Un-BEE-lievable: NYC Fines Man $2,000 For Not Watering His Hive

Decision Later Changed To A Warning, But Resident, Lawmaker Still Stung

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This story probably falls into the category of Ripley’s “bee-lieve” it or not.

The Bloomberg administration socked a Queens man with a hefty fine for failing to water his beehive, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

It’s a new one in the annals of city government. The cash-strapped Bloomberg administration has mounted a “sting operation” against city beekeepers — ticketing a Douglaston man an unbelievable $2,000 for not watering his beehive.

“It’s outrageous. It’s difficult to understand how this could happen,” Tip Sempliner said.

And here’s why: there is a beehive waterer a few feet from the hive.

When asked if it’s logical to assume the bees could fly two feet to get the water, Sempliner said, “I don’t know if they’d bother. They could just step out of the hive and fall in the water.”

But that’s not all. Sempliner’s property is right on Little Neck Bay and he has several fresh water ponds nearby, so if the bees don’t like their water dish. There are many other bee-utiful options.

“I felt sorry for the inspector. I thought we should probably buy him some glasses,” Sempliner said.

The hive actually belongs to Sempliner’s friend, Jon Pettingill, who said the beehive waterer has been there since the hive was put up over a year ago.

“It does seem like the city is a little revenue hungry and trying to bring it in wherever they can,” Pettingill said.

Queens Councilman Daniel Halloran agreed.

“This is another example of the city going out of its way to collect revenue at the expense of our citizens. There are criminals who get cases in city criminal court who don’t have a $500 fine, let alone a $2,000 … this is absolutely absurd,” Halloran said.

Sempliner’s message to Mayor Michael Bloomberg is simple: you can catch more bees with honey than you can with vinegar — or in this case a city summons. He said City Hall should dismiss it.

Apparently the mayor agrees – you can catch more bees with honey, within limits. Because after Kramer called, a decision was made to change the violation to a “warning.”

Why, asked Kramer? Because, said a mayoral spokesman, officials “thought it through.”

Will New York City stop at nothing to get cash from residents? What do you think? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Ken

    No surprise here. New York is a liberal city. My question is, why does anyone who wants to make a living want to still live there.

    • Big Tony

      “…why does anyone who wants to make a living want to still live there.”

      I got one word for ya…Masochist….and that says it all.

      Hey … I got no problem with how people get their jollies …all I want is my piece of the action. …, you know what I’m saying?

      • Charybdis

        Conor- The wealthier folks who can are leaving NYC in droves due to the confiscatory increase in taxes. That’s why the city is so cash-strapped. And as soon as you happen to be one who is subjected to such a stupid fine as this, you’ll be singing a completely different tune. Unless you’re one of those “Thank you sir, may I have another” type of masochistic, guilt-ridden liberals.

      • Conor

        Or maybe the fact that jobs here pay more than anywhere else in the country… or the fact that it’s a cultural and artistic hub of, not only our country, but the world. World class restaurants and entertainment only add to the amazing city that is New York. I’m sure living somewhere where there’s a Wal-Mart is great too, though.

      • CraZed

        They don’t… That’s why the great state of NY is losing two congressional seats.

      • UnPCdMOM

        this is for Conor

        As a former Brooklyn NYer, I find your comment extremely condescending to any non city dwellers and the walmart part of it takes the cake as ONLY NY has had people trampled to DEATH for a stupid Black Friday sale.

        Keep your elitist culture, our Nation has so much more and better and ‘REAL”

      • Sid

        the death in Walmart occurred on Long Island not in NYC

      • Heres YOUR sign....

        Conor, people may make more in NYC but that’s because it costs more to live there DUH. Wages go up with the Cost of Living. Look it up

      • Conor

        This is for UnPCdMOM and “Heres YOUR sign….”

        Yes, it was supposed to be condescending. Good job on deciphering that… and as Sid pointed out, the death happened in Long Island, not NYC. A “former Brooklyn NYer” would should know the difference.

