Blackstone Commentaries, Book II divides the entire animal kingdom into two classes. Domesticated animals (ferae domitia) and wild (ferae naturae). Wild animals are also divided into two classes — those free to roam at will and those which have been subjected to man’s dominion.
The honey bee that exists in the wild (lives in a tree cavity) is little different from the honey bee that lives within a man-made hive. However, honey bees do swarm and thus are free to roam at will. Honey bees do not trespass and the owner of property has no title to wild things using his property. The owner of property can prevent others from coming onto his/her property and taking them and the property owner has a right to capture a swarm and hive it. Trespassing is a violation of the law and is enforceable.
“So long as bees remain in the hive of the claimant and on his premises or premises under his control, they are his.” (Supra.§ 5).
It is when they leave his/her hive and premises, as in swarming, that complications arise. Case law has reflected the general idea that as long as the beekeeper keeps the swarm in sight and can identify them has his/hers, the beekeeper retains ownership of the bees. However, in getting the bees hived, one may be charged with trespassing.