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One of our areas of expertise is bee removal and control.  We understand the behavior and biology of bees, and we use this knowledge to give you excellent, lasting results in keeping your home or business bee-free. We are proud to serve Queen Creek, San Tan Valley and the East Valley.

Below is information and frequently asked questions,

written by the president of Norm’s Bug & Bee Control:

How do you know when a bee is a ‘Killer’ bee?

To the naked eye a so-called ‘Killer’ bee looks just like a regular honeybee.  They are actually a difficult-to-measure, tiny bit smaller. Now that the ‘Killer’ bees have been around awhile and generally people are no longer so alarmed, we now call them ‘Africanized’ bees after their place of origin.


How common are Africanized Bees? 

In the southern part of Arizona, almost all the wild bee colonies you’ll find in cities are now Africanized. Some of these wild Africanized colonies of bees, not all, are dangerously aggressive. The only way to tell is by their level of aggressive behavior leading up to an attack. So, while not all Africanized colonies are hyper-aggressive, enough of them are that all wild bee colonies when found should be treated carefully as if they were dangerously aggressive.

The very aggressive Africanized bee colony is much more active and busier, is easily disturbed, reacts and stings very rapidly and in much greater numbers, and pursues its target for much greater distances. Killer bees are significantly most dangerous when at their hive protecting a well-established colony that has young brood to protect.

If they’re away from their hive collecting food or water their attitude is quite different, being one of avoidance. Even a flowering plant or tree that is attracting alot of bees from a dangerously aggressive but distant hive is not a situation to be alarmed about.

How Dangerous can these ‘Killer’ Bees get?

If a very aggressive Africanized bee colony is disturbed, literally thousands of bees can very quickly fly out to attack. If their target cannot escape quickly, such as, for example, the elderly, invalids or penned-in animals such as dogs and horses, the target can be stung so many times it will die. Death may not be immediate.

It takes an aggressive hive like this a few weeks after arriving at their new home to develop young to protect and consequently become aggressively protective. If people remain vigilant and eliminate bee colonies as soon as they become aware of them, very few colonies will become established long enough to reach this potentially dangerous stage

Where do you check for bee nests on your property?

Bees can make a nest or colony in a space smaller than even that of an in-the-ground meter box. Cavities in trees, water meter boxes, walls and house eaves are just some of the places that a colony can settle into. For an entrance all they need is a small hole just big enough for a bee to fly in and out off. A hole this small is too hard to look for but the busy airport-like activity of these miniature airplanes quickly flying to and fro is easy to spot, particularly late in the morning.

What do you do if you find a nest?

Don’t disturb the bees and don’t stand nearby observing them too long. The prolonged exposure to human or animal breath may easily alarm the colony. I recommend that you have the nest exterminated by an experienced professional.

Whether or not the old honeycomb is removed, all openings to the exterminated nest (yes, there frequently is more than one opening) must be sealed with durable materials. Otherwise in just a short time, a few weeks or a few months, the lingering odor from this old nesting site will attract another hive.

Only in the event that someone has been stung should you call the fire department for assistance.

The majority of bee attacks are caused by motorized landscaping activity. The vibration and odors from such equipment alarms the bees causing them to attack. If you inadvertently cause an attack in this manner, escape from it, then call 911. The fire department has all the equipment and training needed to stop ongoing bee attacks. You should not waste time and endanger yourself and others by trying to stop the attack yourself.

What should you do if you are being attacked?

Bees have evolved to treat their attack targets as they would what is historically their number one enemy, the bear. They quickly follow the breath to the sensitive areas of the eyes, nostrils and mouth, going inside the nose and mouth, causing the target to choke or suffocate. Bees fly fast and ‘as the crow flies’ – in a straight line.


So if you are attacked at a distance from shelter, for example, while hiking in the desert, you should run straight (zigzagging won’t help) to the nearest car or building even if it means bringing in a few bees with you. While running you can pull the back of your shirt over your head covering your face for protection of this critical area. Also, do not try to hide in a body of water like a lake or pool as the bees have evolved to follow their target, the bear, into the water and remain hovering just above the water for when the bear (or person) must eventually come up for air with its sensitive snout.

When should you see a doctor after you have been stung? 

The sting of a single ‘killer’ bee is no more harmful than that of the gentler Honeybee. It’s the number of times that a person is stung that determines the severity of an attack. If you have been stung more than a dozen times during a particular attack, you should seek medical attention. You should not be alarmed if a couple of stings cause a large swelling near the sting area. The swelling will increase and then subside in a few days. However if you have doubts, consult your doctor.

A severe reaction to one sting is rare but can be fatal. Symptoms include breaking out in hives in different limbs of the body other than the one stung, nausea, great difficulty breathing and even loss of consciousness. Any of these types of symptoms require immediate emergency medical attention. Persons who are allergic must obtain a bee sting kit by prescription and carry it with them at all times for as long as they remain allergic.

How many stings does it take to kill a person?

The general rule of thumb is 10 or more stings per pound of body weight. So a 150 pound person could withstand about 1,500 stings. It takes time for bees to inflict this many stings and provides a healthy adult opportunity to escape. Each ‘killer’ bee, like any other bee, can only sting once and then dies a little while after.

About swarms.

Bees that are seen hanging from a branch or other object in a ball-like shape out in the open are almost always ‘swarms’. A ‘swarm’ is a group of bees resting before continuing to look for the location of their next new home. Swarms are usually not dangerous but should not be disturbed. However, they should be exterminated as they will eventually create an unwanted wild colony that could become dangerous.

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