Not every insect is a pest.
Honey bees – especially those cultivated by professional beekeepers – are quite possibly the most crucial insect species we have. There’s more to it than only the honey, too. According to the USDA, roughly one-third of our diet consists of crops which are pollinated by bees. Many plants wouldn’t produce fruit and vegetables if it weren’t for the work accomplished by honey bees.
Unless there’s a hive or colony located near people or pets, it’s best to leave well enough alone and allow the honey bees do their thing. If you discover a hive in a place that is troubling, a dependable Animal Removal company can eliminate the colony or, in some cases, move into a safer location.
With all that said, however, there are instances when bees can be a serious threat. “Killer” bees are not only a myth – they’re a real phenomenon called Africanized honey bees.
All types of bees swarm from time to time, almost always during the spring. It’s a process that takes place after a new queen is now an adult and a part of the old colony leaves to make a new hive somewhere else.
That is where the threat comes in. Swarms are huge, dense clusters of bees. One bee sting, except in the rare case of a severe allergic response, is not dangerous. Because Africanized bees swarm in greater numbers and are typically a lot more competitive than normal honey bees, AHB swarms can easily inflict 100 or more bites in a frighteningly short period of time.
Even when they aren’t swarming, AHBs are more aggressive when it comes to protecting their dwelling. They actively guard their hives and, while they do not randomly attack humans and creatures they encounter when gathering pollen, Africanized bees will try to bite”invaders” who come within as much as 100 feet of the colony. Regular honey bees rarely sting people who wander up to within 15 feet of the home, and even then they often won’t attack unless the hive itself is disturbed.
So how do you tell a normal honey bee and its hive from a single that is Africanized? You can not, and that amplifies the danger. It’s only been lately that federal and state officials have added Arkansas and Oklahoma to the list of areas that AHBs now inhabit. They were first found in southeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Arkansas in 2005, but they have steadily moved into broader areas of both states.
Today, you should think about any bee and its colony to be Africanized, merely to be on the safe side. If you find a hive, move away quickly and get a reliable pest management agency and your local county extension office. If you are stung, RUN and don’t stop running until you’re safely indoors or in some other enclosure, like your car.