[UPDATE] Elderly Man Killed by Swarm of Bees in SW Georgia

By: Associated Press/ GA Dept of Ag Press Release
By: Associated Press/ GA Dept of Ag Press Release

*** UPDAYE ***
Africanized Honeybees Found in Georgia
Press release - Entomological tests have confirmed that Africanized honeybees were responsible for the death of an elderly man in Dougherty County last week. News reports say the man accidentally disturbed a feral colony of bees with his bulldozer and that he received more than 100 stings.

“This is the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.

Africanized honeybees are a hybrid of African and European honeybees. Because of their extremely defensive nature regarding their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive), they are sometimes called “killer bees.” Large numbers of them sometimes sting people or livestock with little provocation.

The Africanized honeybee and the familiar European honeybee (Georgia’s state insect) look the same and their behavior is similar in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee. However, Africanized honeybees are less predictable and more defensive than European honeybees. They are more likely to defend a wider area around their nest and respond faster and in greater numbers than European honeybees.

Africanized honeybees first appeared in the U.S. in Texas in 1990. Since then they have spread to New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and now Georgia. Entomologists and beekeepers have been expecting the arrival of these bees in Georgia for several years. There has been an established breeding population in Florida since 2005.

Because Africanized honeybees look almost identical to European honeybees, the bees from the Dougherty County incident had to be tested to accurately ascertain they were the Africanized strain. The Georgia Department of Agriculture sent samples of the bees to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which has the capability to do FABIS (fast African bee identification system) testing and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture identification test (the complete morphometrics test) to confirm the bees’ identity.

Africanized honeybees are the result of an experiment that went awry in Brazil in the 1950s. Researchers were trying to create a honeybee better suited to tropic conditions. A few of the African bees escaped and began hybridizing with European honeybees. The hybrid “Africanized” honeybees (so named because they get their extremely defensive nature from the African honeybee) began colonizing South America and Central America, then Mexico and the U.S.

“Georgia beekeepers are our first and best line of defense against these invaders. They are the ones who will be able to monitor and detect any changes in bee activity,” said Commissioner Irvin.

“The Georgia Department of Agriculture is going to continue its trapping and monitoring of bee swarms to try to find where any Africanized honeybees are,” said Commissioner Irvin. “We also want to educate people about what to do in case they encounter a colony of Africanized honeybees. Georgians can visit our website for more information. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has a publication on Africanized honeybees that is available online (http://pubsadmin.caes.uga.edu/files/pdf/B%201290_2.PDF) or at Extension offices.”

Here is more information from the Georgia Department of Agriculture:

Africanized Honeybees

· Are very defensive of their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive).

· Respond quickly and sting in large numbers.

· Can sense a threat from people or animals 50 feet or more from nest.

· Sense vibrations from power equipment 100 feet or more from nest.

· Will pursue a perceived enemy ¼ mile or more.

· Swarm frequently to establish new nests.

· Nest in small cavities and sheltered areas.

Possible nest sites may include empty boxes, cans, buckets, or other containers; old tires; infrequently used vehicles; lumber piles; holes and cavities in fences, trees, or the ground; sheds, garages and other outbuildings; and low decks or spaces under buildings.

General Precautions

· Be careful wherever bees may be found.

· Listen for buzzing – indicating a nest or swarm of bees.

· Use care when entering sheds or outbuildings where bees may nest.

· Examine work area before using lawn mowers and other power equipment.

· Examine areas before penning pets or livestock.

· Be alert when participating in all outdoor sports and activities.

· Don’t disturb a nest or swarm – contact a pest control company or your Cooperative Extension office.

· Teach children to respect all bees.

· Check with a doctor about bee sting kits and procedures if sensitive to bee stings.

· Remove possible nest sites around home and seal openings larger than 1/8” in walls and around chimneys and plumbing.

As a general rule, stay away from all honeybee swarms and colonies. If bees are encountered, get away quickly. Do not stand and swat as this will only invite more stings. If you are stung, try to protect your face and eyes as much as possible and run away from the area. Take shelter in a car or building, and do not worry if a few bees follow you inside. It is better to have a few in the car with you than the thousands waiting outside. Hiding in water or thick brush does not offer enough protection.

What to Do if Stung

· First, go quickly to a safe area.

· Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible. The stinger pumps out most of the venom during the first minute. Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.

· Wash sting area with soap and water like any other wound.

· Apply an ice pack for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.

