Killer Bees Invade Texas
Is it "media-hype" or just simple honey bees that occasionally express some attitude? There is truth to both since most of the time the ”killer bees", correctly called Africanized Honey Bees(AHB), appear and act no different than our well known domestic honey bees. However, there have been multiple deaths and numerous massive stinging cases by AHB since they arrived in south Texas in 1990. These types of stinging incidents were virtually unheard of in the US prior to their arrival.
- - They are honey bees and look just like them.
- - When encountered in the yard or field, single bees, even africanized, are not more aggressive.
- - If stung, the venom is not more toxic or harmful than the sting of our more familiar domestic honey bees.
- - The main risk of AHB is if you disturb the bee hive, intentional or not, within seconds thousands of bees are attacking anything alive in the area. This is a dangerous situation.
- - The most common unintentional disturbance of AHB hives is operating machinery, like lawnmowers, tractors and weed eaters near the hive.
- - Increase awareness around the home and other active areas outdoors for bees coming and going from an area, especially before operating machinery.
- - Repair any holes or defects in brick mortar or fences and remove unused containers, debris, tires and other items that could be the new home for a bee hive.
- - If you locate a hive, call an exterminator or bee professional for removal.
- - Prevention information (above) is even more important!
- - Medications should be available as recommended by your doctor.
- - A consultation with a Board Certified Allergy Immunology specialist should be strongly considered. Honey bee venom allergy injections are very effective and should be discussed to determine whether this type of treatment is appropriate for you.
- - RUN, don’t stay there and swat at them or try to hide or jump in water, run into an enclosure, a house, vehicle or other. Once inside, the bees become somewhat disoriented and call off the attack. They will not attack others inside so you don’t need to be concerned about others in the house or car. If there are no enclosures, keep running away from the area and less and less bees will follow.
- - Once you are safe from additional stings, scrape off the stingers quickly with your fingernails or a blunt item. Do not pinch or squeeze the stinger as you will actually inject more venom.
- - Seek medical attention due to the risk of an immediate, slow or delayed reaction which can be severe or possibly life threatening.
- - If someone else is being attacked, call for them to run but if not able, crawl away from the hive.
- - Do not attempt unprotected rescue. Call 911 or other emergency number for appropriate assistance.
- - If a pet is fenced or restrained, safely and quickly open a gate or unrestrain the pet.
Remember: "Killer bees" or Africanized Honey Bees are here to stay, but some common sense and simple knowledge can prevent, or limit the extent of attacks so you don' t become the next victim!
The Texas Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society (TAAIS) is a group of more than 220 board-certified Allergists/Immunologists in Texas.
An Allergist/Immunologist is a physician, usually an Internist or Pediatrician, who has had special training and experience in the field of Allergy and Immunology and who is considered to be an expert in the diagnosis and management of immune system disorders such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema, urticaria (hives), drug reactions, food allergies, immune deficiencies, and all general aspects of anaphylaxis.
A Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist is a physician who has passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. A list of Board Certified Allergists can be found here. Those with “ABAI” under Board Certification are Board Certified Allergists/Immunologist.