Africanized bees

They were the real scare in the previous decades, but not much has been heard about Africanized bees lately. There was a report last year which stirred some panic, but it proved to be false, so the dust settled once again. This article aims to shed some light on these creatures, how they came to be, their behavior and other matters. Keep in mind that these bees do exist in real life and they did cause hundreds of deaths in the 50 or so years they have existed.

If you happen to encounter a colony, do not engage them, and if it is found on your property, call the experts to get rid of them. The best bee removal in Westminster and throughout Orange County comes from Bee Busters.

The inception

As their name suggests, their origin can be traced back to Africa. The bees on that continent needed to develop aggressive behavior and strength in order to survive the harsh conditions as well as the abundance of predators. Scientists believed that these traits would be ideal when paired with the more productive and docile European bees. The experiments started in Brazil in 1956. The breeding was successful, creating hybrid Africanized honeybees. However, the scientists failed to contain the bees to Brazil.

What went wrong?

The bees spread incredibly fast. Being stronger and more aggressive than their European counterparts, they were able to oust them from their ecological niche. By the early 1970’s, the bees reached the northern part of South America in Venezuela. The next decade saw them migrate to Mexico, until finally in the 1990’s they reached the southern USA. Initially, they caused a lot of problems with their aggression and persistence, so that created the myth of ‘killer bees’ which caused widespread panic. The country is still adapting to their arrival. They are not expected to travel any more north, as cold climates do not suit them.

Behavior

Like most bees, Africanized bees are very territorial. However, unlike most other species of bees, they are incredibly persistent and aggressive when they feel threatened. While most bees will break off the pursuit fairly quickly, these bees will pursue their target. It takes approximately 6 to 7 stings per LB, to inject enough venom into an average human to cause death. This, naturally, provided that there is no allergic reaction. So a 200 LB person would need 1200 to 1400 stings to be fatal. While this sounds like a lot of bee stings,  Africanized bees are more than capable of such attacks. An average colony can have between 10,000 and 20,000 bees, and often much more. A queen can lay up to 2500 eggs per day.

Comparison

However, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about them in the media. For instance, they are often represented as being much larger than regular bees. This is in fact very wrong, as they are typically smaller than their European cousins we are familiar with. So then, is their body count a result of the more potent venom? Once again, no. In fact, there is no difference between the venoms of these two species. And even if you consider the amounts of venom they possess, you might be surprised to once again learn that a regular honey bee is the winner of this comparison as well. So it is only their aggressive nature that sets them apart.

Not killer bees after all

A report from Puerto Rico shows that the same Africanized bees are much more docile there, as a result of less competition. So, their ‘killer bee’ reputation is perhaps too harsh, and depends solely on the conditions.

In any case, you should not attempt to remove bees yourself. There are professionals who have the right equipment and training. Bee removal in Westminster in Orange County is a job for Bee Busters. Contact Bee Busters for any further information.

Different Kinds of Wasp Nests

Bee nest - Wasp nest removal Orange CountyMost of us aren’t too interested in bees and wasps. The only thing we want is for them to stay away from us and our property. However, to a trained eye, just a look at the wasp’s nest can help identify the species that is bugging you. This, in turn, makes it so much easier to prepare for the specific conditions which may apply. For instance, yellow jackets are infinitely more aggressive than paper wasps, and their stings hurt a whole lot more as well. It is good to be prepared. This is why we offer this helpful description of various bee habitations. Be warned that wasps and bees are aggressive when defending their home. Wasp nest removal in Orange County should be left to professionals with ample experience and appropriate equipment.

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Can I Remove Bees From My House?

A lot of home owners are concerned when they notice a bee hive on their property, especially if they have children or pets. Even though having bees in your garden is useful because they will pollinate your plants, most home owners like to have the colony removed. The dilemma is whether you should do it yourself or hire bee removal professionals. Our opinion is that the latter is a better option. You may say we are partial, and we are, but only because we have a decades-long experience in keeping and handling bees. In any case, read on and decide for yourself.

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What Is In Wasp’s Venom?

Wasp - Garden Grove Wasp Nest RemovalA wasp’s sting hurts a lot more than that of a honey bee. That is why our first instinct is to want them as far away from us as possible. In Garden Grove wasp nest removal is as easy as calling Bee Busters. 

But why do wasp stings hurt so much? Wasps secrete venom into their stingers. This venom can be used as an offensive weapon, to hunt for prey, but also as a defensive weapon, when defending the nest. It is this latter use that many of us have experienced on our own skins.

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What You Should Know about Wasps

The term ‘’wasp’’ actually covers a huge number of species (around 30,000). But the ones we really care about are the ones which persistently invade our favorite places, such as back yards, open air cafes and similar open-air spots in the summer. Unlike honey bees, which produce honey, wasps are often regarded as complete pests with no purpose and no use to humans. That might not be the case, but their sting is enough for us to want them gone from our properties as fast as possible.

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The Weirdest (and Most Uncomfortable) Places Bees Can Make Their Home

Ok, to be perfectly honest, none of these places are particularly uncommon, or even unreasonable for a bee to live in. After all, what bees look for in a perfect home is fairly simple and specific and touches bases with bees’ needs. It’s just that these places bring them in a direct conflict with us – those are our places; we don’t want to share them with insects. Especially those with stingers.