        “Here’s your sign” – And as for the cost of living argument, obviously that is true, salaries go up with the cost of living… I sort of took that as a given, although it may seem like news to you. The bigger picture though: The amount of wealth in this city is staggering, and it has little to do with the cost of living… it has to do with the fact that NYC is where the countries best and brightest flock to along with some of the countries most successful companies (along with the NFL and MLB… no big deal). This, in turn, causes the cost of living to go up. It might seem elitist or condescending, but it’s also the truth.

        Anyways, let me know if there are any good sales at Wal-Mart today.

  • Pablo

    What should be telling to all of us about the encroachment on our liberties is that any government entity even has regulations on watering beehives!

    • Ryan

      No Daryl D duke its for 22 inch DUB wheels that go on the BENZ hidden in the garadge

    • hp

      Even the warning is an insult.
      This shows the arrogance and fascist attitude of the rulers never admitting error.

  • JP Layman

    I hate how you’re in the middle of reading comments and the page refreshes itself and the comments you’re reading are gone. Free Press, Free Speech, I’d not think such things would happen. If someone is offended by something someone else says on some website, that’s their problem and it shouldn’t be resolved by muting a person’s opinion. Political Correctness run amuck.

    • Chuck NChuck

      yah…. refreshing is a pain in the a’.
      I keep pages from refreshing by using the Firefox browser with the NoScript addon.

      • Jimmy Smith

        Thanks Chuck! This is the best information I’ve ever seen on a comments page!

      • Matt

        Same here, AdBlock, NoScript, Flashblock, and zscaler are all fundamental must-have’s in my book.

  • Michael Hansen

    So they will let Sodomite Dismemberment attacks but if you dont water your bees you are toast?

  • Reggie Brannon

    Government has become public predators .They are the evil, government was formed to protect citizens from. This is exactly the government tyranny our ancestors fought and died to free Americans from. Americans failed to over see our government officials. Congress committed fraud and treason against the American people and nation in 1871. When they replaced our constitutional government of America that was founded and bound by laws the constitution and rights of the people . With the foreign incorporated government that we now have people are slaves to government .They can make anything a crime to prey and victimize the people .Members of the incorporated government are above the law and immune from criminal or civil punishment .The people no longer have protected rights ,We have unknowingly relinquished our constitutional rights in exchange for priveleges granted or taken as the government chooses

    • Gardentoolnumber5

      Yes, very well put. Congresses use the USC to wantonly violate our Constitutional protections thru a weak SCOTUS. Ever since FDR threatened to pack the court with Collectivists they seem to be a rubber stamp branch of our government.

      Congress should strike 5-10 laws for every one they pass from the USC.

      • rosewiththorns

        As you, I agree, well put! Only with the reaction and impact from the American Public will we see any change that the general public wises. Our “government” seems to have a “priviledged” attitude to where they believe all the wealth of the world is due them only, and the “little people” be hanged. Are we going to be a country of lemmings and let this atrocity of a “government” lead us to the slaughter, or are we a country of “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” kind of folks who would rather do for ourselves and prosper? Has the time truly come to divide our beloved US to be the “Socialists States of Amerika” vs “The America that Values The Rights and Laws of the Redeemer”? Maybe so. The division between “Republican” and “Democrat” are so blurred that even I can no longer tell who is truly a Dem or Rep, as so many of them change ships just to get elected!

        Changes are coming…we cannot deny that. But are we, as a country, willing to divide ourselves and become subject to capitulation to other countries based on belief? If so, we, as Americans, are doomed.

      • Cerberus

        I have lived and worked all over the country. In my time i have noticed that 7 out of 10 people are truely wearing blinders. Once you spark the conversation of what is going on in this country and how our government is no longer there to serve the people you almost always get the same response,,,OUR GOVERNMENT WOULDNT DO THAT, WE ELECTED THEM, THEY DO WHAT WE TELL THEM. Anyone with the blinders removed knows this is no longer true.

  • Mike

    Someone needs to spray some water on the democrats to snap them out of their trance.

