The Perfect Life #50: Bad Bees and Worse Neighbors

The Perfect Life #50 by Dr. Perfect

Dear Dr. Perfect,

My next-door neighbors’ bees suck the pollen from my flowers. Can I sue them for percentage of the resulting honey? Can I kill my neighbors as a form of back payment? And should I hire a lawyer if I’ve already done so? 

Yours in peace,

A sad gardener


Dearest Sad Gardner, 

I’m no lawyer, but if your neighbor’s bees are stealing pollen from your flowers, and you can prove it in a court of law, you should sue the bastards. That goes for the neighbors and their bees. 

When I was five years old, one flew inside my shirt and stung me. I still haven’t forgotten the physical and mental anguish it caused in addition to the embarrassment of bawling like a baby in front of dozen grade school peers at the bus stop. I’ll never forgive that bee. 

Bumblebees are smug by nature, with their hive mentality and immaculate honeycomb production. They buzz around, scaring people half to death and pollinating flowers without a care in the world. This process, we’re told, is vital to plant life and the ecosystem at large, but you what I think: kill all the bees.

Pollination could just as well be subsidized by the government, like farming, and micromanaged to desired results. Do we really need bees? Their gradual population decline had led to great concern and the increase of commercial beekeeping. Everyone wants in on the action, just waiting for some of that sweet honey. 

Your neighbors might have deliberately excluded you from their business venture to keep all the honey for themselves. In the movie Goodfellas, Jimmy Conway, portrayed by Robert De Niro, organized the murder of his own crew after they helped pull off a massive heist at JFK. He too wanted it all only to be betrayed by long-time associate Henry Hill, portrayed by the late Ray Liotta. Hill joined the witness protection program in exchange for testimony against all his mobster buddies. Don’t get mixed up with the mafia. 

Your letter is not the first one I’ve received involving a bee dispute. Firstly, never kill your neighbors as a form of back payment. The whole thing might be one big misunderstanding. Prior to seeking financial restitution, try talking to your neighbors. Assert that their bees remain on their side of the property. Or consider that the bees belong to no one, and that the entire grievance is all in your mind. 

As much as I enjoy a good courtroom drama, our legal system is already tied up with frivolous lawsuits to no end. Nothing against the attorneys, but I’ve endured enough of these tacky lawyer TV commercials to last a lifetime. It’s best to return to gardening and refrain from violence. Gardening should be therapeutic in that regard. My own Zen Garden works wonders. It’s more of a sandpit in the backyard, but I did throw some rocks around it. 

If it’s not too late, offer your neighbors a truce with a freshly baked cake, something sweet and delightful. Boil some hot tea and talk things out. I believe that’s how the armistice was reached in WWI. 

Don’t throw hot tea in their faces. Do smile and nod politely. Don’t bake bees into the cake to send a chilling message. Do engage in light banter. Don’t install secretive recording devices through their home. Do suggest an enduring compromise and so forth. These simple dos and don’ts should get you through the initial sit-down. 

If all else fails, hire the first lawyer you see on a billboard. That’s how I handle most legal issues. They’ll fight for you for enough money. It’s a wonderful system. 


Dr. Perfect has slung advice across the globe for the last two decades due to his dedication to the uplift of the human condition.

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