Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the Virgin Islands, N.E. Caribbean. We have a healthy and thriving wild bee population and a rapidly increasing tended colony population with year round nectar and pollen producing plants. With temperatures throughout the year averaging between 76 nights and 86 days, it is bee heaven.

The fact that most colonies are Africanized, is an accepted fact.

My place is rural in nature, in the mountains. Walking and working around the place I'm accustomed to large numbers of bees on blossoming wild plants pretty much everywhere. I never have a problem with them, even when clearing bush or running a tractor nearby. Every morning I go for a hike on the dirt roads in my area and that's where the problem started. At one place below my house I frequently see bees going too and fro, across the road, usually ten to twelve feet off the ground. The forth and most serious encounter with them occurred three days ago. While I have had a single or possibly a double buzz my head, this time it was four to six and I was stung at least four times as I ran away, down the road. In addition to walking, I need to tend the dirt road through there and keep the roadside bush trimmed. Now I'm paranoid.

I searched to try to learn how far from a colony one would be for the aggressive behavior to start and did not come up with a definitive answer. I loaded a pile of rocks in my truck, parked adjacent to where they cross and started heaving rocks into the bush, both above and below the road to see what would happen, with my truck as shelter right there. I was not able to stimulate an attack.

The terrain is pretty much 45 degrees up and 45 degrees down on the roadside and is populated with Guinea Grass and heavy bush which would make a search for the colony difficult to near impossible and recovery of the colony a major operation. Considering the massive collective wisdom on this forum, any suggestions for how I should proceed?

An occasional sting while moving across the flight path wouldn't be the end of the world but I have those fears of me and my dog covered with angry bees, not a way to go.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,456 Posts
welcome to the forum breeze.

i've no experience with this, but here's what i would consider were i to give it a go:

1. buy the best protective gear that i could afford
2. meet up with those who have experience with these bees and join them while they are working their colonies before attempting to work them by yourself
3. locate them in an outyard far enough away from people
4. leave my dog at home
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,400 Posts
Welcome to the source. I have no experience with Africanized honey bees.

Just curious what Island are you from? I have spent a considerable amount of time on St. Thomas and St. Croix
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
The offending colony needs to be located and exterminated. Suggest you call a beekeeper or an exterminator to get rid of them.

Good luck,


Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
XBears

I'm on St. Croix, thanks for asking.

Other replies:

Squarepeg - No desire to tend them, just want to survive them. Dog goes everywhere I go and I won't wear a bee suit while taking a morning hike.
Don S. - Yes, I suppose that's my nuclear option. Traversing a jungled 45 degree mountain slope, whether up or down to do the job is not going to be a walk in the park.

There's no particular objection to Africanized Bees here, if there were we would have to give up on bees. My burning question, for which there may not be an answer is: How far from the colony will they get a defensive attitude. If the answer is anywhere from 5 feet to a 1/4 mile, well there you go. If it were, "never over 100 feet" that would tell me something, for instance.

One thing is clear after repeated encounters. They are not happy with me walking down my road and crossing their flight path, forget a tractor or powered pole saw, in that spot.

Thanks
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>I searched to try to learn how far from a colony one would be for the aggressive behavior to start and did not come up with a definitive answer.

There is no definitive answer. I have seen colonies where 100 yards was too close and they would attack at that distance. Others you can open them p and work them and they won't attack. I went through a lot of hives when I was on St. Croix and most were very nice bees. A couple were a bit testy and one or two were downright mean. They vary a lot. If people would keep culling out the mean ones it would help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Michael

Thanks for telling me what I was beginning to realize on the distance issue. Also, I'm not opposed to pulling a bad tooth but was hoping for a better solution. I think I'm going to have another go at the "rock launcher" to see what I can or don't stir up. If it's just an occasional ornery critter I can take the heat. If I stir up a bee tornado, that's another story!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
You might check out a "Bug Baffler". It is a type of a Ventilated suit. You would probably have to wear a Ball Cap under it or type of hat to hold it off of you head. Check it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
Throwing rocks at them will not make a difference. They responded by the smell and physical
appearance better. It is better if you can use a binocular to observe their flight path to locate
the hive. Sometime it is not one but multiple hives in an area. Protecting yourself and your dog
is a better idea on your walk everyday. See the donkey all suited up is a good idea for your dog.
If you have the ability then widen up the walk way will make them fly higher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can you try bee lining to find the hive?
Should I know exactly what bee lining is? I feel like I should...

Beepro: Gotcha on the Rocks... I'll try my binoculars and try to see where they roost. Suiting up just isn't a very good option, as frequently as I am in that area. I think locating the colony and making it go away is my only option, if they continue to harass.

At some point I'll update to let everyone know how this turns out and thanks for all the replies.

