Dealing with Africanized bees is something beekeepers in Arizona do every day. Homeowners, however, don’t, and it can be scary when you find out that you have a colony of bees living in your walls or in a tree near where your kids play or where your animals roam. We have all heard the stories about killer bees attacking and killing people and animals. I would be lying if I told you that this doesn’t happen. It does here in Arizona once in a while. Usually when an entire colony has been disturbed dramatically like in the case of a bulldozer accidentally destroying a hive. Most of the feral bees in Arizona are to some degree Africanized, and therefore are more aggressive than other bees. But unless you are posing a threat to their home, they will mind their own business.
But back to finding out you have a colony in your walls or ceiling. That just may be a little too close for comfort for most people. That’s when many homeowners decide to call an exterminator.
But wait! Don’t even think about it!
Our honeybees–and yes, Africanized bees are honeybees–are in danger of worldwide decline. That is a big deal to you and me because one-third of all our food comes from the pollination that bees provide. Instead of calling an exterminator, please call a beekeeper. They both will charge about the same, but the exterminator will simply pour chemicals into your home to kill the bees, and then leave all the honeycomb in there to melt and seep into your walls, inviting pests of all sorts. A beekeeper with come in and collect all the honeycomb, which is full of honey, pollen, and brood. They will put that comb in frames in a hive, then collect all the bees and place them in the hive to live.
Another thing most beekeepers in Arizona do is to re-queen the hive with a European queen that has been mated in an area without Africanized bees. This ensures that the generations of bees afterward will not have the Africanized gene, which is a good thing for our bee population.
So the next time you see a cluster of bees in a tree or hear a buzzing sound in your walls, call a local beekeeper. The world will thank you.
For those of you who live near Phoenix, here is a printable list of local beekeepers you can call.