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Bees are swarming and looking for new homes

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Honey bees are one of the most important super-organisms on Earth. They are the pollinators of our flowering plants and food crops. Bees produce honey and beeswax. They help feed us and provide us with useful products. Therefore we, as pest professionals, are careful to respect their natural behaviors and only view them as pests when they present a danger to humans and our pets.

Our year-round mild temperatures are perfect for bees and contribute to their growing populations in San Diego. With these increasing populations, Africanized honey bees are also growing in numbers, making the danger of a swarm attack extremely great.

“It only takes a hole the size of a pencil to allow thousands of bees access to the interior of your building,” said Corky Mizer, owner/CEO of Corky’s Pest Control. “Waiting to remove them can be a costly mistake. Even when a beehive has been treated and the bees eliminated, it is essential that the hive be removed to prevent other bees from sensing the pheromones left in the hive and repopulating it in the future.”

Be careful of swarming bees. Keep everyone, including pets, away from the swarm, Mizer said. If a swarm of bees is spotted in a bush, tree or on the side of a building and no hive is visible, keep the area clear and do not approach the swarm. The bees may be Africanized, responding aggressively to intrusion or loud noises. Chances are the swarm is just resting and will move on in a matter of hours.

“Aggressive bees can put employees and others at risk,” Mizer said. “It’s important to correctly identify the bees since it is common to mistakenly call wasps, hornets and even yellow jackets, bees. All of these flying insects can sting, causing nasty welts and swelling. Allergic reactions to their venom is very common and can be fatal.”

“There is no visual way to tell Africanized honey bees apart from their more docile relative, the European honey bee,” Mizer said. He provides the following clues to Africanized bee behaviors:

--More aggressive than other species.
--Guard a larger area around their hives.
--Become upset more easily by humans and machinery.
--Respond faster and in larger swarms.
--Chase threatening humans and animals for up to a quarter-mile.

A swarm of bees may stop and rest during their flight to find a new home. These resting periods are usually a matter of hours, then the bees continue on their way. When the bees persist and a hive becomes apparent, it is then necessary to have it killed and removed by a professional. Even after hive treatment and removal, bees that were not in the hive at the time of the service may still be in the area.

“Trained specialists can help building owners and managers remove a threat caused by bees,” Mizer said. “They can eliminate beehives wherever they are and relocate hives that are more docile whenever possible. They can also, bee-proof areas where a hive has been removed to prevent them from re-entering and re-establishing a hive.

“The best advice pest-control professionals can offer is: Don’t wait. Bees need immediate attention.”

-Submitted by Corky's Pest Control.

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