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Bee Removal Laguna Beach: How to Recognize and Deal with a Bee Swarm

Bees live in colonies, or hives, as anyone who’s ever taken a biology class can tell you. And if you’ve really paid attention in class, you may remember that in every hive, there is a queen bee. She does all the reproduction, and none of the hard work bees are known for, such as pollination and collecting nectar. That’s the workers’ job. And then there are the males (called drones). Their main purpose is reproduction. Afterwards they are of little use, and are kept and fed by the female worker bees. And so goes the life of the colony, all throughout the productive season.

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Ice Bucket Challenge!

You’re probably already familiar with the “#ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” unless you live under a rock in the driest desert in North America (which apparently is Death Valley) … in fact even then you’ll probably see a tortoise getting doused somewhere near you if you look around.

We here at Bee Busters were initially skeptical, we don’t like to jump on every fad that comes along. But then we got to thinking, how cool would it be with our new infra-red heat imaging camera?? And after all, we do believe in charity.

We like to do things right, so we filled two five gallon buckets with water, ice, and ice cream salt, (in order to make it even colder). Kris was initially heavily in favor of the salt innovation when it was just going to be Rusty getting doused, but then Kris decided he needed to do it too so he kind of had to eat his words.

Here’s the bucket being filled with ice, you can see the color change as the water get colder, which is pretty *ahem* cool.

Now here’s Bee Busters head beekeeper Kris getting doused:

And here’s Bee Busters technician Rusty, on his third round of Ice Bucket Challenge (still trying to recover his dignity after posting his first Ice Bucket Challenge video, in which he used a small bowl). We also changed it up and set the camera to a different color scheme for this one:

Conscientious of California’s drought, we were sure to do it over a planter near some plants that looked like they could use the water. After watching all the ice challenge fail videos of people getting bashed in the head with buckets, Bee Busters boss Dave required us to have two people handling the bucket each time.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is of course supposed to support and encourage donations for research to combat the degenerative nerve disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Some people’s interpretation is that you don’t have to donate if you do the ice bucket challenge, or only need to donate a much smaller amount, such as $10. We feel that’s a bit backwards, if you’re getting in on the fun, you should make the full donation. So the company made a donation to ALS, and then Kris, not wanting to be a freeloader himself, donated to help combat ebola in West Africa because that’s an important issue to him.

 

 

Blog – Bee Busters Guinea!

Spare bee busters uniforms given a useful second life!

Bee Busters is now represented by ten uniformed beekeepers in the country of Guinea, in West Africa! No we won’t be offering bee removal service in Conakry or neighboring Timbuktu, but Bee Busters beekeeper Kris Fricke was recently in Guinea sharing his beekeeping experience with beekeepers there.

Kris also took ten old Bee Busters suits and donated them to local beekeepers in Guinea. This allowed everyone who attended the training sessions to suit up and participate, and local garment makers can use our thoroughly-tested suits as a guide for their own. Kris uses a toothpick to remove an egg to show the trainees The project was part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Farmer-to-farmer (F2F) program, administered by Winrock International. Kris spent 21 in days working with the Federation of Guinean Beekeepers (FAPI) to train beekeepers and train FAPI trainers who will, in turn, train beekeepers on more modern sustainable methods of beekeeping in developing countries. While Guinea’s lush landscape has a tremendous potential for beekeeping, and there are over 165,000 traditional beehives in use, the number of more advanced Kenyan Topbar Hives is estimated to be only around 3,000 throughout the country, and many of the beekeepers that own them still treat them much the same way as traditional hives, doing little “beekeeping” other than harvesting once a year. A Kenyan Topbar (KTB) hive with the lid removed When people hear “Guinea” the first place they think of is often the polynesian island of “Papua New Guinea,” but the nation just called “Guinea” is actually right beside “Guinea-Bissau” on the western bulge of Africa: This project was based in a village near the town of Labe, which you can see just to the left of the G in Guinea in the below map. It took about eight hours to drive there from Conakry, the capitol. The training covered both proper management and hive construction. Certain distances within a hive are critically important, if the proper “bee space” isn’t given, bees will build combs the wrong direction in a hive, making them impossible to remove, or refuse to occupy the hive box at all. Kris showed them easy ways they can make sure the distances are correct. Proper hive construction should have a significant impact on increasing production. When correctly made, the combs from a KTB hive are very easy to remove The training also involved both lots of hands-on field work and presentations with a projector to show them diagrams and images of things in a more well organized manner than one can hope to encounter things in the field. French is a national language of Guinea, but many of the beekeepers didn’t speak French either, so Kris had to speak through an interpreter who translated to French, and then a second interpreter translated to the local language. Despite this, Kris was able to answer many, many, questions and build a great rapport with the gathered beekeepers. He intends to continue to keep in touch with them and help the beekeepers federation itself build its capacity to assist the Guinean beekeepers. While in the field Kris was housed in a village without running water or electricty. Even after charging his laptop with a portable generator and using a mobile usb modem he was unable to reach the internet, so for the entire time he was in the field he was cut off from the outside world and any modern conveniences! He enjoyed the experience, particularly living directly with the local villagers. When he wasn’t training beekeepers he could often be found kicking a ball around with the local children, there’s some things you don’t need to share a language to do! Little Mamadou (6) tries on the bee gear. Future beekeeping in training! An interesting sidenote to this project is that the “biggest ebola outbreak in history” was occurring in Guinea at this very same time (July, 2014). Kris was undeterred and believed his project was worth the risk, but it was still a concern that could never be completely put out of mind. Kris was confident he hadn’t been exposed to it, but was still very relieved when he saw a doctor on his return and was certified ebola free! Group shot of trainees View the rest of Kris’ photos from the project here