The BEEMASTER SYSTEM of Honeybee Control
Africanized honey bees (the so-called "killer bees It) arrived in Arizona in 1993. Many Arizonans know that these bees can be dangerous and are concerned about the public health threat posed by them. This pamphlet explains how regular honey bees differ from Africanized bees and when they are dangerous. It also describes a new technology that can safeguard any property from the danger posed by Africanized bees.
"Regular" honey bees were brought to the United States from parts of Europe. These European bees are adapted to a temperate climate with cold winters. Africanized bees were brought to Brazil from Africa and mistakenly released in 1957. Africanized bees are adapted to a tropical climate and will live only in warm areas of the United States. The sting from one Africanized bee is no different than one from a normal honey bee. The biggest difference between the two bee types is behavior. Africanized bee nests are easily provoked into stinging attacks involving large numbers of bees.
IDENTIFYING HONEY BEES
Africanized bees are physically similar to regular honey bees. It takes an expert 4 to 6 hours using a microscope and computer to identify whether a bee is Africanized or not. You cannot distinguish between the two types of bees by simply looking at them.
WHEN ARE BEES DANGEROUS?
Honey bees are usually seen in four situations; foraging on flowers, collecting water, traveling in swarms, and nesting in established hives or colonies.
Honey bees visit flowers to collect pollen and nectar. These plant products are used as food by the bees. Foraging bees also benefit the plant by pollinating its flowers.
Honey bees visiting flowers are not dangerous. If you disturb a foraging bee it will usually move on to a different flower. A foraging bee will sting only in self defense, such as when it is stepped on, pinched, or entangled in hair.
WATER COLLECTING BEES
Honey bees need water to survive. Since natural water sources are rare in the Arizona desert, honey bees utilize the water supplied by man. During dry parts of the year the
bees can become quite a nuisance around swimming pools, coolers, and animal water sources. Water collecting bees are not dangerous and when disturbed, react in the same manner as foraging bees.
SWARMS OF BEES
A swarm of honey bees occurs when an existing colony becomes overcrowded and half of the bees leave with a queen. A typical swarm contains between 5 and 10 thousand bees. A swarm is usually seen hanging in a cluster on a tree branch. Both Africanized and European swarms look for cavities to move into and build a new nest. Swarms of honey bees are rarely dangerous because they have no nest to defend. If disturbed, a swarm will usually relocate to a different area.
NESTS OF BEES
Once a swarm has moved into a cavity, the bees rapidly build their nest. A nest is made up of the adult bees and beeswax combs which contain stored food and developing young. A nest managed by a beekeeper is called a hive. An unmanaged nest is called a wild colony. Wild colonies of Africanized bees are very dangerous. These nests are easily disturbed by vibrations, odors, and quick movements. The resulting stinging attacks have killed or injured both humans and animals.
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