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Author Topic: Post Bee Attack Advice for the Public Needed  (Read 1939 times)
Grandma_DOG
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« on: May 04, 2009, 09:53:33 PM »

I just returned from the scene of a bee attack. I volunteer with the local volunteer fire department as their beekeeper.  Some roofers got attacked while roofing and I was called to come ASAP.

The facts turn out that the roof is next to a 3' wide old Oak with a established hive. The entrance is 15' high.  The whole area suffered a massive hail storm 5 weeks ago with golfball and racketball sized hail. Lots of roofing crews in the area. A State Farm Adjuster was stung just assessing the roof a week earlier which gives a hint of what would happen today. The roofing crew was getting stung and pinged so they tried to spray the nest. Then all hell broke loose on the roofers and one roofer received over 20 stings. Dangerous on a 2nd story roof. Fire Dept was called in and I got my call to come.  I couldn't get to any comb from either entrance, and so I told the chief I couldn't do a cut out. He said we'd have to foam them and flood the tree. So be it.

I was stung thru my suit multiple times. The bees were very aggressive. But I shown how to use the nozzle on the hose and so I hauled up the hose and flooded the tree till the foam came out a lower hole.

The owner of the house had lived peacefully with the bees for 10 years and was sad they had to be killed. I'm not going to speculate on Africanized nature of the bees.

So I volunteer with the FD because I expect the easy swarm calls and can pick up free bees. I admit, I'm a worthless freeloafer of a volunteer.  But then the chief asks me whats going to happen now and I'm kind of stumped. My knowledge is about keeping bees alive I don't know the cycle after you kill off a hive. 

Here's what I think...the bees in the tree are mostly dead but you have 1,000s of foragers that will come back at dust who will be annoyed the nest is screwed. They will hang around I suspect the brood nest took a fatal temperature drop and chillbrood will kill off the viability of the brood. Probably the queen is dead.  But that doesn't give him any info for tomorrow...  I just tell him the hive will be agitated for the rest of the week as the queen is likely dead.  I recommend they don't try roofing tomorrow.  But beyond that I don't know what to say.

When will the area be safe? What will happen in the next few days?

So
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doak
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 10:28:38 PM »

Location tells they could have been AHB's
It may take several days for the stragglers to dissipate.
Mean while if you could go back and collect about 100 of the dead ones and put them in Alcohol
and send them off to a bee lab for testing for ahb.
As for they being there 10 years and not bothering any one.
Could be the case. If they were 10 ft up and nothing disturbed them AHB's could have been there.
The storm shook them up and then the clean up and repairs just kept them agitated.
Africanized bees take way longer to settle down if they ever do.
We have to do what we have to do. Don't feel to bad about having to put them down.
 :)doak

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RayMarler
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 10:32:48 PM »

I would suppose all the bees that were in the tree when you foamed them are dead. The foragers returning, might hang around some but I doubt it. There's nothing to hold them to that location. The foragers will look for other hives to be joined into or die, is my guess. There might be some bees coming around to rob out any resources not destroyed by foam in the tree.
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deknow
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 11:31:43 PM »

Mean while if you could go back and collect about 100 of the dead ones and put them in Alcohol
and send them off to a bee lab for testing for ahb.

...this is common advice...but i always wonder what the point is.

in general, we know the hive was defensive enough (due to genetics or environmental factors) that a beekeeper was willing to destroy the colony.  if they weren't dead yet, would ahb identification really give you information you need (ie, if they are so defensive, do you want to leave them alone if they come back as ehb)?  in this case, they are already dead...so what does knowing if they test ahb or ehb get you?

deknow
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doak
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 11:44:22 PM »

You don't think it is a very good idea to know so it could be recorded.

If that is the case why all the test to find out about CCD? All those bees are dead too.doak
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Shawn
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 11:59:42 PM »

I agree with doak. Testing does not hurt so the community knows if there are AHB in the area. Knowledge is everything when it comes to the safety of a community. Being a firefighter you would want to know what you are up against at all times. If you were going to a warehouse fire wouldnt you want to know what was inside the building before you enter? If you were going on a medical call wouldnt you want to know if the person has a prior medical info, meds? I have not been in beekeeping for very long but I would tell the roofers not to roof like you said for a day and when they go back just stop and look if there is any activity at the tree. If there is then see if there is someone to come back and flush the tree again, just an option. 
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RayMarler
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 12:42:54 AM »

If that is the case why all the test to find out about CCD?

I just got a notice in the mail today, you can claim losses of bees on your taxes and get fed bailout money if you can prove they died of CCD from testing the dieouts.
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Grandma_DOG
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 12:51:42 AM »

Back on Track here.

What I need to know is what to tell the chief after we 'kill' a hive.

