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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    226

    Default Being sued for Bee stings?

    I'm not being sued but am curious about possibility. I have talked with a couple people who have helped but wanted to broaden my feedback about the subject.

    My question has been. Who offers Homeowners Insurance that covers bees. Not for selling Honey but if a neighbor or someone in the area gets stung and is allergic to Bee stings? I guess there could always be different reasons why someone would be stung. I live in a subdivision and lets just say for sake of argument my neighbor is mowing, a few bees head bump him as a warning and my neighbor freaks out and starts swatting or something and then they sting (Or come up with your own worse case scenario).

    So I am curious how many people have heard or been through a lawsuit because a neighbor was stung etc... Or maybe is it worth trying to find Insurance? I know many here probably live on large lots/land etc and doesn't matter but mainly curious what my fellow keepers who live on lots in a subdivision do if anything?

    I know some say not to tell your neighbors but I am in good standing with them, a few come over and offer a hand in the backyard when I need it. Infact 2 neighbors already saw the hives (No bees in it but...) The other neighbor, when mowing the yard can see into my yard through the fence as the fence isn't board to board (not sure what this style of fence is called) but if you look at an angle you can see the hives.

    When I had Venomous snakes, they freaked but no one caused a problem, most just didn't come in lol. However Venomous snakes were not loose and flying around the neighborhood but having said that Bees are around even without my hives so they would have to prove it was mine but as I said, worst case scenario my neighbor is weedwacking, hits a rock and thumps the hive or catches the bees on a bad day... I don't know. I guess some of the stories I have read on here freak me out, someone is 30 feet away and is stung, few bees patrol the windows and doors lol. I'm not making this up.

    If it was me I wouldn't worry about it but just wanted to ask what others like me do, if anyone has been sued or has had issues?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,941

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    I have not pursued this sort of liability insurance but have thought about it.

    should someone allege that they were stung by one of my bees, had a reaction and were thus injured, I think they would have a hard time proving that they were beyond doubt stung by one of my bees. There are lots of stinging insects in the world and there is no one claiming ownership of most of them.

    I think (operative word think) that as long as you can demonstrate that you were following best bee keeping practices (ie providing a water source, keeping flight ways elevated) that you shouldn't have a hard time defending yourself from a lawsuit. Not that defending yourself wont be expensive...
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,315

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    I agree, it would be hard to prove that the bee came from your hives, but the expense of a law suit still exists. Andrew's advice is probably the best you can follow unless you remove them to an out yard.

    Isn't it funny how far we have come, I remember when I was a child if you removed your shoes to walk through the yard then several bee stings was nearly always the result and an accepted thing however since ccd people have become accustomed to not having to deal with honeybees in the yard.

    I live in the country and the nearest neighbor is across the road from me but I have never told him that I have honeybees, and I plan on keeping it that way.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Liability is lust that. We cannot determine the outcome of any meeting between animals and humans. I have bees land on me all the time all over the country. Rarely do I get stung. But then again I welcome them. I do not swat at them. I also raise, ride, and train horses. We are known for producing well behaved, cooperative, hind companion animals. However, No one can predict what another living creature will or will not do with 100% surety. That is why inherent risk laws were developed. As long as you make every effort associated with sound beekeeping practices you have done your part. As such you cannot be held accountable.. Some people may try, or threaten in hope of a settlement. However, there is one point to remember. Malicious prosecution is an intentional tort, and if someone unsuccessfully sues you , you can in turn sue them. For attorney fees, lost wages, and emotional distress. Bankruptcy can not be filed on an intentional tortuous act.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    It's an interesting question. We have laws that address aggressive dogs and aggressive dog breeds. You have a greater responsibility to restrain/confine more aggressive breeds. I wonder if your potential liability would change if you where proven to be keeping bees known to be aggressive, Africans for example.

    Trance, when you kept venomous snakes was there a greater potential liability if a child visited your home and decided to play with the snakes?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    [QUOTE=trance;923264<snip>... Venomous snakes were not loose and flying around the neighborhood but having said that Bees are around even without my hives so they would have to prove it was mine but ....<snip>[/QUOTE]

    I'd be willing to bet there WERE venemous snake around (not flying but there, nonetheless) but just not yours. Same with the bees, as you've already come to the conclusion. You're more likely to get hit with yellow jackets while mowing (or most any other yard activity) than you are by a honeybee. If someone gets stung and they try to say it was your honeybees that did it, they'll need to prove it, I think. -js

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,658

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    The possibilty does exists that it was not one of your (our) bees. Therefore, it cannot be proven beyond a shadow of doubt.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    IF a neighbor were stung, and
    IF he were actually injured, and
    IF he chose to sue you, and
    IF he were able to show by a "preponderance of evidence" that it was not a bee from any one of hundreds of possible nesting places in hollow trees, walls, barrels, boxes, attics, eaves, garages, or abandoned homes withing a 2 mile radius,
    THEN you might have to worry about being held liable.

