Killer bees have been found in Colorado. Africanized honey bees, that are commonly referred to as killer bees have been found in Palisade, Colorado. It was previously thought that these bees could not survive harsh winters of the North. CBS Denver quotes Bob Hammon with the Colorado State University Tri-River Extension saying that they will have to test the bees to figure out how widespread they are. It brings up more questions than answers and they have a long ways to go before they understand what is happening.
A hive was recently discovered and sent in for testing. When it was determined that it contained killer bees that overtake the nests of other bees and kill their queen, it was destroyed. Usually the bees are found in warmer climates like Arizona and Texas. CSU professor Whitney Cranshaw says they have an unfortunate habit of defending and are more likely to sting.
According to About.com, African honey bees defend their nests more aggressively than their European counterparts. They are quicker to respond to threats and do so in greater numbers. Their venom is no worse than the European honey bee but they may inflict more than 10 times as many stings during an attack as regular honey bees.
Killer bees were bred back in the 50s when botanists in Brazil were attempting to create bees that could produce more honey in the tropics. Unfortunately, some of the animals escaped and created feral colonies. They spread throughout the Americas and in the 90s migrated into the US with much fanfare from the media. Now Killer bees have been found in Colorado. In truth, attacks from them are rare.
There are a few methods you can use to escape from a Killer Bee attack. About.com says:
1. Run. The bees put off pheromones to attract other bees so the longer you wait, the more animals will show up to sting.
2. Use clothing to cover the eyes and head.
3. Get indoors quickly. If not near a building get inside a shed or car and close the windows to keep them from following.
4. If you cannot get indoors, keep running. African honey bees can follow for 1/4 of a mile so it is possible to outrun them.
5. Do not play dead. They are not bears and they will sting you.
6. Do not swat at the bees. This encourages them to sting more as this is threatening behavior.
7. Do not jump into water. They will wait at the surface.
Once stung, use a blunt object to remove the stingers. The sooner the stingers are removed the less venom enters the body. Use soap and water to clean the stings and ice packs/cold water to treat the symptoms. If an allergy is possible, seek medical treatment right away.
Most people are safe from killer bees as the likelihood of attack is low. They have been found in Colorado recently and it is possible they will spread so being informed is helpful. Hopefully experts will soon discover the reason for their spread and quell the migration as quickly as possible. Bees have recently suffered a lot in terms of their demise. Scientists are just learning that pesticides are the cause of their disappearance. If killer bees get loose in the north, this will cause more problems for farmers and the world alike.
Opinion by: Nicole Drawc