one hand, I get where you’re coming from, but on the other, people do die from that once in a while.

    People die from a lot of things. Peanut butter and bee stings included. Along with gun shots, knife wounds, car accidents, alcohol, lung cancer, heart disease, and so on.

    The, “for the kids” argument has turned into a rally cry for creating a nanny/police state.

  33. Chewing tobacco also works great for getting stubborn mules to follow you.

    Oh ya, useless information. I have it.

  34. Why this was appealing as a child I really can’t recall.

    Because it was badass.

  35. People die from a lot of things. Peanut butter and bee stings included. Along with gun shots, knife wounds, car accidents, alcohol, lung cancer, heart disease, and so on.

    Yeah, but that’s not at all the issue. The issue is that only some of those on the list result from the actions of another person (which is usually when the law ought to get involved), and the guns, knives and cars really generally kill only when either there was some intent or someone was being negligent. What makes bee stings and esp. peanut butter different is a general lack of intent to harm.

    You make it sound like this is a simple thing and we should all just throw up our arms and say “if they die, they die”. While it is definitely possible to be overprotective, parents are supposed to be somewhat protective, keep kids out of the obviously dangerous (i.e. life-threatening) trouble. To any parent, this, “oh well you’re kid is dead” attitude is insanity.

  36. You make it sound like this is a simple thing and we should all just throw up our arms and say “if they die, they die”. While it is definitely possible to be overprotective, parents are supposed to be somewhat protective, keep kids out of the obviously dangerous (i.e. life-threatening) trouble. To any parent, this, “oh well you’re kid is dead” attitude is insanity.

    So we should base our laws for all on parenting needs? Or better yet to make sure parenting needs are met? Are you saying that bees and peanut butter are obviously dangerous and life threading? Or are we making laws that effect all when 50-100 people a year die due to no direct action of another?

  37. So we should base our laws for all on parenting needs? Or better yet to make sure parenting needs are met? Are you saying that bees and peanut butter are obviously dangerous and life threading? Or are we making laws that effect all when 50-100 people a year die due to no direct action of another?

    I’m not saying the desire for parents to protect their kids from harm should be dispositive in many, or even most, cases. I’m just saying the converse attitude is an ethical and rhetorical loser all-around. One way that never works for convincing people to side with you politically is “you know what, fuck your kids”. It is more helpful to fight through that instinct and instead present how your desired world will not kill their kids so long as they are reasonably responsible.

  38. “I’m open to the idea that in some circumstances a hive’s spillover effects would make it a nuisance, thus allowing antsy neighbors to banish the bees even under a hard-core libertarian’s law code.”

    Wouldn’t a hardcore libertarian apply the Coase theorem?

  39. Wouldn’t a hardcore libertarian apply the Coase theorem?

    IIRC, there was an article on just this topic (honeybee hives and Coase’s Theorem) about a year or so ago on Reason H&R. Yes, I’m too lazy to look it up.

  40. I’m not saying the desire for parents to protect their kids from harm should be dispositive in many, or even most, cases. I’m just saying the converse attitude is an ethical and rhetorical loser all-around. One way that never works for convincing people to side with you politically is “you know what, fuck your kids”. It is more helpful to fight through that instinct and instead present how your desired world will not kill their kids so long as they are reasonably responsible.

    So instead of calling it bullshit you want to call it happy flowers that smell like bullshit.

    I never said fuck their kids, only 40-100 people die a year from this. While that is 40-100 people that are important to someone it in no way constitutes a need for any action other than personal responsibility. For the record I have no desire to stump or sway people to my side of the aisle. I’m not in politics for a reason.

  41. While that is 40-100 people that are important to someone it in no way constitutes a need for any action other than personal responsibility.

    How do you know?

