They were aggressive, they attacked and now it turns out they are killer bees. A College Station lab confirms that the bees, responsible for attacking two men last Friday, are a form of Africanized Bees.
The attack happened outside the Grand Court Retirement Community in the 4600 block of 71st street. Two men were stung, one seven times, the other five times. However, both men are fine now.
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The bees that were tested from the swarm found at the retirement home aren't just Africanized, they're a hybrid version. Which means they're part Africanized and part European Honey Bee as well. "In time we'll be getting more of these type colonies that are hybrid but they're getting more Africanized as time goes on," explains Tim Gafford, Pest Control Expert.
The differences between the hybrid version and the Africanized Bee are that the hybrid are lighter in color and smaller in size compared to the Africanized Bee.
Gafford says the weather may be one reason we've seen an increase in bees. "The only thing I can suspect is the high level of moisture but still even in years where we've had high levels of moisture we haven't seen so much bee activity," he explains.
Since the discovery of Africanized Bees in West Texas, Gafford says he's received a high volume of calls. But he advises you shouldn't contact an expert unless you notice aggressive bee activity. "There's no reason in doing anything unless they're attacking people or if we have evidence that they may be hived up in a building or somewhere people are working or living," he says.
Even though bees have gotten a bad wrap lately, Gafford says it's important to remember that bees are essential to our agricultural industry. "There are trailer loads of bees carried all over West Texas that are out pollinating and cross pollinating the plants need them to get sunflowers up and things like that," he says.
If you are 60 years and older and are on a fixed income, you are eligible to receive help with getting rid of bees around your home. Just call the South Plains Agency on Aging at (806) 762-8721 and they'll be happy to help you.