    I saw Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom las weekend. I think the dems are in the deep sleep of Kali. Someone needs to go up to them with a torch and snap them out of the sleep.

    • rationalist

      What is it with the east & west coasts nowadays – are they for real…?!

      • Dave

        Did you notice which party owns the east and west coast in the general elections ? It’s the democrats, everything they touch turns to excrement. While the serve up the nasty sandwich to the public they tell us it’s gourmet fare, eat up and be happy, cause it could be worse.

    • Perturbed_Redneck

      NO!!! LET THEM SLEEP!!!

  • Bill from MD

    Please publish the name and phone number of the city inspector so we can all CALL HIM and tell him what a DUMB ASS he is!

  • geoff

    You can lead a bee to water, but….

  • Homer

    Take that beehive up to city hall and sling it in the front door.

  • JustSaying

    No wonder there are so many bus tours to NYC. It’s like going to the zoo, you walk around, point & stare, laugh and shake your head and then climb back on the bus to travel back to a normal society. So this poor guys fine got reduced to a warning…for WHAT??? My guess is for not greasing the inspector’s palm. What a place…

  • JasonG920

    Gay marriage is just another revenue stream for the local government.

  • JasonG920

    You are a moron.

  • Adam

    Bees can fly 3 miles away with perfect orientation. Plus, they only use water to cool the hive down on hot days, not actually drink it.

    Nothing worse than people who claim to love organic free range green space initiatives who then vote for people that punish participants.

  • Cogito

    That is government for you. Do they feel our pain, or do they cause our pain.

  • Joe Greenwell

    Ha ha ha shocking. you know that they could save money and stop writting the tickets and taking up court time just go ahead and confiscate the money. So when a cop walks down the street and thinks someone is doing something wrong they can just fine and confiscate the money right there on the spot.

    • Captain Incredulous

      We’ve become Mexico……..

    • Big Tony

      Yeah! that’s the ticket ! And the cop can take his cut and augment his salary. Why of course, that’s the way to do it !

      Hey you over the dar, whah you think you doing – get over here now!.

      How much you got on you? Hand it over punk.

      What’s this, a measly $10 bill?

      I’m given you just 2 hours to come up with some real dough or you are gonna get the business end of my baton here, capish?

  • robotsarestealingmyluggage

    They changed it to a warning oh how arrogant of you. If you work for government you don’t have to say I made a mistake or I’m sorry.

  • Dave Shaffer

    In New York, a guy gets fined for *not* watering a beehive. In Austin, he’d get fined if he *did* water it. Be glad y’all have water up there.

  • Reason8200

    When are you moronic gubermint loving liberal leftists going to get it through your soft heads that government isnt God. Big government doesnt solve problems it creates them. So keep using the government to take money that people have earned and give it to those who wont and watch your pathetic city sink further into oblivion. I say good riddance.

  • no_sheep

    Elected and appointed officials across America must pay a price for the growth of the bureaucratic state idiocy.

  • Harry K

    Useless government giving out fines for everything, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    • Scott Stevenson

      How exactly is this book you and other are spamming for “banned” if I can order it on Amazon?

  • Newt

    I, for one, welcome our new totalitarian overlords and bow down in worship of them.

    • P.T. Gustan

      What I have is theirs. I submit. The State’s will be done.

  • walter12

    You people in NYC get the government you voted for. Stop voting for communists, socialists, arch leftists, Muslims, traitors, thieves, and dopers and maybe things will change. However, one would have be nuts to live in NYC nowadays anyway.

    • Jonathan

      This is yet another reason to NOT live in NYC! The list of reasons is so long I can’t see how anybody with common sense lives there anymore.
      Just a few of them: high taxes, high cost of living, congestion, noise, permits for everything and everything, nuisance laws like this one – need I go on?

  • Jimmy Stewart

    I would never pay that to such a corrupt city as New York. What a bunch of thugs and thieves. I’d do whatever it took to move out that place.

  • pat

    I think that warning we are hearing is that this city is going down.

