It was an attack Wednesday night that one San Angeloan wasn't expecting. A swarm of Africanized bees attacked David Hughes when he was mowing his lawn on Tyler street. One of his dogs was in the back yard with the bees and was attacked. The dog died a short time later. This type of situation could happen to you or your animals. So what do you need to know about the bees and how can you remedy the situation? Jason Calder reports.
Africanized bees are not new to the Concho Valley.
Mike Loving, Health Department Director, said, "They moved in to this county coming up from South America about 14 or 15 years ago."
He said they are here to stay.
"They've interbred with local bees so that their colonies are everywhere. It's not a question of if we can get them out of the county. We can't," said Loving.
The majority of bees in our area have the Africanized gene in them which makes them hard to identify. However aggressive behavior gives their identity away.
Loving said, "Most people around here are familiar with fire ants and if you kick a fire ant mound you see how they swarm out. Africanized bees respond in that same way with a swarm response."
That means the bees will sting multiple times and will stay until removed. Another problem is their venom is just as toxic as a regular honey bee.
"The amount of the venom that's going in and the number of stings is really the deciding factor. In this case, unfortunately the dog received a lot of stings and most bodies are not capable of dealing with that much foreign protein introduced into the system," said Loving.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your animals? Loving said keeping an eye out for the bees is your best defense.
He said, "If you see them going in and out of a structure like your house, barn, tire pile, something like that, it's something you ought to be aware of and know that there's potentially a problem there."
If they continue they would need to be removed. You can try this yourself but he said it's best to use an expert.
Loving said, "Let somebody else do those risks that knows what they're doing, has proper personal protective equipment."And if you think they will be gone soon think again. The beehives will not become dormant until cooler temperatures arrive.
"As it starts to get cooler, the bees become more lethargic. Right now is probably the worst time," said Loving.
anything Loving said to use common sense as your guide in keeping you and your
Common noises bees are attracted to are high pitch motors from lawnmowers and weed eaters so be looking out when you're doing yard work. Also, the city is only required to remove hives that are on city property.