Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Truck loaded with bees closes Wyoming highway

Associated Press CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - An accident involving a truck loaded with honey bees temporarily forced the closure of a highway in central Wyoming.
Wyoming Highway 220 southwest of Casper was closed in both directions from midmorning Monday until shortly after 2 p.m.
Trooper Marshall Wyatt of the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the accident happened when a westbound pickup truck drifted across the centerline and sideswiped an eastbound semitrailer hauling hundreds of hives of bees.
Wyatt says between 150 to 200 hives broke open and spread along about 400 feet of highway.
Wyatt says a few people got stung. He says the pickup driver was treated and released from a hospital.
Workers wearing protective suits piled the hives on the side of the road and burned them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bees attack and kill South Texas Elderly Couple

Bees sting elderly couple to death in south Texas (Reuters)

By Jared Taylor

MCALLEN, Texas | Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:16pm EDT

MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - An elderly South Texas couple died and their son was injured after a swarm of bees attacked them on their remote ranch, authorities said on Wednesday.

William Steele, 95, and his wife, Myrtle, 92, died and their son, Richard, 67, was injured after bees attacked them as they tried to clean a hunting cabin on their ranch near Hebbronville on Monday, an investigator with the Jim Hogg County Sheriff's Office said.

"It was a terrible thing," Investigator Reyes Espinoza told Reuters. "You don't prepare for something like that."

Richard Steele told investigators he and his parents were attacked after they moved a wood stove in the cabin and exposed a hive of bees, Espinoza said.

The son immediately drove about 15 miles to the nearest road, where he managed to call for help on a cell phone.

William Steele tried to escape the bees by running from the cabin, but he fell and succumbed to hundreds of bee stings, Espinoza said.

Myrtle Steele was airlifted to a Corpus Christi hospital, where she died on Tuesday. Her son was transported to a Laredo hospital and released, Espinoza said.

Espinoza said the bees swarmed deputies when they arrived at the scene on Monday.

"By the grace of God, we didn't get stung," he said. "You could literally scoop them off of us."

Espinoza said they were likely Africanized honey bees -- often called "killer bees" for their aggression -- which are common in south Texas.

The bees are hybrids from swarms originally introduced to Brazil from Africa, which absconded in the 1950s. They spread north through South and Central America, crossing into south Texas in 1990, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The bees swarm more frequently than native bees, and are extremely defensive. The USDA advises untrained individuals against trying to remove swarms. If attacked, individuals should run away quickly and not stop to help others.

Read the rest of the article Here 

Entomologist's Comment:

This is such a tragic event, as with just a bit of care and caution, it's likely that these deaths could have been prevented. When I'm called in to offer an assessment of feral bees nesting in a home or home landscape, I always stress the dangers to nearby pets, children, handicapped and elderly folks, as these are the groups at significant risk from defensive bee attacks. Please, don't allow a feral colony to exist near or in your home, call us for expert removal services at 1-800-343-5317.

Here are some links with helpful info:


Our African Bee info page

Killer Bees in Orlando during a 6 hour removal process:


University of Florida's African Honey Bee Extension & Education Program

The African Honey Bee FAQ

Frequently asked questions about African honey bees, from FDACS - Division of Plant Industry
Bee Removal information and regulations from University of Florida's African Honey Bee Extension & Education Program

Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab

University of Florida's Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rabbi attacked by African killer bees

Rabbi attacked by African killer bees in Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG (JTA) -- A rabbi handing out matzah and wine for Passover to Jews in Zimbabwe was attacked by a swarm of African killer bees.
Moshe Silberhaft, the spiritual leader and executive director of the African Jewish Congress known as "The Traveling Rabbi," was making a pre-Passover visit to the 190 Jews left in the beleaguered capital of Harare when he was attacked by the bees while walking from the Ashkenazi synagogue to the Sephardi synagogue on the Shabbat of April 2.
The rabbi was being accompanied by the Ashkenazi synagogue's Torah reader, Yosi Kably.   
“They suddenly swarmed on us from nowhere, buzzing around our heads and in our ears," Silberhaft said of the bees from the hive located under a wooden pole. "We didn’t even hear them coming.”
After being stung repeatedly the two men ran into traffic, pounding on car windows, but no one would risk opening their windows for fear of letting in the bees. Passers-by attempted to help by spraying the bees with a poison and setting a tire alight to smoke them out.
Silberhaft and Kably called for help and were taken to a private doctor’s clinic, where they received adrenaline, oxygen, antihistamines, cortisone and painkillers. Some of the stingers were pulled out one by one by the doctor and assistants.
The rabbi returned to Johannesburg with stingers still on his head, nose and hands, as well as in his ears.
Silberhaft, a regular visitor to Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan African countries, was visibly upset at missing the service and was saddened that the incident occurred on Shabbat.
“Africa is not for sissies,” he said.

Read the rest of the article here: Rabbi attacked by African killer bees