Tuesday, July 27, 2010

B is for ...

`...well BEES of course.  But this post is about Killer Bees or the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) as opposed to the European Honey Bee (EHB).Many years a go when I was still teaching we had a book for Junior High readers called "Disasters".  Each chapter was a true story about some disaster or coming disaster in America.  The kids loved it!  One chapter was called "The Killer Bees are Coming", and that's when I first heard about them.  Well they have come and have been in Southern California since 1995. I took this map off the USDA web and it shows a pretty up to date view of the population of Killer Bees in the USA.

You will have to click twice on it to see it enlarged.

Why did I choose this scary topic for the letter B?  Because the AHB is moving into more populated areas -- or rather we are moving into the areas populated by AHB.  One authority I read says that all the bees in Southern California are to some extent Africanized. You cannot tell the difference by looking at them, but they are much more easily aggravated and much more aggressive and persistent when it comes to guarding their colonies.

Mostly I used to read about attacks in Texas and Arizona, but just this past week, we had a news article telling of the death of two horses, and one man (separate incidents) killed by the bees and two people stung 40 -60 times who had to be hospitalized. All this took place about a half hour down the road from where I live. I won't bore you with a lot of information about how they came to BE, because you can easily look it up on the web and there's plenty of information.  However, there was one page I read that pooh-poohs the whole idea, but don't be mistaken, they are real, and sensible precautions should be taken.  

However, I liken it somewhat to living with rattle snakes.  They're there, but the average person doesn't see much of them.  Just be wise when you are in their habitat.

I started putting out grape jelly to attract the orioles in our area, but now I'm thinking maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  There are always two or three bees on it or near it -- but then they also like our water fountain. The bees are mainly dangerous when they are swarming, so stay inside or in your car when you see bees swarming. 
A few weeks ago a BEE came down our chimney into the living room. It was probably a scout looking for a place to colonize.  Fortunately we were home and swiftly lit the gas log fire to send them away (and killed the one that had wandered down the chimney).  We have seen no signs of colonizing in our yard. 

BEES are a good and necessary  creature but let caution be the better part of valor.

There is So much more to read about these bees, so if you are affected, do look them up on GOOGLE.



Wanda said...

I really enjoyed the BEE post, and that your teaching skills are so wonderful, that I enjoying learning!

Living up in Hughson, and the Orchards, we depended on BEES to do their thing!

Julie said...

Interesting text to go with the Letter B. I enjoyed reading it even though I am absolutely a long long way from where you are in SoCal.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Well, I do love their beeswax be it AHB or EHB! I use it in encaustic painting and the aromatherapy I get when doing so is priceless!
According to that chart, we have them here. I hope I don't ever aggravate one as I am allergic to bee stings.

Mara said...

I haven't got enough flowers in my garden I think, I hardly ever see any bees or even bumblebees or wasps in my garden. And I hope I will never ever see a swarm!

photowannabe said...

Scary prospect Chris. I agree with the thought that its like rattle snakes. Still I don't want to mess with them. You are probbly right about removing the grape jelly. Why invite trouble?

Sylvia K said...

Great Bee post for the B Day! We have lots of them around these days because the lavender is blooming! Have a lovely evening!


Tumblewords: said...

I remember reading a great deal about them in the mid-90's. Staying clear of them is a good idea!

Roger Owen Green said...

i remember reading about these years ago; i figure they will be in NYS in about 15 years


Julie said...

Thank you for the comment, Chris. It is useful, I am finding, to be able to share ideas and thoughts with others in a similar situation.

I dont have classic vertigo nor do I have fibromyalgia, Chris. However, I have been having this investigated for over 10 years now, and only had a reasonable diagnosis last December.I have double vision, depth perception issues, and walk around with one eye closed (left one) much of the time.

I knew I had problems with driving and that was an obvious decision to make. Massive impact, but no choice.

The medical system in the US is quite different from in Australia. I think ours is very efficient and very effective. It is very much like the National Health in the UK.

Although it is good to have the diagnosis, there is nothing they can do. Well there is medication, but the side effects are worse than the problem. And there is some form of surgery where the nerves are severed.

