Hunters Cautioned to Avoid Bees

The recent discovery of Africanized honeybees in Mobile County has the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources asking hunters to be more cautious when outdoors. Dove season will open in many counties in mid September, followed by the openings of squirrel, rabbit and other small game as well as deer seasons.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries confirmed the Africanized bee findings and Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks is working with the Department of Conservation and other agencies to notify the public.

Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley recommends that hunters use common sense precautions if they see any unusual bee activity. “People will be spending more time out-of-doors during hunting season, so we just want everyone to be aware of the situation and be prepared,” said Lawley.

The Africanized bees, nicknamed “killer bees,” are actually no more venomous than other bees, but are much more aggressive. They will sting in greater numbers and follow intruders farther than other bees. People who are stung should not panic and are advised to cover their heads and get away quickly. Africanized bees are persistent and may follow long distances, so anyone encountering them should get indoors or to a vehicle as soon as possible. If stung, remove the stinger if one is present. Ice may relieve pain and swelling.

When venturing outdoors, always be aware of your surroundings. Africanized bees may nest in cavities such as holes in the ground, rock crevices and hollow trees. Check for bees before climbing trees, kicking over logs or rolling over rocks. Treat a honey bee colony like any other venomous creature, such as a snake. Be alert and do not disturb or provoke them.

People who believe they may have come into contact with Africanized honeybees are asked to call the Plant Division of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries at 334-240-7226.