Thursday, January 27, 2011


If someone sent you a self addressed letter detailing a situation precisely then asking questions about that situation – would you answer it if it was within your domain?
If you had to send such a letter to the beekeeper would you expect a response?
What if it was you writing the letter expecting a response about something more important from, say, a minister of state?

Something like –
Mr. B. Buzzbee
Proprieter/Sole Trader,
“Buzzbee Honeys R Us” ™
Of - Etc, Etc.
Dear Sir,
I note that you are the beekeeper who had placed your hives immediately next to my residence.
I know that for a fact since I recorded your name and address from your vehicle when you first set up those hives in locations I had determined as far too close to my home.
At the time I asked you to consider that your hives were too close to my residence.
Your response was that –
  • they were only harmless bees
  • I couldn’t dictate to a beekeeper where he could or couldn’t place his hives
  • responsible beekeepers look after their hives and therefore there won’t be a problem
  • If any problems occur I was to contact you as soon as possible
  • You complied with - - the beekeepers code of practice, Qld
You would also recall my phonecalls on occasions  xxxx, yyyy and zzzz when I contacted you to let you know that your hives have swarmed and have established new hives respectively in my shed, my patio and now my bathroom.

In short I am satisfied beyond doubt that –
  • you are the beekeeper at question
  • the bees I mention are yours and therefore of your responsibility, within your duty of care
  • I have taken reasonable and timely steps to inform you that your bees have been causing myself and my family unnecessary stress, inconvenience and detriment.
  • you have failed your duty of care by neglecting your hives - causing their swarming
  • you have failed your duty of care by situating your hives in unsafe locations
  • you have failed your duty of care by locating them unnecessarily close to my home against my express objections
  • you willfully misrepresented your intentions by falsely citing the beekeepers code of practice, Qld as a compliance document mandating certain timely action on your part
It has now become necessary to inform you that a member of my family was attacked yesterday by a swarm of your bees while inside our home and has, as a result  been admitted to hospital and the prognosis is   

Okay; the letter could continue describing the fate of the person beestung and the  resultant itemised demands for immediate satisfaction from the householder.
Every beekeeper I’ve known has been all too aware of the consequences of neglect of, or negligence with their hives; that receipt of their worst dream, a letter similar to the above is something to be avoided like the plague.
Beekeepers I’ve known avoid letters like that by various, usually pre-emptive, management methods –
  • knowledge – never knew a beekeeper who stopped learning or closed their mind to information
  • care – beekeepers who stop caring cease being beekeepers – often at the bees’ decision
  • caution – badly or annoyingly situated hives go missing – part of the learning curve
  • consultation – leads to well placed hives, healthy bees and happy neighbours
  • rapid response – often pre-emptive, allays concern, prevents complaint
  • good relations – beekeepers are into intelligence gathering – the lay of the land, flora and fauna, nearby crops and activities
  • education – good beekeepers having to learn all the above aren’t averse to sharing it with those who ask (or just happened to be standing nearby)
  • good product – by nature sells itself and by abiding by the steps above promotes good will

And as it is for good beekeepers so it is in most other successful enterprises – a little knowledge, care, responsibility and consideration goes a very long way.

But if I told you that this was an exercise at getting you, the reader, to have a slantwise look at the failings of our governments – you’d immediately become reasonably pissed off.
Fortunately nothing is further from the truth
All I’ll say is that you’d have to be a pretty bloody incompetent and unethical beekeeper to dump your little employees in someone’s face – to be so blind to the considerations of your own occupation and that of the effected householder that you caused that much harm.

But isn’t that exactly what ‘what passes for government’ does to people every day?
Isn’t it true that when detriment is caused and complaint made we are asked to “put it in writing, preferably ‘dot-pointed’ as briefly as possible – so the minister can understand your complaint”?
Isn’t it true whether you do that as requested or create a long, detailed and precise account that you never receive an adequate response?
Isn’t it true that if you push the matter for all you’re worth they still obfuscate and tell you that, other than litigation, your options are closed?
Doesn’t that mean they are operating outside the law?

If you don’t believe so; if you are okay both with politicians and errant beekeepers doing whatever they like on your side of the fence as well as theirs then you are a damned fool and deserve what politicians and suburban beekeepers will be dumping on your head soon.

Disclaimer –
Nothing here is intended or implied as criticism of, or insult to, our apiarists – on the contrary it is intended as fair comment about the parlous state of our alleged democracy. If any apiarists out there have a night job as politician – then they should quit beekeeping, stop mixing their occupations and most importantly, stop treating Australians like brainless bloody insects.

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