Bees pose a dilemma. We all know bees are essential pollinators, not just in the Arizona ecosystem, but everywhere. We protect them whenever possible and even encourage them into our gardens.

Who's at fault if bees hurt someone on your property?
Gilbert Mills of Mills Beekeeping shows me the bees he removed from my house. He captured the queen and safely relocated the hive. // Photos by Val Davidson // TSM (Created with Canva)

We also know bees can pose a safety threat. If you run a business or have a home with children or pets, having a mess of bees unexpectedly take up residence on your property can become a big problem.

When Bees Moved into My Arizona Home

A few years ago, I had a BIG bee problem. Bees found a crack in the foundation of my home and began moving in. They ushered in the queen, began building a hive in the space under my bathtub and sink, and essentially took over that part of my house.

Who's at fault if bees hurt someone on your property?
Mills Beekeeping removes bees from my property. (Right) Gilbert explains the difference between a male and a female bee. // Photos by Val Davidson // TSM (Created with Canva)

It wasn't long before they planted a virtual flag and claimed my my bathroom for the crown. We managed to stuff blankets and towels under the bathroom door, to keep them from moving into the rest of the house, but it was a scary time.

It took a few sleepless nights and a competent beekeeper to remove the queen and the rest of the hive from the walls. It was an exhausting process, and one I won't soon forget.

READ: If You Spot This Insect in Arizona, Destroy it Immediately!

Who Is Responsible if Someone Gets Stung on Your Property

After this event, I started to wonder: who is responsible if someone gets stung on your property?

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After all, I didn't invite the bees or the hive into my space. Would this be considered an act of God, or could our family be held responsible and sued if someone got hurt?

Who's at fault if bees hurt someone on your property?
Home and business owners must provide a reasonably safe environment. // Canva

I have bad news: you may not have asked the bees to move in, but if someone gets hurt or stung at your home or business, you could be held liable.

That's if anyone is hurt - a family member, a guest, a customer, or even a trespasser - could sue you or your business for damages.

Who's at fault if bees hurt someone on your property?
Who's responsible if someone is hurt by stinging insects like bees on your property? // Canva

The Arizona State Premises Liability Law

According to the Arizona state premises liability law, property owners could be held liable for injuries:

  • If they knew about a dangerous condition on the property and failed to address it.
  • If they fail to warn visitors of dangerous conditions on the property.

And yes, this could potentially apply to situations where there is a known, dangerous infestation of stinging insects - like bees or wasps.

Who's at fault if bees hurt someone on your property?
If someone is hurt on your property, legal trouble could get expensive. // Canva

The way the law is applied would depend on the specific circumstances. It's always a good idea to talk to a legal professional about the details. Hopefully, they'll be able to take some of the sting out of a bad situation.

[ | | | | University of Arizona Cooperative Extension |]

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