I am adamantly against them both.

My self-treatment is to push myself. Eat well. Sleep well. Keep involved, both physically and mentally. And never ever never feel sorry for myself.

ChrisJ said...

Wow! that was a fast response! -- from thousands of miles away. I agree with you. No medication, no surgery. I do find it hard to push myself -- unless it is to go to the cat shelter, but for the rest I do as you do.

Julie said...

The glory of fibre-optic cables, eh?

Having done the Dizziness Inventory last week I am realising that there were a couple of things that I had been glossing over. The bed thing. I wake during the night and in the morning feeling nauseous.

There is one other thing that I do which I am finding a help. I work-out on a Nintendo Wii for about an hour each and every morning. This is predicated on balance. You learn about your own balance AND how to adjust it - mostly using your abs. Consider it.

There was no problem with this photograph. The balaustrade was under my armpits (at 5' 1" that is not hard!) but I always adopt a wide stance.

We have both above ground and subway railways in the city, so you could have the right place in mind. Confusing us with NZ is not a good move, however. *grin*

Gayle said...

Timely post as I've been aware of the bee incidents in the news here lately and wondering why. I hadn't heard about the horses, though.

Unknown said...

What a great Post for the letter B getting the message out is very important.

I am surprise that these Bees has now spread out further though, I only thought they were just in California, AZ and Texas.

I also heard about the recent attacks as well and so close to my part of town. Very uncomfortable feeling to have cause I am alergic to Bees.

Autumn Leaves said...

Wonderful post, Chris. Personally, I just love their honey!

MorningAJ said...

Interesting post. There seem to be a lot of species ending up in the wrong places in the world. The African bee is extending its range while our poor bumble bees are threatened with extinction.
(I chose bees for B too!)

Kim, USA said...

I thought my post is a bee it's a wasp hehe. I learned that it's better to buy a honey locally. But because of this cable wires and everything they don't thrive as much before. Thanks for sharing!

ABC Wednesdsay~B

Joy said...

I do love to watch bees but I would be rushing indoors to keep away from your AHBs,
The only thing I remember about the 'horror' film they made about them was the Volkswagen was the only type of car they could not get into. I can't even remember the title of the film, but who knows when I might be able to use that piece of information:-)

ABC Wednesday Team

Jay said...

Good heavens ... we've heard about killer bees, of course, but as a remote threat, far from the shores of England. I've been to California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee ... and never gave them a thought! But still, I have a healthy respect for your wildlife and would definitely avoid a swarm of bees!

Thanks for the info!

sandy said...

I just trimmed a tree today that had tons of bees. THank God they weren't aggressive as I don't take any special care around them. I always have figured if I don't bother them they will leave me alone and it works. I'll watch out though now after reading this.

photowannabe said...

Hi Chris, just to let you know that those aren't wood shavings on the tree limb for my "B" post. That's the way the bark grows, splits and curls. It really looks like shavings glued on doesn't it?

Cherdecor said...

Whoa! That is pretty scary!

kat said...

ouch...so scary...try to check it again inside your house whoaa...i can't sleep thinking of that hahahaha.

Thanks for the visit and comment anyway. hope to see you again next week.

ChrisJ said...

Roger: From what I heard, they're not supposed to get as far north as NYC. The cold winters will kill them. So they say.

jabblog said...

Scary though they undoubtedly are, particularly when swarming, fatalities following stings are thankfully rare. It's wise always to stay away from crowds of living things - particularly human crowds, I find ;-)

Eldritch the Dragon said...

Oooo. That's scary!

My mum has done an A - B - C this week too.


Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed reading the bee post. I hope they don't get this far, but somebody has to pollinate the crops or there will be a great world wide famine. Some large farms are now hiring companies to bring 18-wheeler trucks with hives of bees to work their cash crops or if not they will lose them.

Also see your second book is on Amazon.com for $14.99 or something close to that. I thought maybe you were publishing them through Lulu.com but I couldn't find it there. Congratulations on the second one.