Africanized Bees in Stanton Az


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While out detecting yesterday, I started getting bumped by a couple bees. I could see there were hundreds of them up ahead of me in the wash, flying in and out from under a large flat rock. I quietly backed up and climbed the hill to get around the hive.

I was alone, probably 1/2 mile from my quad and 5 more miles of VERY bad 3 MPH road to get to my RV. There are no buildings or places to take cover up in this area.------ What are the rest of you doing to protect yourself if you were exposed to this bad situation? These bees will attach for no reason, going for your eyes, ears, nose , and mouth, stinging you through your clothes in places you wouldn't think they could put a stinger. Dave

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Hey Dave,

This has happened to me several times in the last 10 years. Kind of scary, but the best bet is to carry a high powered spray. I never personally used or tried this, but a friend said it saved his life. He ran into a hive that attacked him, so he took off running trying to fight them off, but then realized he had a can of spray on his side. He managed to get the can off his waist and started spraying back and forth dropping the bees.

After that deal, I carried a can of spray, but it got bulky and just stopped carrying it all together.

Interesting to hear what others have to say.

Rob Allison

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As a volunteer firefighter here in the high desert, bee calls are quite a normal occurence. Unfortunately, there really isnt much you can do to protect against Africanized Bees except to leave the area as soon as you realize they are there. They are aggravated by sound and from carbon dioxide from our breathing. I have been stung hundreds of times over the numerous calls I have been on....even while wearing the bee suits. And do not believe the hype that they will only follow you for a quarter of a mile. NOT TRUE! We have had them chase our engine for almost a mile. Best bet is to just leave them be. No pun intended...lol. They usually move their hive within 3-5 days unless there is a good source of water nearby.

Rob, as for the spray, if you are lucky enough to run into a small hive that will work long enough to get you to your vehicle if you are parked nearby. If you come across one with a couple hundred thousand bees (I've seen em) you will run out of spray long before you kill all the bees. Be safe out there.

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Hey Chris,

I agree 100%, the spray would be more of a last minute, try to save your ass the best you can deal.

The best is to be alert the best you can, hoping you don't run into them, or at least if you do, you can leave the area quickly without them knowing you are there.

Rob Allison

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Dad and I have dealt with bees in the past a lot.

Europen honey bees are not as agressive as the africanized bee.

Dad got out of the bee business because of this. He didnt want everyone pointing thier fingers

at him saying an africanized swarm stung them and his european honey bees were not even involved.

Bees hate bad smells and are atracted to bright colors like a flower.

Best thing is to wear WHITE and dont stink!

Bees navigate off the azmith of the sun and ive heard if you DO get a swarm going after you to

run around in circles 3- 5 times and it will screw them all up and you can get away.

I usually ran into the house and beat them off. Did get a fat lip or two though. Once they get it in thier little mind to sting you they are persitent.

I have run into a couple of hives out in the desert in the past and I just backed off as soon as I hear/see them. No problems.

If you do get hit..... DONT pull the stingers out with your fingers. Use comb or tweezers or something. They have a little bag on the end and if you PULL them out you will inject more crap in.

Hope this helps.

Tom H.

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Dave, not sure if a smoke grenade would work or not. Most of the time the smoke is used while the bees are still in a non-aggravated state. Once the bees are worked up there's not much you can do to calm them down. The head net will keep them from stinging you in the face, however, if there is enough of them, several thousand stings to your extremeties can be just as deadly.

Tom....the bee suits we wear, like those of beekeepers, are white in color and that does not deter them one bit. Not sure if the running in circles thing works or not. I know we have run in circles, zig-zags, straight lines, etc. and they are relentless. And never jump in a lake or pond to get away by going under the water. It has been proven that the African bee will actually fly around and wait for you to surface. You are absolutely right about not grabbing the venom sac. You can use a comb, tweezers, a credit card (to scrape it off), or even your fingernails if they are long enough to get under the sac.

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I have kept bees for many years and I know their ways pretty good but this Africanized version of the European honey bee is another animal (insect). They will keep after you no matter what you do or how far you run. The best thing one can do if attacked is find a tree big enough to get inside of its folage and confuse their flight. If you can sneak out the back then find another until you shed most of them off. By then you better have made up a plan because the one bee that finds you will start the others to pestering you again.

In keeping the critters we used to have a chemical we applied to the top super and it chased the bees to the bottom of the hive so that you could rob them without concern. I didn't like it and didn't use it much because it smelled so bad. They sell it in bee supply stores and I guess in an emergency you could splash it all over you and it might work. But then don't try to get next to your wife or girl friend for quite a while after that.

My son said that running around in circles might confuse them, but taking an azmith of the sun when they leave the hive only helps them to return safely. I think that running in circles will only get you dizzy and out of breath. In the desert you might find some loose sand or dirt to cover yourself and those spots that you can't cover clothing will have to do, then it will be a long wait. The main thing is not to panic for then you are surely lost.

Old Tom

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