Africanized Honey Bees
"Africanized honeybees are not to be feared, but they are to be respected. By understanding how they behave, you can avoid close encounters with AHBs or respond appropriately if a problem develops."
Dr. Eric Mussen
Listen to Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology talk about Africanized honey bees on the national Fox Network (8/1/12). Read Dr. Mussen's article Africanized Honey Bees in California. Dr. Mussen Honored by California State Beekeepers Association.
What to do if attacked by Africanized honeybees:
1. Run away quickly. Do not stop to help others. However, small children and the disabled may need some assistance.
2. As you are running, pull your shirt up over your head to protect your face, but make sure it does not slow your progress. This will help keep the bees from targeting the sensitive areas around your head and eyes.
3. Do not stop running until you reach shelter, such as a vehicle or building. A few bees may follow you indoors. However, if you run to a well-lit area, the bees will tend to become confused and fly to windows. Do not jump into water. The bees will wait for you to come up for air. If you are trapped for some reason, cover up with blankets, sleeping bags, clothes or whatever else is immediately available.
4. Do not swat at the bees or flail your arms. Bees are attracted to movement, and crushed bees emit a smell that will attract more bees.
5. Once you have reached shelter or have outrun the bees, remove all stingers. When a honeybee stings, it leaves its stinger in the skin. This kills the honeybee so it can’t sting again, but it also means that venom continues to enter the wound for a short time.
6. Do not pull stingers out with tweezers or your fingers. This will only squeeze more venom into the wound. Instead, scrape the stinger out sideways using your fingernail, the edge of a credit card, a dull knife blade or other straight-edged object.
7. If you see someone being attacked by bees, encourage that person to run away or seek shelter. Do not attempt to rescue the person yourself. Call 9-1-1 to report a serious stinging attack. The emergency response personnel in your area have probably been trained to handle bee attacks.
8. If you have been stung more than 15 times or are feeling ill, or if you have any reason to believe you may be allergic to bee stings, seek medical attention immediately. The average person can safely tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. This means that although 500 stings can kill a child, the average adult could withstand more than 1,100 stings.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture
Summer Safety: How to Avoid Bee-Swarm Attacks - Scientific American 6/13/16
TIPS: What to do if attacked by Honey Bees:
Government Agencies re: Africanized Honey Bees:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection Article (8/27/07)
CBP Finds Africanized Honey Bees on Vessel
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service-Carl Hayden Bee Research
Educational Institutions/Research Organizations provide Advice, Guidance, Information:
University of Tennessee, Agricultural Extension Service
ATTACKS BY AFRICANIZED HONEY BEES:
February 21, 2017 Boy Swarmed by Bees Taken to Phoenix Hospital http://gilavalleycentral.net/boy-swarmed-by-bees-taken-to-phoenix-hospital/
TIPS: What to do if Attacked by Africanized Honey Bees: http://kron4.com/2016/05/15/tips-what-to-do-if-attacked-by-africanized-honey-bees/
May 14, 2016 http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_29934824/concord-dna-tests-show-honeybee-attack-was-not (Note: This particular attack by honey bees may not have been Africanized Honey Bees.)
3/27/15 California: Swarm of Killer Bees Sting, Kill 3 Pet Dogs Officials Say
3/22/15 Man Stung 100's of Times at Baseball Game in Utah
3/10/14 Woman, Teen Hospitalized With Hundreds of Bee Stings Following Collision
11/7/13 Africanized Bees Kill Pit Bull, Injure Another In Florida Neighborhood
Man Dies After Honey Bee Attack - City Warns Residents of Bee Dangers (Nogales Intl. - July 17, 2012)
Killer Bees Swarming Into Oklahoma (News9.com - April 26, 2012)
Personal Accounts from LACBA Members:
2012 LACBA President, Jim Lindsey's son was attacked by Africanized bees while working in their apiary resulting in multiple bee stings. Due to this unfortunate incident, Mr. Lindsey has closed his family run apiary. However, Jim is a passionate beekeeper and will maintain a few gentle European hives.
2011 LACBA President, Clyde Steese, was attacked by Africanized bees while working in his apiary and rushed to nearby hospital. 300 stings were found on a single sleeve before they stopped counting. The aggressive Africanized hive which had infiltrated his European colony has been destroyed. Clyde continues to maintain bees in Los Angeles county and travels his bees to almond pollination.
In these cases, the docile honey bee hives had been taken over by aggressive Africanized honey bees.
We'd like to thank Derek Roach of Pro Pacific Bee Removal for the following Graphic.