Sunday, September 21, 2008

Killer Bee Invasion

TAMPA, Fla. -- Florida residents are being warned to keep a watchful eye out for Africanized "killer" bees.

A growing number of hives have been reported in the Tampa Bay Area.

The Pinellas County Extension Service says its getting many calls from people plagued by bees, and most of them are the Africanized variety.

Publicity about recent attacks has prompted public awareness, but the county's horticulture expert says the colonies are growing.

"They abscond, which means that once it gets to a certain size, part of them will move to another place to establish another colony of bees, so it becomes kind of a mushrooming problem," explained agent Pam Brown.

Brown says the bees are agitated by vibrations and the african variety will travel quite far to defend their hive.

If you do get attacked by a swarm of bees, the Extension Service has some pretty basic rules that you need to follow.

"If you are being pursued by bees, cover, pull your shirt up, cover your face as much as possible, your mouth, your head, neck and run to the closest place that you can get inside," Brown said.

Experts say people should use an approved exterminator who will not only kill the bees but get rid of the hives as well.

Bees out foraging will return to the hive, or others will move in if its left in place.

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