  • Superior Intellect

    Don’t worry, the next apiary will pay twice as much; illegal aliens in NYC need SOMEONE to pay for their medical care so the inspector will just find another target and hope that mark doesn’t receive the coverage this fine received.

  • The Clintidote

    I’d rather live in my car than live in New York, and millions of other members of the Normal-American Community agree.

  • Marc M

    I left NY in 2005, best move I ever made.

    Was born there and lived there 34 years.

    You don’t live in NY, you die there.

    • Tex

      Moved to Upstate NY from Texas in 2007. I am now on the search for a new job back in Texas! NY can take their commie gun laws, stupid people laws and taxes and stuff em!

  • Walt Campbell

    I thought the city fining the lady for growing a garden in her front yard was stupid. This takes bureaucratic idiocy to a whole new level. This “inspector” obviously has no knowledge of bees. Is he being punished or was he promoted to bee inspector?

    • AtillaTheHun

      What better evidence can you have that government is too big and out of control?

  • Mikey

    Once again you show your face with your spam. And once again your comment is reported.

  • Samantha

    As a beekeeper, this is really stupid. The bees will go get water WHEN they need it and WHERE they want. Putting water right in front of a hive does not mean they will get water there. You cannot control where they gather food or water. Obviously the inspector is a TOTAL IDIOT! It’s almost laughable if it weren’t so, so stupid. This is what the country is declining to??????

    • Tony

      Well Samantha, in my state we are required to water out Bee? I bet half your bees died from no water? And it you put your thinking cap on and a little effort you can control where they gather food and water.

      • Big Tony

        I just want it on the record that I don’t knows this guy Tony.

        Dah mut can’t even write a sentence.

        What’s dah world coming to, I asks ya !

        Big Tony

      • Nemo

        I too am a bee keeper.

        Samantha is right. The bees know what they need and will find it without the help of the Mayor. Just as a note of sanity. If the bees were in danger of running out of water where they are, they will move on. The colony will die out and the beekeeper won’t have any stock to rob of its honey.

        To Tony, I would like at say you are absolutely right too. May I offer your services in designing and creating and fitting each of the 30,000 to 60,000 bees in the hive with harness and traces so that Samantha can follow your obviously well meaning advice.

        Once they are in harness, she will be able to drive them back and forth up Broadway!
        Oh well on to something else.

      • Samantha

        You are not a bee keeper. …OBVIOUSLY!

      • RICHARD

        Where did bees get their water before man decided to get it for them?

  • Peter

    Why doesn’t the city employ people who will collect delinquent taxes, non payment of water bills, and fines for failure to repair decaying rental properties instead of this nonsense? Those are real debts and the city should collect them. Maybe the revenue shortfall will be a lot smaller.PRORITIZE,officials!

  • Mark Matis

    What else would one expect from New York “Law Enforcement”? After all, this is a Mere Citizen they are ticketing. It’s not as if he is an Only One or one of the Masters.

    The stench is overwhelming.

  • Garrett Baldwin
  • Ryan Mouk

    Useless charge against a public citizen. This is just a pretext to what this country is becoming. Because of the greed and bigotry of our government situations like this will continue to surface. Our government will go to any lengths to take YOUR money because they dont have any of their own anymore because they have spent it on outlandish salaries, illegal aliens, and useless wars that serve no purpose. Makes me proud to be an American when useless administrations like this force tax paying citizens to pay for the governments own inadequacies.

  • J Dance

    Michigan State University had a 100% loss of their bee (MSU is a big agricultural school) colonies this last winter, and world-wide the the bee population is down at least 40%. Bee keepers are having extreme difficulty keeping bees alive, much less profitably producing, and an IDIOT commie dictator and his gov’t want to PUNISH beekeepers?!

  • Big Bear

    So? Ignore the fine. Let them add it to their deficit.

