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Author Topic: Bee Attack ???  (Read 2996 times)
Geoff
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« on: January 01, 2013, 05:58:36 PM »

   http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/1213397/swarm-of-killer-bees-kill-horses/?cs=2452

Is this a rare occurrence ??
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 09:58:34 PM »

Let’s hope so! 

I hope that Landlord down under doesn’t read that article......
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 01:19:30 AM »

My first thought was that one of the horses had stepped into a European wasp nest, but you would think that the vet would know the difference between a wasp and a bee.
It seems out of character for bees otherwise, the only other thing I can think of is that a hose ran into an open hive or an empty swarm on a branch.
Let's just hope the media dosn't beat it up too much!
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squidink
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 02:12:02 AM »

Let's say it did happen the horses would have to be stung in excess of 500 times in order to kill them?

Something is suss with this ..
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 11:36:14 AM »

It takes about 10 stings per pound of body weight to administer a lethal dose. If they weighed 1000 pounds, that is 10,000 stings. Were the horses teathered to the hive?  grin
Jim
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max2
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 05:15:58 PM »

My first thought was that one of the horses had stepped into a European wasp nest, but you would think that the vet would know the difference between a wasp and a bee.
It seems out of character for bees otherwise, the only other thing I can think of is that a hose ran into an open hive or an empty swarm on a branch.
Let's just hope the media dosn't beat it up too much!
There is talk about similar cases in the literature but something very unusual would have to happen for bees to react like this. Swarms are generally very docile.
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 06:24:03 PM »

My first thought was that one of the horses had stepped into a European wasp nest, but you would think that the vet would know the difference between a wasp and a bee.
It seems out of character for bees otherwise, the only other thing I can think of is that a hose ran into an open hive or an empty swarm on a branch.
Let's just hope the media dosn't beat it up too much!
There is talk about similar cases in the literature but something very unusual would have to happen for bees to react like this. Swarms are generally very docile.

I've never encountered one, but its my understanding that a swarm that has used all the honey it took from the parent hive can become aggressive. Unlikely I know, but so is the whole story!
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divemaster1963
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 11:48:49 PM »

was there a chance that any bees from the area were used in California for almond pollination and brought back to the country. possibly could have had a queen transitioning into a AFB hive during transport and then absconded into the wild after arriving in country?

just a though? ( I hope not.)

john
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ozebee
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 12:05:50 AM »

I can almost imagine it...... I recently collected a swarm which proved extremely aggressive and with quite a bit of protection I still managed to get over 50 stings. Horses with no covering, would have been subject to quite a few stings if the bees were in a similar attacking mood. Hard to imagine it being fatal unless they were all allergic!
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 01:46:25 AM »

was there a chance that any bees from the area were used in California for almond pollination and brought back to the country. possibly could have had a queen transitioning into a AFB hive during transport and then absconded into the wild after arriving in country?

just a though? ( I hope not.)

john
We have very stringent quarantine laws in Australia, We are only allowed to import nucleus hives for the purpose of bringing in breeding queens and they have to go through a stay at a quarantine station to make sure they are disease free. I think it is extremely unlikely that bees would be bought back into the country.
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edward
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 02:20:49 AM »

I suppose it also would depend on where the horses were stung, if they got it mostly in the face and neck it would probably bee the same as for humans.

mvh edward  tongue
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 07:21:28 AM »

It takes about 10 stings per pound of body weight to administer a lethal dose. If they weighed 1000 pounds, that is 10,000 stings. Were the horses teathered to the hive?  grin
Jim
It may have been that they were tethered to the hive, Jim.  A friend of mine from Boston worked at a riding stable in/around Boston probably 30 years ago.  He told me of some riders who were on the trail and decided to tether their horses to a tree.  They did not know that a colony of bees was inside the tree.  There were two horses tied to the tree when the bee attack happened.  The riders could not get the horses free as they were afraid of the wildly bucking animals.  When he got to the scene I believe the flanks and heads of the horses were covered in bees.  Sadly, one horse died the other was blinded...a tragedy.  Sad  This was, again, around 30 years ago and in Boston so I doubt there was any African influence...maybe some Germans or simply some highly irritated Italians.

Ed
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edward
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 12:42:33 PM »

It could also bee big brown sweaty animal, bees think bear and attack, same as if you work the hives and are sweaty or if you were old boots that smell and fill up with bees.

mvh edward  tongue
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 06:34:51 PM »

or if you were old boots that smell and fill up with bees.

mvh edward  tongue

That might explain why some bees have a habit of going for my Blundstones/ankles when I'm wearing them (only happened with a hive that was particularly hot)

A real tragedy this story though! but I think there's more to it - I'm not suggesting anything suss from the owners part but bees don't just attack like that - not in Australia anyway - I reckon they must have rubbed up against a tree with a hive in it or something
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edward
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 08:42:02 PM »

I reckon they must have rubbed up against a tree with a hive in it or something

Most likely, a colleague has a bee yard with 15 to 60 hives in the middle of a field with horses.

