Friday, April 9, 2010

Maybe They Knew...

Well, we have been working our way through learning about creepy crawlies and feisty fliers of the garden...and the one little creature we had overlooked for the most part was the bee...well, maybe they knew and didn't like it that we were not spending time learning about them...these tiny but oh so aggressive honey makers.

So, lo and behold, on Wednesday night, our next door neighbor came to tell us that there was a swarm of bees that was on the side of his house. It had pretty much appeared out of nowhere and in a matter of a few hours, the swarm had eaten into their duct work and their vents and about 50 of the bees had gotten into their bathroom.

What made it so weird was how fast and how voracious the bees seemed to be working.

Dear Hubby had been outside and had mowed the lawn at 4:30 pm or so...and no bees were to be seen...

Then, at around 6 or 6:30 pm, that's when our neighbor came to let us know of the all of a sudden home invasion.

Our neighbor scheduled to have someone come to eradicate the bees ASAP, but unfortunately ASAP was the next morning. Well, by yesterday, the tennis racket sized swarm had grown even larger and was now about the size of an oversized men's tennis racket.

Unreal! Scary, too, as these weren't your everyday sort of bee.

Well, they came to exterminate them .
I had to go out with the boys while the bee guys worked.
When I came back and they were to have already wrapped things up, the bees were still there, and seemed as mad as ever.
So, I went back out with the boys and did what I do best in home issues like this...

I called Dear Hubby...

He came home, and by the time he had gotten back to our home, the bee guys had destroyed the bees and had found the queen.

Well, turns out they may have been African (also called Africanized Killer Bees).

I took photos of some of the dead ones that were on our driveway.

So hard to believe how violent they seemed in a swarm when they are so small...smaller than your normal sort of honey bee.

Not exactly what I had planned to study for our insect study, but it turns out that it may have been a blessing in disguise, as now, we will be much more vigilant if we see bees, as far as staying away and calling to get the bees eradicated immediately.

I got this nice email back from Jerry Hayes,  the Chief of the Apiary (honey bee) Section for the Florida Dept. Of Agriculture and Consumer Services:

African bees like other bees reproduce at this time of year by dividing or having the colony split in half. Half of the colony leaves to find a new nesting site and the other half stays in the original nest. This is what is happening in Florida at this time. Our recommendation is that any bees not associated with a Registered Florida Beekeeper should be considered for eradication. 

Please visit our web site found at for more information on African Bees.

I guess we will be learning more about African bees, but hopefully from a distance!

Below is a cool map from NASA's Honey Bee Net that shows where the Africanized honey bees have spread within the United States...

Here is the Honey Bee Net Map Link, in case any of you would want to share it with your children...the plus to all of this is that it had made bees very real to all of us, and now, we can look at the maps and research more about these bees that are in our region.

Guess the bees know how nice it is in the Sunshine State and want to join in the fun here!!!


SimplyMontessori said...

Ewwww! We were at the park today, and there were some very aggressive and territorial bees there as well Hopefully not killer bees, but they did shorten our stay considerably! Glad no one was stung!

Honey said...

Oh these bees are downright SCARY! We watched a documentary about them. The difference between them and you're "peaceful/ordinary" bee is the size of their territory/how far they'll chase you, stinging & attacking. Regular stopped a good sprint distance away...but the African was like half a mile or something AMAZING. It's no wonder people die. It was on PBS (we don't have cable) so you should be able to find it if you're interested.

By the it weird/disgusting that I'd love to have one of the dead bees for the kids to see & compare to ours here?


The Sunshine Crew said...

Honey, I did not save any of the actual bees but can send you the photos. Will email them to you later this week when my hubby has the chance to help me enlarge them so that your children will be able to see their features. They look pretty much the same except they seemed a little shorter and maybe more squatty looking to me...just very, very aggressive.

Honey said...

Well thank you! Yesterday after sending the comment I looked over & noticed...a bee caught between the screen & the window. REALLY thought about letting it...stay there for a bit. Then the kids could really look at it. Luckily I fear karma too much to chance killing or being indifferent to life. Before I opened the window & the screen we did watch him as he buzzed about. I had forgotten how fuzzy they are about their heads. They really are cute. I just hope Sunshine doesn't try to love on any outside! :)


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