  • Jeff

    The inspection was right in his decision to level the fine. Seriously, without government protections, how could the bees possibly have access to water? It’s not as if they ever find water out in the wild on their own. Maybe the federal government could also step in. The White House could develoip a “Bee Stimulus Program,” where each bee is issued a $1,000 check. The bees can then use the money to create jobs by hiring water suppliers to build pipelines to their hives.

    • Dave

      Yeah and someone should call Eric holder, I’m certain there is a civil rights violation here, this borders on torture of insects. Get PETA on the line, we need a cabinet level position and a Czar to get his machine rolling.

  • roccoco

    It should finally become obvious to all that it stopped being “to serve and protect” a long time ago. “Public Service” has become “How to do nothing productive, contribute nothing to society at large, and ride around in state owned vehicles, with state paid for gasoline, for as long as the system can be ‘gamed’ until ‘early retirement with 70-100% of overpaid salaries.

    Now that they have taken more than citizens can possibly continue to pay, the game is “revenue enhancement”. They will do whatever is necessary to keep their ‘free lunches’, ‘free rides’, ‘free retirements’ AND exercise the power they’ve gotten used to. They don’t know how do do anything else.

    Wake up, folks. Your tax money is supporting these shame less leeches.

    To HELL with the sham of “debt limits”. No one in society be bankrupt, and get another loan with the promise to ‘overspend’ a little less for the next ten years. What kind of fools have we all become?

    As long as we fall for their “excuses”, “reasons”, “teary eyed TV advertisements”, and “save the poor”, and “save the kids”, we will continue to be bled to death.

    • Dave

      Just keep this in the back of your mind and repeat it as often as needed.

      “A bureaucracy is an efficient and effective means whereby energy is converted into solid waste”

  • jd

    Unless you agree to cut spending (can’t do because of politics) or raise taxes (can’t do because the rich will leave and the middle class can’t afford it) this is what’s going to happen.

    • Dyscord

      Who is John Galt?

  • Mannie

    Obviously, New York City, in The Vampire State, has too many inspectors.

    • Manetti

      I am incredulous that there is any such thing as a “bee watering inspector”.

      Where do the authority and funds come from for that position?

      TLE in North Carolina

  • Anastasia Rominof

    New York city is run by socialists. It is destined to go bankrupt as it has in the past. You simply can’t spend more money than what you have, and you can’t keep squeezing the taxpayers for the benefit of slackers.


  • tim

    Man that stings

  • Henry

    These are the signs of a empire near the end of its reign. The banksters robbed us of trillions and now their political shills and hacks are going to tax us into oblivion. People should ask themselves this. Why is the government building a police state at the same time the ecconomy is going down the toilet? Because they know that the people are going to through a fit when they offer to fix it by hyperinflation and raid the pensions funds. The robbers plan on staying here in America and clamping down on us. I bet they plan on funding some CIA controlled radical muslims to blame it all on too so the American people will give up their retirement and be stripe searched, radiated and groped and learn to love it.

  • Bruce_Almty

    NYC should subsidize the people of NY for putting up with idiot officials.

  • Kevin Walston

    It sounds stupid,but considering bees are the polinaters of plant life,and are becoming close to endangered,I understand it completely.

    • Jon

      you understand fining some for not watering a beehive when water is provided? Really?

    • hungus

      Read the article. Again. This time, a little more closely. I mean really, really pay attention.

    • Rob

      That is not our money. All money belongs to the government and if we are lucky the government will let us borrow some of it for a little bit.

  • Cool Cat

    It’s going to take Cool Cat to save New York! http://www.CoolCatLovesYou.com

  • gjk

    NYC should be subsidizing anyone willing to keep beehives, not fining them.

  • Patrick in AZ

    I would fight that too – what is he being “warned” for? The city inspector is obviously wrong, and this guy does not need a record of a “warning” that can come back and bite him in the@ss later.

  • Andrew

    This article doesn’t describe anything about what I guess is a law that requires that people water their hives?

    • rbrandywine

      Yes, the article was lacking there. Are you supposed to water down the hive occasionally? If so, why?

  • Mark

    Good… Now even the bees will move out of New York.

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