27 AUGUST 1948, Page 14

Trespassing Bees I believe that there is some hope that

the House of Lords will turn their distinguished attention to the beekeepers. It used to be firmly held—indeed still is—that if a beekeeper could keep his errant swarm in sight he had the right to follow it and recover it when it settled. I have indeed myself pursued a swarm through small private gardens. This right, which is not in itself denied, has of late in several instances been negatived by legal decisions (which have been put together by the County Gentlemen's Association). The trouble seems to be that the law of trespass conflicts with the beekeeper's right to his swarm. Swarms have been lost owing to the reluctance of gardeners to grant access ; and bee- keepers have lost their cases because magistrates have emphasised the law of trespass. If your tree or your fruit falls in a neighbour's property you may demand the right to collect it. A swarm of bees is likely to be more valuable than either wood or fruit, and if not promptly collected will prob- ably be a loss to the public as well as the beekeeper. Happily science to some extent enables the expert bee-master to prevent swarming ; and, I think, communities of wild bees are rarer than they used to be.