  42. How do I know there is no need for action beyond personal responsibility? Are you trying to say there is a reasoning for statute with 40-100 people out of the US being effected? Especially when the deaths would only be a secondary effect of an individuals action that infringe upon the right of an individual to do what they want with their property. I’m not quite willing to forgo property rights for the sake of 100 people out of 300 million. Never mind the property right argument or even the argument that the parties involved could work out a better solution than the government could provide.

  43. Well, I’m asking because you seem to be using a straight-up consequentialist metric for deciding when legislation is appropriate (# of lives saved vs. projected intrusiveness of regulation), which I thought was a big fucking no-no.

  44. To follow up, for how many people’s lives would you be willing to countenance an abridgment of your property rights?

  45. One way that never works for convincing people to side with you politically is “you know what, fuck your kids”. It is more helpful to fight through that instinct and instead present how your desired world will not kill their kids so long as they are reasonably responsible.

    This just doesn’t work. My POA wants to bring in cops to our community because some kid got hit by a car. When you point out to the concerned parents brigade that maybe, just maybe, their kids would be fine if they didn’t play in the street they go ballistic. They accuse you of not caring about the community and wanting kids to die. Or they accuse you of having some ulterior motive for not wanting the cops in the subdivision.

    I bring this up because a substantial segment of suburban parents are completely incapable of logic and reason when they perceive some threat, no matter how remote or improbable, to their kids. I’m living it right now, and it sucks.

  46. I would have to argue that there is a number that qualifies for legislation wouldn’t I? I’m saying that even considering the idea with such a small impact regardless of rights based issue at stake is retarded.

    Your follow up is pretty pathetic. Especially if you think that’s the way the argument was going to go. I’d offer a nice try, but wow that’s a pathetic trap. Did you stop reading before the “Never mind…” part? Or are you really thick enough to think I’d fall for the trap, or believe such bullshit.

  47. baking soda + papaya enzyme (meat tenderizer) works pretty good for bee stings

  48. baking soda + papaya enzyme (meat tenderizer) works pretty good for bee stings

    I just look for people to suck out the poison.

  49. I just look for people to suck out the poison.

    Preferably hot and heterosexual.

  50. In terms of peanut butter at schools, the current lawsuit tendencies at the moment probably justify banning it. The safety thing being secondary.

  51. hmm | July 24, 2009, 8:46pm | #
    I would have to argue that there is a number that qualifies for legislation wouldn’t I? I’m saying that even considering the idea with such a small impact regardless of rights based issue at stake is retarded.

    Your follow up is pretty pathetic. Especially if you think that’s the way the argument was going to go. I’d offer a nice try, but wow that’s a pathetic trap. Did you stop reading before the “Never mind…” part? Or are you really thick enough to think I’d fall for the trap, or believe such bullshit.

    What’s all this crap about traps? I was honestly asking a question. And beyond the righteous bluster, you have nonetheless endorsed a consequentialist floor, if you will, as to when we could start reasonably talking about it. e.g. I dunno what the number would have to be, but 40-100 is just crazy [out of the realm of reasonable discussion].

    So what I’m asking is how can you come to this determination (40-100 is crazy low) without weighing the value of life? I mean, the implication there is that there is a number where it would not be insane to contemplate, right?

  52. I just look for people to suck out the poison.

    He said you’re gonna die, Frank.

  53. Because 40-100, an average per yer, out of 300 million is something that hardly warrants consideration. The idea that there would need to be a limit to discuss an issue is valid, but that’s another argument all together and not material to the point that 40-100 is an insignificant number. Do think such a low number with respect to the issue be cause for any alarm? I didn’t endorse setting a limit or legislating by a limit. I said to worry about this or to even consider it from a societal point of view is silly. And it is.

    Now if you want to add property rights to it, as I already did. You have a moot point. If want to add solutions outside of government enforcement of liability you have a moot point squared. Neither of these two things change the fact that considering such a low number as even being worth of discussion for a law, regardless of the flawed thinking, is retarded.

