Africanized Honey Bee Training For Local Bee Keepers

By: Victoria Rosa Email
By: Victoria Rosa Email

Local apiarist, or bee keepers, say there's no reason for concern just yet.

They say they'd rather have first responders be safe, than sorry.

"Africanized honey bees are possibly coming toward Alabama and the word, the message is lets be prepared, " Dennis Barclift, Alabama's State Apiarist.

Alabama's State Apiarist Dennis Barclift and Florida's State Apiarist David Westervelt were two key speakers Thursday.

Local bee keepers and first responders were trained on dealing with Africanized bees, since they are getting closer to Alabama.

The bees have already made their way to parts of Florida.

"Southern part of Alabama is ideal for habitat for honey bees, so Africanized honey bees could be here, " David Westervelt, Florida's State Apiarist.

"You may not come in contact with Africanized bees but if you do, it can be life threatening for you, your family, your animals, " says Barclift.

Officials say the bees are known best for their excessive defensive behavior.

"If you were to disturb an Africanized honey bee, the actual colony, they're probably 5 to 6 times worse in defending their hive. Where a European honey bee will defend 15 to 20 feet from their hive, in that area, the African will go 3 to 400 feet, " Westervelt.

"You can not tell the difference, you will not know it until they are all over you. Our motto is run, run, run, get away and call a local bee keeper, call your EMA and we can do away with the swarm, " says Barclift.

Bee keepers say being mindful is key.

"It's something you need to be aware of, it's something you are not going to run into everyday but we want you to be prepared so if it happens, you can protect yourself and your property, " says Barclift.

Bee keepers say it's also important to note Africanized honey bees are not restricted to a certain area, they can nest anywhere.

If you have any questions about Africanized honey bees, call the Department of Agriculture at 334 240 7225.

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