More bee swarms reported in Altus

Altus_More bee attacks reported in Altus.  Police say there was a swarm of Africanized honey bees in the north parking lot of Western Oklahoma State College.  Another attack was reported by a man and his son who were swarmed when they started their lawnmower, and bees came out from the wall. This follows a report last week of a huge swarm outside a restaurant.  Luckily, in none of these cases was anyone badly stung.

European bees, the ones we are used to, are usually very calm, many of them have been mixed with African bees, which are bred to survive in harsher climates, and naturally, are much more aggressive.

Gary Grose, the manager of the Tipton Valley Honey Company conducted a study, along with the University of Kansas did a study to see just how many bees have become Africanized.  They found that out of 147 wild colonies in the Tipton area, 128 have been cross-bred with the African bees.

Grose said Altus has more bees because of all the different kinds of crops.  The bees get pollen from the wheat and then again from the cotton crops.  So they have twice as much opportunity to grow in number.  The problem happens at harvest time.  The bees have to leave and if there were trees, they'd go there.  But Altus has few trees--so the bees go where they can--and that's to the neighbors.

What should you do if a colony of bees is discovered on your property?

Here's what the experts say:

  • Get away from the bees as quickly as possible. Africanized bees defend their nest, so move away from the nest.
  • Protect your face and eyes as much as possible.
  • Take shelter in an enclosed area.
  • Call a local beekeeper or pest control company for information.
  • Don't stand still and swat at the bees; rapid movements will cause them to sting.