    I didn’t make a consequentialist claim, you attempted to corner my comment into one with the how many would it take question. The answer in the end is none with respect to a statute. The answer for how many would it take for society to correctly, or not retardedly take note, is not finite number and determined by society.

    The righteous bluster comes from a pretty weak implication and assumption by you and the attempt to try and get me to agree to it.

  54. You did it again in the last paragraph. The attempt to get me to back an upper limit for discussing or considering action then leads to an implication of me endorsing a law based on an upper limit of losses that violates a right. It isn’t going to happen. That dog don’t hunt, time for a new dog.

  55. The only time I remember tongue swelling and eyes swelling shut was years ago when a yellow jacket got in my beard riding a motorcycle.

    And how he found such a little motorcycle I’ll never know.

  56. Because 40-100, an average per yer, out of 300 million is something that hardly warrants consideration.

    That many people die each year from acetaminophen overdose, don’t they?

  57. The righteous bluster comes from a pretty weak implication and assumption by you and the attempt to try and get me to agree to it.

    It’s not an implication, it’s a explicitly noted consequence of what you wrote.

    Now if you want to add property rights to it, as I already did. You have a moot point. If want to add solutions outside of government enforcement of liability you have a moot point squared. Neither of these two things change the fact that considering such a low number as even being worth of discussion for a law, regardless of the flawed thinking, is retarded.

    Assertions without evidence don’t get you anywhere. I asked you “why?” and you responded “cause!…and I don’t wanna talk about that part any more”. Which is fine, you can do that of course, but it adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.

  58. No I respond in a manner that didn’t fit the way you were hoping for me to respond. Since the goal from about the third post was to get me to say that if enough people died there should be a law. Which isn’t even remotely what I was saying. I said so few people die why in the fuck is anyone even thinking about it. I know the difference might be infuriating since you were hoping for a slam dunk GOT YA. But like I said, that dog don’t hunt.

    Because 40-100, an average per yer, out of 300 million is something that hardly warrants consideration.

    That many people die each year from acetaminophen overdose, don’t they?

    I’m not sure. The 40-100 is an older number I remember from medic days. It also doesn’t account for the amount of stings. (e.g. one sting and anaphylaxis or 100 stings and anaphylaxis) If I remember correctly the percentage of people that actually die from severe anaphylactic shock due to bee stings is on the low end when compared to food and drug deaths. I think drug deaths were something like 500+ a year due to allergies and food close to half that. The 40-100 is also a number that think accounts for all insects with bees being the larger of that pool. So it is quite possible and likely that more people die from tylenol. God what a slow painful death that is as your liver shuts down.

  59. The honey will be about 87.5% HFCS due to the bees sucking up the contents of tossed MickyD cups.

  60. The honey will be about 87.5% HFCS due to the bees sucking up the contents of tossed MickyD cups.

    As opposed to 100% HFCS for bees raised in a corn field.

  61. I was being facetious. I didn’t know whether bees would even eat HFCS. But, then, there is this.

  62. I never heard that, but it’s interesting. The place that I get my honey from takes bees all over the country to pollinate fields. Honey from them comes in different “flavors” that are the result of where the bees got the nectar. (e.g. orange blossom, wildflower, cranberry, cotton, comb, and my favorite killer bee honey. Never seen an HFCS flavor.

  63. “Never seen an HFCS flavor”

    And you won’t. Corn is a monocot, a grass, a grain and is wind pollinated, no need to attract pollinators by making nectar. Beekeepers feed their bees sugar, or HFCS, because they robbed the bees of their preferred, stored food – honey, which is more valuable than sugar or HFCS. HFCS is not made from corn nectar, it is made from corn kernels, the plant’s seeds. Similarly, since corn nectar does not exist, it follows that corn honey (HFCS flavored honey) also does not.

  64. I know corn isn’t a dicot. Did you miss the funny.

    I’m a bit of a flower and tree guy.

  65. we all love honey honey………..hahaha,so sweety.

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