· Seek medical attention if breathing is troubled, if stung numerous times or if allergic to bee stings.

Don’t Forget!

Hives of European honeybees managed by beekeepers play an important role in our lives. These bees are necessary for the pollination of many crops. One-third of our diet relies on honeybee pollination.

People can coexist with the Africanized honeybee by learning about the bee and its habits, supporting beekeeping efforts and taking a few precautions.

-------------------------------------------------

Albany, GA (AP) -

Tests show Africanized "killer" bees were responsible for the death of a 73-year-old man in Dougherty County.

Curtis Davis was stung hundreds of times when his bulldozer hit
an old wooden porch post where the bees had built a giant hive. The
insects swarmed him.

Georgia Agriculture Commission Tommy Irvin said Thursday, October 21 that tests showed the insects were a hybrid of African and European honeybees, sometimes called "killer bees." The bees are extremely defensive, swarm in greater numbers than typical European honeybees and sting with little provocation.

Irvin said the bees spread from Central America and first
appeared in Texas in 1990. They have gradually spread to other
states. State officials said they will continue trapping and
monitoring bee swarms to identify Africanized honeybees.

The Georgia Dept. of Agriculture has released a statement:

Entomological tests have confirmed that Africanized honeybees were responsible for the death of an elderly man in Dougherty County last week. News reports say the man accidentally disturbed a feral colony of bees with his bulldozer and that he received more than 100 stings.

“This is the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia,” said Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.

Africanized honeybees are a hybrid of African and European honeybees. Because of their extremely defensive nature regarding their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive), they are sometimes called “killer bees.” Large numbers of them sometimes sting people or livestock with little provocation.

The Africanized honeybee and the familiar European honeybee (Georgia’s state insect) look the same and their behavior is similar in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee. However, Africanized honeybees are less predictable and more defensive than European honeybees. They are more likely to defend a wider area around their nest and respond faster and in greater numbers than European honeybees.

Africanized honeybees first appeared in the U.S. in Texas in 1990. Since then they have spread to New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and now Georgia. Entomologists and beekeepers have been expecting the arrival of these bees in Georgia for several years. There has been an established breeding population in Florida since 2005.

Because Africanized honeybees look almost identical to European honeybees, the bees from the Dougherty County incident had to be tested to accurately ascertain they were the Africanized strain. The Georgia Department of Agriculture sent samples of the bees to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which has the capability to do FABIS (fast African bee identification system) testing and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture identification test (the complete morphometrics test) to confirm the bees’ identity.

Africanized honeybees are the result of an experiment that went awry in Brazil in the 1950s. Researchers were trying to create a honeybee better suited to tropic conditions. A few of the African bees escaped and began hybridizing with European honeybees. The hybrid “Africanized” honeybees (so named because they get their extremely defensive nature from the African honeybee) began colonizing South America and Central America, then Mexico and the U.S.

“Georgia beekeepers are our first and best line of defense against these invaders. They are the ones who will be able to monitor and detect any changes in bee activity,” said Commissioner Irvin.

“The Georgia Department of Agriculture is going to continue its trapping and monitoring of bee swarms to try to find where any Africanized honeybees are,” said Commissioner Irvin. “We also want to educate people about what to do in case they encounter a colony of Africanized honeybees. Georgians can visit our website for more information. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has a publication on Africanized honeybees that is available online (http://pubsadmin.caes.uga.edu/files/pdf/B%201290_2.PDF) or at Extension offices.”

Here is more information from the Georgia Department of Agriculture:

Africanized Honeybees

· Are very defensive of their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive).

· Respond quickly and sting in large numbers.

· Can sense a threat from people or animals 50 feet or more from nest.

· Sense vibrations from power equipment 100 feet or more from nest.

· Will pursue a perceived enemy ¼ mile or more.

· Swarm frequently to establish new nests.

· Nest in small cavities and sheltered areas.

Possible nest sites may include empty boxes, cans, buckets, or other containers; old tires; infrequently used vehicles; lumber piles; holes and cavities in fences, trees, or the ground; sheds, garages and other outbuildings; and low decks or spaces under buildings.

General Precautions

· Be careful wherever bees may be found.

· Listen for buzzing – indicating a nest or swarm of bees.

· Use care when entering sheds or outbuildings where bees may nest.

· Examine work area before using lawn mowers and other power equipment.

· Examine areas before penning pets or livestock.

· Be alert when participating in all outdoor sports and activities.

· Don’t disturb a nest or swarm – contact a pest control company or your Cooperative Extension office.

