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don't use bug spray on killer bees?

Posted by thisbud4u San Diego (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 12, 08 at 17:54

Hi all,
Just saw an article on the first killer bee death in Florida. At the end of the article, there was a warning not to use wasp or hornet spray. I thought this was worth passing along:
"Officials also said that most wasp and hornet sprays shouldn't be used on bee nests. While they can kill the bees, they also cause the release of a pheromone that stimulates the rest of the colony to attack."

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

Yeah, I saw that too; first time I had ever read or seen that kind of comment... caught my attention also.

The phrase is worded in such a way that the "legal-ist" among us might have a field day. Such as defining, "Officials" (who??) and "most" wasp & hornet sprays.

In my judgment, I would tend to disagree with the news quote. While it could be argued there may be better solutions (pardon the pun... such as a dish-washing soapy water spray), I'm not at all sure that what most of us think of, in terms of common "wasp and hornet" sprays (Raid, Ortho, etc.), could be used without causing more alarm among the colony.

Since these type sprays attack (almost, instantaneously) the nerve system of the insects, alarm pheromone release seems most unlikely to me. I'd be interested in talking to any entomologist (as opposed to nebulous, "officials") who's actually done any scientific research into this aspect.

Labeling directions on these wasp and hornet sprays also state they're good for use on bees:
"FOR OUTDOOR USE: To kill paper wasps, yellow jackets, mud daubers, bald-faced hornets, and bees".

And for personal observation (as a beekeeper), I've actually seen wasp & hornet spray used to kill a swarm and I certainly didn't detect any alarm pheromone release (either through the tale-tale banana odor or through the reaction of the bees, themselves). They died rather quickly (couple of seconds at most) without taking flight.

The comment appears 'suspect' to me.

On a side note...

I can't help but notice typical sensationalized advertising even on this website (lower left hand corner of THIS screen), about "Chicago killer bee" extermination, etc...

And obviously I'm getting a real kick out of this. Especially since I don't believe "killer bees" occupied territory as far north as Chicago. (Maybee, they're referring to the occasional "tourist" killer bees?).

It's this sort of pest control advertising that doesn't do the beekeeping community any good. Perhaps we should write them and encourage them to change their advertising (or at least, inform these "professionals" that killer bees aren't in their area yet).

It was interesting to note that the same article mentioned in the previous posting, stated that killer bees have been in Florida since 2002 and this is likely their first human kill. Took them six years after arriving in FLA? Hummm... certainly not the case for Texas, NM, AZ & CA!

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

killer bees have been killed in this aera ( I am 40 miles from Chicago ) the first being in 1985 but it was on a banana boat from So America so it is possable to have one in this area especialy if you happen to buy a queen from the worng place and she is bread to AHB droans or a few in her "fling" and then it could take years before she produced AHBs

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

Yeah, you've sighted an example (the banana boat thing) of the kind of "tourist" bees I was in reference to. I've heard tales for many years of southern killer bee swarms hitchhiking north attached to trains or 18-wheelers, etc. However, I don't believe that Apis mellifera scutellata will be able to permanently occupy and survive in areas around Chicago (due to the winter temperature and moisture environment). At least, based on its comparable permanent occupation and survival range in the southern hemisphere.

But more to my point is the incredible gall of advertisers trying to capitalize on the "fear factor" associated with the 'killer bee' name... especially up north where they're not likely to ever be a permanent threat to the general public (at least, relative to the southern tier of states).

You bring up another good point: southern-raised queens (specifically, those from areas known to be permanently occupied by AHB). I suspect this is / or will be shortly, a significant concern to beekeepers throughout the U.S. I have yet to hear, what I would consider, a viable mitigation plan for this potential breeding problem among southern queen breeders.

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

Another thought is pollination keepers hauling bees all over the states from all points south and droans escapeing.

My mentor requeened a hive that was stinging a lady hanging cloths 2 yards away, these bees werent tested for AHB genes but they had to turn on the wipers to see when they drove up to the hive (now thats a mean hive)and he said never again, he if he ever sees another one like that it will bee a gallon of gas and a match after dark!!

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

  • Posted by ccrb1 z5 IND (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 19, 08 at 19:20

turns out the guy died of anaphylactic shock. Even European bees would have killed him.

Not really a killer bee cause then...

RE: don't use bug spray on killer bees?

> Not really a killer bee cause

But not really your call. When the bees are tested and if they turn out to be Africanized, it nevertheless will be recorded in the history books as Florida's "first" human death due to killer bees.,0,6034185.story

no kill bees

the killer bee topic just makes good alarming "news" - we recently had one - after all the panic and 'image damage' was done publically - it was quietly admitted that the bees were docile, did not attempt to sting even the people investigating them - and the "expert" made the judgement based on the shape and size of the wings -

not all honeybees are fat little golden replicas of 100 years ago

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