Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Failed Honey Heist Lands 3 in Hospital: Bees Stand Their Ground

Three grown men tried to play Winnie-the-Pooh and attempted to steal honey from 30,000 honeybees.

Three Florida men tried to scrape honey from a hive in their back yard. The bees, in defense of their home, swarmed the men and attacked, stinging the men about 50 times each. A woman was also attacked when she went outside during the attack. All the victims were not severely hurt, and are expected to survive.

Clearly, these men don't remember all the times Winnie-the-Pooh was unsuccessful and had to run away from the attacking bees.

Self-Defense?

The bees and their hive were eventually evicted from the backyard tree, which is completely unfair! The men were the ones trespassing. The bees were only trying to defend their home. If I were them, I'd claim self-defense.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law allows the use of deadly force if "the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm." Also, if you are in your home, you have no duty to retreat from an invader before blasting away at him with your stinger weapon.

These bees were just cute little creatures, minding their own business making honey. Suddenly, three huge men with a long stick were swatting at them willy-nilly. A bee could have been squashed by the stick! What if the Queen Bee got injured? The bees were well within their rights to attack those men.

Self Defense in Other States

It hurts less than a bee sting to remember that self-defense laws vary from state to state. Not all states allow the use of deadly force in self-defense.

Most states only allow the use of reasonable force in self-defense. This means that the defense must be proportionate to the harm done. For example, your neighbor pinches you. You can probably push him away in self-defense, but you can't pull out a gun and shoot him in the face.

Some states, like Arkansas, Connecticut, and Delaware, impose a duty to retreat. This means you have to try to walk away from an aggressor before you can respond with force in self-defense. You cannot use deadly force if you didn't try to avoid the harm first.

So bees, check your state's self-defense laws before you attack any more intruders.

Let's bee safe out there.

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