July 9, 2016

How to reduce the likelihood of being attacked by Africanized Bees.

As Africanized bees spread across North America more and more people are having to learn to live with these bees and adapt their behaviour, just as they have had to do when living near poisonous snakes or large bears. The first thing to remember is that Africanized bee attacks while being very alarming when they do occur and in some instances fatal, are in fact relatively rare. The movie depiction of angry swarms of  ‘killer bees’ lurking in bushes and trees and then chasing and covering an unsuspecting passer-by in seconds is thankfully far-fetched.

However attacks do occur and even if you are not chased by hundreds of bees, the over defensive behaviour of these insects does mean that if you disturb an Africanized bee’s nest you can be chased and stung by many more bees than if you disturbed most other type of bee. Multiple stings especially in those who are allergic or the elderly or very young can be very serious. Therefore it is worth taking some precautions to reduce the likelihood of an attack by Africanized Bees and here are some suggestions.

  • Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, do not touch it. Keep your family and animals away from the bees until you have had it removed or inspected by a pest control company or an experienced beekeeper.
  • It is impossible to prevent Africanized bees from building nests as they will use almost anything for this purpose. But try wherever possible to fill any cracks or gaps in house walls or holes in the ground near to your living area. A tidy yard will also reduce the likelihood of bees building nests, as Africanized bees often nest in piles of refuse or unused materials and are even known to build nests in discarded soda cans.
  • When gardening or clearing, cutting bushes or trees check first for signs of bees coming and going. If in any doubt wear head protection. The same applies if you are using mechanical equipment as bees become very agitated by such noise.
  • If you go hiking try to stay on defined trails, carry bug spray and always carry your cell phone with you in case you have to call for help. You should also consider wearing light coloured clothing as bees are more prone to attack dark things.
  • Avoid wearing strong perfumes as bees are sensitive to odours and these will attract their attention.
  • If bees start to bump into you, behave strangely or follow you, vacate the area quickly, as this is often the first sign that a colony is on the alert and may be about to attack.

These Africanized bees can be alarming and unpredictable but by using common sense and taking sensible precautions you should be able to avoid any serious problems.

More Killer Bee Information