One of the horses scratched my van with its hooves on the roof and chewed a bit on the wipers and rubbed the side, my van is old so it doesn't matter much, but my friend has a newer van and the horse sat on the hood  grin luckily his insurance covered it.  grin

I spoke to the girls that own the horses if the bees bother the horses but the said they never had any problems, even though his bees attack directly any beekeeper that comes into the bee yard.

mvh edward  tongue
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Geoff
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« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 08:13:34 PM »

  I followed up my interest in this case yesterday with a phone call to Harold Chilcott in Tasmania. He could not enlighten me much more on the actual attack on the horses. The only relevant information seemed to be the presence of some hives in a paddock a short distance away and reported bee attacks on people in nearby towns.
  Later I contacted the veterinary clinic in Wynyard from where the vet who attended the horses came. This vet is semi-retired and is only available part time but the receptionist arranged for him contact me when he is available so that is something to look forward to.
  This case has spurred my interest enough that I hope to visit these people in the near future and will also provide the excuse for another trip to Tassie, a great place for touring.
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Lone
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 08:40:12 AM »

Quote
This case has spurred my interest enough

You'll have to stop nagging them and trot down there Geoff.  I'd hate you to rein in your enthusiasm.  The mane thing will be for you to put a colt to these nightmarish equine attacks. I hope those bees saddle down.

By the way, a young boy suffered multiple stings near here a couple of months ago, so let me know if you care to investigate and I'll boil the billy while I wait.

Lone
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megs_westaus
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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 09:47:04 PM »

One horse dying would be unusual but believable - I suppose that a proportion of them would be allergic just like humans. But all three horses that got attacked dying is really something! I had a mere chicken get at least 2-3 dozen stings to her head and pull through without any medical assistance (beyond removing the stings, which had been in her for up to an hour, and washing her off). The physiology of a chicken is quite different to a horse, but I 'd think it would be in the horse's favour with the tougher with thicker skin protecting them from the stings (I've got a horse-sized great dane who doesn't even blink when he gets stung, and I have assumed his skin is thick enough that the stingers don't really penetrate).

One thing that popped into my mind is that the horses might have found an exposed nest and discovered that it tastes delicious (I assume horses like sweet things since they get fed molasses?) and so continued to bother the bees for long enough that they really did get that many stings.
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Simon
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2013, 06:50:19 AM »

I spoke to Harold and Pat Chilcott a few days ago and they said that they had contacted the Advocate Newspaper to attempt to correct all the mis information that had been passed on by someone who wasn't even a witness to the bee attack.  It was bad that the headline included "Killer Bees" as that has created a few crazy reactions from the general public that the local beekeepers have had to try and field since.  Harold and Pat have had bee hives on their property for years (in fact years and years), but those hives are well separated from their horses, which they have also had for years without any problems between the two.

Apparently one of the horses was dead by the time that the vet arrived and he then had to euthanase the other two.  They are not sure where the offending bees came from but they are pretty sure that it was not from the commercial hives on their property.  Pat Chilcott's family have been beekeepers for probably 100 years, so she is a bit better educated about bees than most and not one to over-react.  She said that she had been bothered by bees (the same bees that had attacked the horses) over the following days around her garden and that they were black bees.  Since Harold and Pat's farm is pretty much in the bush, I would think that the bees were a ferral swarm/colony that had found it's way close to their house and the horses probably just happened to stand in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Harold said that he had found a few other bee colonies on their property.  Some of the black bees around here are nasty and I have experienced them start boiling out of a hive and and go on the attack when I was still several hundred feet away and hadn't otherwise disturbed the hive.  Those bees would definately react badly to a horse.  I usually see Harold and Pat several times a week, so I will relay any new information if anyone is interested.

Simon
 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 07:38:24 AM by Simon » Logged
edward
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2013, 11:31:25 AM »

Sounds like a sad story all around  Sad

We also had problems with the local news papers/stations reporting killer bees as soon as someone had a swarm in there garden.

I decided that this had to stop, and now we invite the media into our bee yards, and hives and I have a few ideas that I am going to feed them over the next few years.

The media is usually starved for good/happy news and are quite happy to report on things that bring a smile or an aha moment to there readers.

A preemptive strike so to speak  cool

Maybee you could invite your press into a hive that knows how to beehave and show them how fun beekeeping can and should bee

mvh edward  tongue
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