Most people still probably think of the killer bees it as a punch line from Saturday Night Live.
But in Moody, Texas last week, an estimated 40,000 Africanized bees killed a man and seriously injured a woman who tried to help him.
“All the wild honey bees in the state of Arizona now are killers now. It’s a done deal.”
Reed Booth is known as the Killer Bee guy, headquartered in Bisbee, Arizona. And he knows exactly what sets them off.
“The problem is that at the entrance to every hive are what are called ‘guard bees.’ There only job is to perceive what is a threat to the hive,” says Booth. “They hate weed whackers, lawnmowers, tractors, cologne.”
And how can you tell normal bees from the Africanized bees – you really can’t until it’s too late. Just stay away from any hive.
“If you get 40,000 bees all pissed off at you, trying to kill you – you’re done. It only takes 500 stings to equal a rattlesnake bite.”
It’s not that the stings are worse than ordinary bees, it’s just that once the hive is threatened, the Africanized bees never give up.
A guy in California got into a hive in his backyard, jumped into his swimming pool. And for 20 minutes, every time he got up to breathe, no matter where it was they attacked him and finally killed him,” he says. “They go for the CO2 coming out of your nose and mouth.”
Bottom line – you find a beehive, ANY beehive – don’t try to get rid of it yourself. In fact, being in Arizona, Reed likes to joke about his clever idea for border security, “They should just hire me to put killer beehives all along the border. Ain’t nobody in their right mind going to cross.”