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California Tangerine Growers Threaten Legal Action, Restraining Order Against Bees

California's tangerine growers are all abuzz over nearby bees who are – gasp! – pollinating their tangerine trees! They're complaining that California beekeepers are allowing their bees to use their citrus groves to do their dirty nasty business.

According to a story in the Associated Press, the citrus growers are complaining that the bees are causing their seedless tangerines to develop seeds.
So the tangerine growers have stamped their little feet and are threatening legal action.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is actually in the process of writing regulations to cover the issues, which is great, except bees can't read.

Apparently, these new regulations will require beekeepers to register with the local agricultural commissioners by March 1, so citrus growers can keep track of hives within two miles of their groves.

If they find bees too close to their property, they can ask the beekeepers to move although the bee boys are not required to do anything. Looks like the regulations don't have any real teeth to speak of (bet you thought I was going to say "sting").

According to the AP, Paramount Citrus has already sent threatening letters to beekeepers near their Kern County clementine groves, saying they will seek "compensation for any and all damages caused to its crops, as well as punitive damages" if any seeds develop.

"We've tried talking to the bees, showing them educational videos, even providing them with little bee-sized maps," said Elwin Hightower, a local beekeeper. "But I don't think they're paying any attention to us."

All any defense lawyer needs to do is ask Paramount Citrus to prove which bees came from which growers. Assuming none of the beekeepers have branded their bees, or equipped them with GPS (or would that be BPS?), Paramount won't have a wing to stand on.

Unfortunately, this situation will only get worse before it gets better. Citrus growers are promising legal actions if the bees don't buzz off, but I won't be surprised if they start spraying chemicals to kill the bees. And since the world's bee populations are already suffering, this is the last thing we need.

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  1. Only in California (I hope!). Where do you find this stuff?

  2. I'm a big fan of Fark and This is True. That's where I find a lot of my material. Plus I subscribe to the RSS feeds of the Odd News sections of all the wire services.

    But it's not only in California where this happened. I remember a few years ago, some farmer up in Canada was sued by a seed company into buying their seed. His farm was next to a farm that used their special, genetically-modified seed, which could only be used for one season (that is, you couldn't hold some seed back so you would have planting seed the next year).

    The seed company sued the farmer on the grounds that his crops were cross-pollinated with their stuff, and if he were to hold back his own seeds, he would be violating their licensing agreement.

    Sounds crazy, right?

    What's even more crazy is that the farmer lost the case and had to buy their seed.


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