Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Comments Recieved Regarding Africanized Bee Encounters in Texas

   Here are sample comments on various encounters with the Africanized Honey Bee or hybrids in Texas.  I have lightly edited some of the comments to remove personal information and to take out irrelevant material.  I did not include discussions and parts of discussion.  Merely the comments.  I also included the counties where the comments were based if known.  I apologize  for not getting all comments in, but will consider adding more if they arrive

A couple of years ago, I had an encounter with bees one Saturday morning while cutting  scrub trees along the river. I bumped a tree containing a swarm of bees. I  vacated the bobcat tractor and outran all but about fifty of the bees.  If they had been the killer bees, I am convinced they would have done just that to me. I insist on having an enclosed vehicle near when working tree areas . They scare the hell out of me !!

Refugio Co.

I've run into colonies in walls of abandoned buildings, furniture in abandoned
buildings, and badly deteriorated rock gateways.  It is incredible, to me, how
much more aggressive they are than the bees in my backyard. Once, as a
test, I drove very slowly away from an attacking colony ... they continued
buzzing the car for well over a half mile.  They also seem to be much more
easily irritated.  I regularly walk within feet of the - I presume - European
Bee colony using the water feature in my back yard (in fact, I will add water to
the feature while they are using it) with no trouble.  I have to do one point on
one of my breeding bird survey routes from within my car (a strictly visual
count) as opening doors will bring a colony up from an abandoned tornado shelter
about thirty feet away.

To make things really entertaining, I am allergic to bee and wasp stings.  These
guys just plain scare the crap out of me - I would rather have to move a
five-foot diamondback by hand than be within range of a colony of aggressive

Lubbock Co.

Mr.  Freeman:
 In 2___ our son passed away.  After about a year and vandals, we went to his mobile home to prepare it for removal from the property.  It was a very hot September day and there was no electricity in the house.  We started to clean out the kitchen drawers and cabinets and were quickly swamped by bees that had made a nest behind and around the dishwasher.    Before I could reach the front door, I had been stung by these bees more than 60 times.  My wife outside was stung too .  We had to get in the truck to get away from them. [ ]…...  We got rid of them [bees] later by putting four bug bombs in the kitchen very carefully.  A broken window is how they got in but it was so hot in there it was hard to think how they could survive it.  They had made nests with honey in some but after the poison vapor we did not think it was safe to eat.  We threw it out on the drive then other bees found it and before long there was another swarm  outside….[ ]
Live Oak Co.

[ ] My mother , now deceased,  was almost killed by these bees in 1992 when she pulled a hoe or a maybe shovel  from under her porch where she kept them.  I think she was stung over 100 times .  She was 77 at the time. [ ]
Lavaca Co.

I chiefly do wildlife photography which of course leads me into bird imaging. On a S Texas ranch, I was examining a small abandoned home provided for ranch workers. I was looking for Black Widows. I eased into the kitchen and became aware of the bee hive. This is about as scared as I have ever been in the wild. I slid out of there without incident but my knees were quaking.
S. Texas

I had fun with bees on my back porch when I tried to install the little yellow bee guards on a hummingbird feeder that had some bees moving in. The bees objected violently and I ducked inside with only a couple of bees. The ones at the feeder called up friends and started to dive bomb the glass door. They could see me easily wearing a red tee shirt and did not let up. Sounded like a sleet storm. It would have been a disaster if I had not been just feet from the door.

When I moved here long ago there were several large hives hanging over the bayou without hives, just very large honeycombs. They vanished over several years and storms. According to the pest control people there has been a reduction in killer genes here in houston recently and they now remove bees from walls etc rather than immediately gassing them but they have to be careful.

We had a swarm go by at the Neotropic sanctuary this may coming from the beach that ignored us even though they passed by within a few feet in mid may this year that had none that acted badly.

Harris Co.
I have a very large oak tree on the far end of my lots and I was building a tree house the other day at about 15 feet above the ground.  While I was up in the tree, my dog was messing around below.  She would do lots of yelping and jumping through bushes.  I thought she was just excited because I was up the tree.  After a couple of minutes I start having flies buzzing around my face.  Started paying attention to them, I realized they were bees and they were really getting after my dog and me up 15 ft in a tree.  I got out of the tree as fast as I cound and I ran about 100 yards before I got away from them falling twice in the process.  Thick clothes protected most of me, but I can see how somebody could die from their attack.
Victoria Co.

Re:  bees - a co-worker was stung by bees from a colony in a water meter or similar structure at work.  Her car was parked next to it, and she disturbed them by getting out of her car.  Fortunately she suffered relatively few stings. 

 ......We took in a few horses for a friend  two years ago as we no longer had any of our own , just the sheds and corrals.  Within an hour of them arriving we noticed the horses were acting crazy and wild.  My hubby and I went out to look and could see they were being invaded by swarms of bees ….[ ] …. Hubby wrapped a blanket around him and ran to open the corral gate so the horses could run out to pasture.  He was stung several times and bees chased him all the way back to the house.  There is no way to know how many times the horses were stung […] the hive was  in a wooden gravity feeder and it was destroyed but the horses would not come near the shed again in the 5 months they were here [ ]….
Hill  Co.

It certainly will help me--and, I should imagine, many others--to keep in mind the kinds of situations where nests of killer bees may exist.  They can be easy to forget, and they are not often attention grabbers! For example, a dead/dying tree can look so innocent! And, as in your case, these dangerous situations can be hidden.
[ ]… when we burned a big pile of dead trees and brush last year there was a cloud of bees that came out .  No one was stung but there were millions of bees flying in the air …[ ]
Kimble Co.

  …[ ] the man that takes care of our  yard was attacked by a swarm of bees in May when he was weed eating along the side of our house.  He was stung all over and was chased by the bees to his truck parked down the block…[ ]..I was not home at the time but he said he had about 40 stings…the hive was under our deck …[ ]
San Antonio

Brush:  I am a heavy equipment operator and owner.  Bees are one of the major safety issues we are trained to be aware of.  I have had several  unpleasant encounters with them and you are correct about the dangers.  I am 41 and physically fit.  Someone less fit and maybe older would have been in extreme danger in some of these cases …[]…fire extinguishers  do work to an extent if that is the only option available but only temporarily .
Hays Co.