    I think you're pretty safe.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Quote Originally Posted by alblancher View Post

    Trance, when you kept venomous snakes was there a greater potential liability if a child visited your home and decided to play with the snakes?
    I could not find any company that would cover venomous snakes. However I wasn't as worried because under Florida Law they must be in locked cages. Plus I had a secure room, no way out unless I left the door open... I could control the situation. I knew I was safe.

    I have 2 Rotties, I can't find Homeowners insurance that will cover them. Not as secure as a locked room for Venomous snakes but I do my best to control where they can roam (Keeping fences closed and locked, leash and so on...) I'm not saying they are "Bad Dogs" but they can be protective and it is my responsibility to protect people from any accidents by being a responsable dog owner.

    Dixiebrooks: Yes there are Venomous snakes all around, in fact a Cottonmouth was 15 feet into the wetlands from my backyard the other day. However there are different antivenoms used depending what species you are bit buy. I didn't really keep native Venomous snakes, I had Mangshan Vipers, Cobras, Rhino Vipers and so on... Had a neighbor described the snake that flared up like a Cobra I would be the first person they questioned. We do have to report each year what snakes we have and how many and also who we sell them to and what has died etc...

    A bee sting isn't that big of a deal I guess but say he is swarmed on for whatever reason, even by a few bees... I don't know. probably isn't nothing. No one on here has yet stated they have insurance so I'll probably not worry as well. Just want to be a responsible owner but also cover my butt for "Just incase".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV, but I'm fairly certain that there's no "beyond a reasonable doubt" rule in a civil suit, which this would be.

    West Virginia is the only state that I know of that currently has a law which limits the liability of beekeepers *if* they're following best management practices as set forth by their apiary inspector. Florida and Tenn. both have laws stating the localities cannot make laws regarding beekeeping, only the state can do that there. If you're concerned, and you're at least thinking about it, I'd suggest getting involved with your state association and discuss proposing legislation limiting liability. The more states that implement such a thing the more other states can follow suit.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
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    1,896

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Therefore, it cannot be proven beyond a shadow of doubt.
    In a civil suit, the claimant does not have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, all he has to prove is a preponderance of the evidence. If someone is stung, multiple times, just a few feet away from multiple hives, most likely that is all that would be required. Even a single sting, near multiple hives, would likely be enough. Every jury may be different, but, you would still be out the cost of the proceedings.

    Farm Bureau in Ky. will insure as part of their Farm Insurance.

    cchoganjr

  12. #12

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Read all about the health benefits of bee venom - and charge fees for the stings. ink:

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,568

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    There is a book, "Bees and the Law" I think, written by a former Judge from Williamsburg,VA which addresses what one may encounter regarding Bees and Lawsuits. I bet someone could find a link to it. It's probably available thru Larry Conner's Wicwas Press or Dandant Books. Maybe it's available on line.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    I have bee hives near my home. If a home visitor gets stung I do not want to worry about losing my retirement income to a lawsuit. I there forth have a specific bee liability insurance policy from Farm Bureau.

    If I find any flying snakes I may need to add a rider to the policy.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,095

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    I don't remember where, but one of the beekeeping sites I've seen has a speaker's list.....Sting liability was on the list of subjects.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    John,

    You say it's a specific bee liability policy....is it really bee-specific or is it just a personal umbrella policy?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,896

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBeeMan View Post
    I there forth have a specific bee liability insurance policy from Farm Bureau.
    I also have Farm Bureau, and I sleep at night, knowing that Farm Bureau is awake, worring about my bees, but, not me.

    The fact that I have bees on my farm, for sell, and honey production is noted on my policy. It is not bee specific, it is just noted.

    cchoganjr

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,568

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Product liability and Home Owners liability coverage I am familiar w/, but not specific bee liability. Are you sure? Can you Post the Policy Line description and ID Number if there is one? That sort of thing could come in handy. What does it cost you? Is it part of your Special Farm Package or your Homeowners Policy?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBeeMan View Post

    If I find any flying snakes I may need to add a rider to the policy.
    Just for fun...

    Here is your flying snake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwDAsJCB2Pg actually it glides but is called a flying snake. However, I don't think you have anything to worry about as they are located on the other side of the world.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,896

    Default Re: Being sued for Bee stings?

    Mark... I don't know of any specific bee liability in the Farm Bureau Farm Insurance Policy that I have.

    I checked and I disclosed that I had bees, to make sure i would be covered.

    cchoganjr

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