Be Safe Around Bees

Bees are an essential part of nature, but you need to be careful around them. Bees collecting nectar from flowers are busy working, and will not bother you unless you disturb them. But bright colors (and strong fragrances) may attract bees thinking you are a flower. When outside, wear light colors. Dark colors like brown may cause bees to think you are a mammal such as a bear looking for their honey.

Homeowners should regularly inspect their house and yard for signs of bees. Swarms look for small holes in trees, eaves, and walls as potential nesting sites. These openings should be filled or covered with a solid cover or fine mesh screening. Bees are also attracted to debris such as tires, wood piles, or overturned flower pots. When removing any debris, always look before you place your hand under or into something. Use the same caution when working around air conditioners, coolers, electrical boxes, sprinkler valve boxes, or water meters. If you do happen to get too close to a hive, hold your breath and walk away. The carbon dioxide you exhale causes the bees to aggressively defend their hive.

It’s best to leave bees alone, but if you are attacked: 

  • Protect your face by pulling your shirt up and over your head.
  • Run immediately into a building or vehicle; close all windows and doors.
  • Do not swat at the bees; this will provoke the rest of the hive to attack.
  • Do not throw objects at the bees or squirt them with water.
  • Do not jump into a pool; bees will wait for you to come up for air.
  • Call 9-1-1 if someone is being attacked. Some people are allergic to bee stings and may go into anaphylactic shock so they will need immediate medical help.

Bee facts:

Swarming is when a portion of the hive leaves to form a new colony. Typically swarms of bees are transient – they may set up temporary shelter in a tree for a few hours or even days before moving on.

Swarms close to homes, daycare centers, schools, or densely populated areas (large apartment complexes or trailer parks) may need to be removed if they do not leave the area in a reasonable amount of time or are showing aggressive behavior.

Do not try to remove bees yourself; contact a beekeeper or bee removal expert. Bees are highly valuable creatures and there are many bee specialists who will provides live, humane bee removal and relocation instead of extermination, thus ensuring that the balance of the environment is kept intact.

In many southern and western states, the bees you see around your property are likely to be Africanized Honey Bees. Killing non-aggressive European Honey Bees only strengthens the more aggressive Africanized bee population.

Kids can learn all about bees at BuzzAboutBees.net.

5 Ways to Help Save the Bees – As highlighted in a recent episode of CNN’s “Inside Man” — the bee population has been dropping at a rapid rate since the 1940’s — with honeybee colonies dropping from 5 million to 2.5 million. Researchers say there could be many reasons for such a drastic decline — parasites, bacteria, environmental stress — even a lack of pollen. Find out how you can help the bees, no matter where you live.

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