· Teach children to respect all bees.

· Check with a doctor about bee sting kits and procedures if sensitive to bee stings.

· Remove possible nest sites around home and seal openings larger than 1/8” in walls and around chimneys and plumbing.

As a general rule, stay away from all honeybee swarms and colonies. If bees are encountered, get away quickly. Do not stand and swat as this will only invite more stings. If you are stung, try to protect your face and eyes as much as possible and run away from the area. Take shelter in a car or building, and do not worry if a few bees follow you inside. It is better to have a few in the car with you than the thousands waiting outside. Hiding in water or thick brush does not offer enough protection.

What to Do if Stung

· First, go quickly to a safe area.

· Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible. The stinger pumps out most of the venom during the first minute. Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.

· Wash sting area with soap and water like any other wound.

· Apply an ice pack for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.

· Seek medical attention if breathing is troubled, if stung numerous times or if allergic to bee stings.

Don’t Forget!

Hives of European honeybees managed by beekeepers play an important role in our lives. These bees are necessary for the pollination of many crops. One-third of our diet relies on honeybee pollination.

People can coexist with the Africanized honeybee by learning about the bee and its habits, supporting beekeeping efforts and taking a few precautions.

------------------------------------

Albany, GA (AP) - An elderly man in southwest Georgia is dead
after being stung more than 100 times by honeybees while cleaning a
yard.
Authorities say 73-year-old Curtis Davis died Monday morning in
Dougherty County. Authorities say he was cleaning up burning brush
with a tractor when he hit a beehive.
Family members called for help after being unable to reach Davis
because of the large number of bees. Albany Fire Department
battalion chief Marty Leverett says emergency workers put on
protective gear and try to help Davis.
A beekeeper was brought in to help Davis and kill the bees.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me Location: tally on Oct 22, 2010 at 10:56 AM
    LMAO....african american bees....hahhahaha...who said that? You said that, HMA.
  • by HMA on Oct 22, 2010 at 10:19 AM
    Where are the racist comments about them being African American Bees?
  • by me Location: tally on Oct 21, 2010 at 01:32 PM
    From what I've read lately on other posts...PETE is the poster boy for ignorance.
  • by GV Location: Ga on Oct 21, 2010 at 11:31 AM
    Anonymous,I don't know if tabatha is an expert or not,but everything she said is true.If you and your was to go up to the hive a kick it over then yes you would have been attacked.If bees didn't attack,there would not even be protective gear made for beekeepers.Plus these were proven to be killer bees,but if regular bees didn't ever attack,why do they even make protective gear?
  • by Anonymous on Oct 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM
    Tabatha... are you a bee expert ? a man 5 houses down the street from me has 16 honey bee hives. i have stood right there beside him when collecting the honey. he nor i wore and protective clothing. the bee's did fly about in a swarm style, but not the 1st bee stung us. as to the "killer" bee's. those bees were genetic cross bred in south america. so, we can thank them for the bee's being here and killing people and animals.
  • by GV Location: Ga on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:15 AM
    Now does that answer all you bee expert's answers.
  • by Tabatha Location: Mississippi on Oct 14, 2010 at 08:34 AM
    Honey bees do indeed attack when their hive is disturbed. Africanized bees are more likely to attack en masse (the only reason they are more dangerous), however, he would have had many more than 100 stings if they were africanized. When I say en masse, think thousands of stings, not hundreds. They were building inside of a structure, as I understand it. Honeybees often do that. A house near me has honey bees in the back wall. 20-30,000 bees is a standard sized hive that could have fit inside a single section of wall studding, one 16" section. I feel for the family of this man and hope they find some solace in that he lived such a long, and apparently active life.
  • by jw Location: tally on Oct 13, 2010 at 08:21 AM
    when it gets down to it. the man died from more than 100 bites,bees or whatever. stop this sh--.Think of the family. This so sad to live this long and have this happen. SHAME of ya'll.
  • by GV Location: Ga on Oct 13, 2010 at 04:53 AM
    Hey idiots,he hit a BEEHIVE.Yellow jackets don't live in BEEHIVES.These WERE BEES.Now whether they were africanized(killer)bees has yet to be determined.
  • by Not Location: Honeybees on Oct 12, 2010 at 01:14 PM
    Normal Honeybees DO NOT attack people like this. This had to be Yellow Jackets or something else (I won't write killer bees, do not want to demonstrate my ignorance to Pete down there).
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