Will Killer Bees Kill You?
We hear about African Killer bees killing people and animals, but what’s the reality here? Are they really that dangerous to man and beast? For those of us who live in the Southern states, where the African Bee has established its dominance in recent years the issue of how to handle a bee infestation can make for an emotional dilemma, especially to the allergic or those of us who are sensitive to the ecological issues that face the planet including the drastic and scary disappearance of the honey bee called Colony Collaspe Disorder.
As a Bee re-location specialist I believe I can speak with authority about the issues surrounding the personality of the Africanized Bee and their potential to due harm having removed countless hives of all sizes and temperaments. over the years. I first encountered what I would call an unusually “moody” beehive s while living in Mexico years ago. But my real introduction to the Africanized hive came when I started to remove established bee hives from structures as a full time service.
Up until recently the official position of the Dept of Ag Florida Bee has been to “kill all Feral hives” Feral as you know, means”wild” So in essence, any hive that you find anywhere other than in a bee keepers apiary is by definition “wild ” therefore you should kill them. I am sorry I just don’t agree with that. For one thing many hives that I find are friendly and obviously of a domestic strain related to the Italian honey bee. In the era of diappearing hives and the doomsday fears of no bees to pollinate our foods, why on earth would I kill a perfectly good hive? Others colonies are “hybridized” much like our regular bees but showing aggressive natures but still not all that bad. It basically means I cant take off my suit when working with them. And of course you have your really aggressive bees that will sting you and chase you down the road all day long. The Dept of Ag in most every state have the same polices, don’t take chances, kill all wild hives. When you see how ornery these aggressive hives can be you can understand how they arrived to this decision but this blanket approach to the problem is a bit like the nuclear option. The logic for trying to save all bee colonies no matter the strain is plain when you weigh out the facts. First of all the African bee was brought over to Brazil in the 50’s. AHB’s are a tropical bee they were crossing with the European bee to bring some of the better traits the AHB has to the tropical regions. And lets talk about those traits. The African bee is 10 times the collector of nectar than its Italian cousin. Its more disease resistant, will make a home just about anywhere, and yes its more defensive. The good defense mechanism is what gives the AHB its fame.Whereas the garden variety bee will allocate hundreds of bees to defend their hive, the AHB will send thousands. OK that’s bad, or is it.? In nature, a good defense mechanism is a means survival, and if bees are dying all over the world isn’t that what we want? Regardless of where you stand on the issue the final analysis is this; In the end it’s a losing battle.. Like the Borg in Star Trek “resistance is futile” all the bees, at least in the warmer states, will be some strain of Africanized bee sooner or later. Let me explain.
When a bee colony swarms it does so by growing up another queen who will take half the hive workers and go and find a new place to live. But before she leaves the hive, she will go on a mating flight. When she makes her flight the drones from the hive fly after her, following her scent. When they catch up to her they mate in the air.But in nature there are about 300 wild hives per square mile and 70 percent of those are likely to be Africanized. The African drone is faster and he ends up doing the deed long before the others arrive. The newly bred queen returns to the hive and she has the new AHB strain inside her. Kill all the hives you want, the fact is you are never going to make a dent in the population and everyone might as well get use to it. It might be better to embrace the African bee. The Nicaraguans, they catch AHB’s and hive them. creating huge hives that can produce as much as 50 pounds of honey per hive in as little as 17 days!! That’s amazing! I have not heard about anyone dying because of their working with AHB’s. In fact they are selling every drop of the AFB honey to Europeans who are lining up to buy it. That’s a good thing and worth our consideration.
When you get right down to it even the old fashioned honey bees is a transplant, a immigrant and newcomer to the Americas, and though their history and husbandry by human civilization goes far back, domesticating wild animals is what we humans do best anyway and even European bees were wild and unruly at one time. Like all dogs are related to wolves and coyotes, so the bee too goes through its metamorphosis in its relationship to human kind.
There are times we have removed hives that other companies said were “killer bees”that in reality were gentle as doves! That’s bogus! A shame, and only the savvy client will see through the hype and call a live removal company, clients that care about the planet. If you are allergic you should be careful no matter what, but if not, you should get a full counsel before you kill those bees.and a live bee removal technician can tell you all about your bees. Take the time to do your research can care for our bees.