When will the 'bee threat' die down?
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Davepeg
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 06:47:00 AM »

I don't think you can tell the fire chief for sure about the bees.  Unless you or someone else wants to go out there and respray them for a few days (or at least check), you don't know if there are other hives around or how long the remaining bees will be there.  If they can wait a few days it would be best.  Could you check the tree the day before they are planning to start work again?
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deknow
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 08:36:11 AM »

...if you are concerned about stragglers, i'd put a nuc box near where the entrance was, and put in one of those artificial queen pheremone packs.  you could go back at night and close up the nuc, or just use a cardboard one and spray inside at night.
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deknow
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 08:38:35 AM »

...also, if you did not remove the comb, once the foam dries out, you are going to get any nearby bees (and yellowjackets, and ants) coming in to rob the honey.  these bees might also not be fun to be around.


deknow
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deknow
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 08:42:44 AM »

I agree with doak. Testing does not hurt so the community knows if there are AHB in the area. Knowledge is everything when it comes to the safety of a community. Being a firefighter you would want to know what you are up against at all times.

but as a firefighter, cop, or civilian you already know what you need to know....bees that were agressive enough to require destruction are in the area.  what is gained by testing for ahb?

deknow
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Rebel Rose Apiary
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 10:04:09 AM »

If it were me, this is what I would do. After going over your details of this encounter, I see that there are two entrances to the main colony in the tree, correct? If they are not impossible to get to safely, I would take some caulking and seal the holes in the tree so that nothing gets in and nothing else comes out. The reason that I say 'caulking' and not the foam sealer, is that bees can chew through the foam sealer if given time to do so. Be very generous with using the caulking!

For the safety of all of the roofers I would seal it up ASAP. The field bees should be gone within three days if they cannot find a way back in.

The roofers should stay away from the area until it is safer....after the holes are sealed up at least.

Brenda

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Scadsobees
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 12:54:44 PM »

The field bees will cluster overnight in or near the tree.  If they are in the tree then seal it up at night or morning, or if they are outside of the tree they will be in a small cluster and you (or the workers) can hit them with some wasp spray.  It stinks but it is what it is, the foragers are dead bees flying anyway (unless you for some reason want to go and try to save a few bees  rolleyes).

Rick
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Rick
deknow
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 01:18:32 PM »

I just got a notice in the mail today, you can claim losses of bees on your taxes and get fed bailout money if you can prove they died of CCD from testing the dieouts.

...what?  you don't know how to test for ccd?  i'll do it from here with my mind....only $19.99 (plus tax).

deknow
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doak
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2009, 01:29:01 PM »

Maybe this will clear up confusion.
Why test for AHB if the colony is already destroyed.
First I will admit I don't know the stats of whether there are AHB's in the Austin area or not.
But a couple years ago I read there was not a county in the state of Texas that didn't have AHB.
It would be good for the beekeepers and the general public in the immediate area to know if it was AHB. Then they would to keep their distance or how to prepare themselves if one had to work a colony  that were AHB. Where there was one there is bound to be more.
doak
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tlynn
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2009, 01:46:37 PM »

Maybe this will clear up confusion.
Why test for AHB if the colony is already destroyed.
First I will admit I don't know the stats of whether there are AHB's in the Austin area or not.
But a couple years ago I read there was not a county in the state of Texas that didn't have AHB.
It would be good for the beekeepers and the general public in the immediate area to know if it was AHB. Then they would to keep their distance or how to prepare themselves if one had to work a colony  that were AHB. Where there was one there is bound to be more.
doak


I would imagine it would also help local beekeepers get a better understanding of what they might expect in the prevailing wild drone stock.
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kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2009, 04:50:46 PM »

i would think that it would be necessary info for public service workers also.  if you know you have AHB in the area, you would be more cautious if you found yourself working around a hive.
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doak
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2009, 06:20:45 PM »

Thanks to the ones that agree with my logic. :)doak
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2009, 07:07:59 PM »

I can't speak for your chief, but if you're dealing with a man of decent integrity. "I can't say with total certainty, we should check back on this one due to possible stragglers" should be a decent answer. (I bet the alarm scent has been quelled by the foam).
 as to the stragglers, why not something like a trapout - a box with some brood to draw them in. (a new domesticated queen might calm them.) (yes, Iddee, I have been studying).
honesty seems to work for me, if it accomplishes nothing aside from stunning  people with the fact that you have the guts  to admit that you know or don't know something.

edit: for the public? make up something ridiculous and see if it goes on the air "andelusian imposter wasps"
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deknow
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2009, 08:00:07 PM »

i agree with what everyone is saying...that "you want to know if there is ahb in your area".

1.  this is texas...as someone else posted, there are ahb in texas.  it's something that beekeepers and public safety workers are preapared to deal with.

2.  if the tests come back european, and we determine that this was a highly aggressive ehb colony, do any of the concerns still not apply?  beekeepers and public safety workers need to be careful, there may be drones in the area that carry aggressive traits, etc.

deknow
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