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Dave Ross

It’s only a matter of time before killer bees overrun the Northwest

A hive of an estimated 40,000 Africanized bees killed a man and seriously injured a woman who came to his assistance in Moody, Texas, on Saturday.

Could killer bees be on their way to the Northwest?

It’s only a matter of time, according to Reed Booth, a beekeeper, killer bee removal expert and author of the book “Confessions of the Killer Bee Guy.”

Booth told Seattle’s Morning News that in Arizona, where he lives, all of the wild honey bees are killers. “It’s a done deal.”

The average number of bees in those wild hives is 40,000 to 60,000, but it only takes 500 stings to be fatal. And the sting you should worry about the most is the first. Booth said the pheromone released when the first bee stings you lets the other bees know you’re a target.

It doesn’t take much to get “killer” bees upset. Booth said the guard bees that hang out around the hive could be put off by a weed whacker, lawnmower, your cologne, or from 20 to 30 feet away, even the color of your shirt.

While you should be concerned about the hive, Booth said there is nothing to worry about when the bees are buzzing around the flower garden. “When bees are around flowers, they’re shopping. They want to get the goods and go home. When you get too close to the hive, that’s the issue.”

These aggressive bees are more common in Arizona and Texas, but Booth said that at the rate wild bees are populating, it will be only 10 years before they make their way to the Northwest.

It’s not like we couldn’t put these bees to work. Booth just so happens to have a proposal for the U.S. government. “They should just hire me to put killer hives along the border – nobody in their right mind (is) going to cross.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Alyssa Kleven

Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.


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