Breeze (Tomas)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
We suited up when we are concern about our safety and not want to get sting by them.
I am not allergic and 6 at one time will not kill me only itches for awhile. But I don't like it.
If you don't like to suit up and cannot widen the road then it means you are not that afraid
of them. Probably you don't like it when they harassed you on your daily hike with your dog.
I say to find this hive and then keep them in your bee yard. Give them a good gentle queen bee
and you will have honey all year long. No need to hire anybody or to kill them off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
770 Posts
Hello breeze and welcome. A couple of suggestions: Get a detailed map of the area and use bee-lining to triangulate the approx. location of the bee nest. During a good rain and/or late afternoon (near sundown) scout out the exact nest location. Get a couple of cans of bee/hornet/wasp spray --- the kind that can shoot a stream about 20 feet. Be fully suited and use a bee-smoker to calm the bees. Spray every entrance/crack/crevice of the nest location. Then using the expanding foam caulking (like "yellow stuff") to seal all entrances/crevices.

Possible alternative: there's a product called Fischer's "Bee Quick". It smells nice (imo), but bees can't stand-it and will do whatever they can to get away from and/or avoid it. Get some and spray a little cloud of it during your walk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Be sure you kill the right one, it would be ashame to kill a docile hive and let the aggressive one live. (You will be selecting for more aggressive bees). Something tells me you will know when you find them.

You could also use a dish of sugar water with a few drop of vinegar, for bee lining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We suited up when we are concern about our safety and not want to get sting by them.
I am not allergic and 6 at one time will not kill me only itches for awhile. But I don't like it.
If you don't like to suit up and cannot widen the road then it means you are not that afraid
of them. Probably you don't like it when they harassed you on your daily hike with your dog.
I say to find this hive and then keep them in your bee yard. Give them a good gentle queen bee
and you will have honey all year long. No need to hire anybody or to kill them off.
Hmmm, thanks but widening a mountain road on a 45 degree angled cross slope is not practical. Suiting up every time I walk on a regular circuit is not a solution and the assumption that I don't have sufficient fear to do either is not helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I enjoyed the article but it is not practical, in my situation. The problem I have is on a 20 foot flat roadway traversing the side of a steep jungle mountain. I mean falling down steep. Waltzing up or down would be more like falling down or climbing up like the second cousin to a cliff.

db_land says, "Possible alternative: there's a product called Fischer's "Bee Quick". It smells nice (imo), but bees can't stand-it and will do whatever they can to get away from and/or avoid it. Get some and spray a little cloud of it during your walk."

Great tip as I would rather let nature take care of itself! I'll see if it helps with my casual intrusion into the flight path before I consider working in the same spot. http://bee-quick.com

I've done additional observation since my initial post and do not believe the colony is close to the road. I am guessing, after observing the flyers that it is at least 50 yards distant and 100-150 feet vertical. There are not any large trees on this slope, junk trees and bush but the geology is known locally as rotten rock with crevasses and overhangs. I've spotted bees here under an eve, otherwise fully exposed to the elements. A colony in a rock overhang or shallow "cave" is likely, considering the AHB strains we have here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update on my St. Croix Bee Problem:

After a couple of more "attacks" which only involved a few bees, I've finally spotted the colony. On the uphill side of the road there is a vertical cut in the rock, about 15 feet high, set back from the road about the same distance. Where this cut meets the slope above, there is a cleft in the rocks and that's where they are. I don't know why it took me so long to spot them, they are quite close to the road?

There is no taming this AHB colony and the combs would be unrecoverable, given their location on a cliff side in a crevice in large rock. My only option (I believe) is eradication.

Not wanting to use heavy duty insecticides, if I can avoid it, my idea is Boric Acid solution in a water balloon which I could lob at the opening and quickly retreat into my vehicle. I use Boric Acid, sugar and water to control ants in my house and it is quite effective. Would this work? My concern is that I would simply pi$$ them off and have an angry mob there for the next week or so. To get at the opening, even if I had a suit, would require a 20' ladder climb.

It boils down to three questions:

1. How to eradicate them without knocking on their door?

2. What will happen even if I eradicate this colony, with their combs and honey still in place. Would the site simply re-populate which would put me back to square one?

3. Whatever I do I assume just before dark when everyone is home would be the correct time to execute my plan?
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
Soapy water is probably best. It will suffocate them when it makes a bubble over their breathing holes (Spiracles). Of course it will make them angry. The advantage to the soap is other bees will rob it out and won't die. I don't even know if boric acid will kill them. I use it on ants, and even put boric acid and jelly out for the ants and never saw the bees show any interest.

Yes, it's likely more bees will move in. But they may be nicer.

The advantage to night is, if it's really dark they won't fly much and, as you say, they will all be home, but if you kill the queen they will be doomed anyway. If you don't they will probably survive anyway.

There are local beekeepers there who would probably do a cut out and take the bees home. Depending on how easy they are to get to and how much work is involved they might even do it for free or they might charge you if it's more work. The agriculture department could probably point you to some beekeepers.

http://www.vifresh.com/contact.php
340-778-0997
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Michael,

Thank you again for the information.

I seriously doubt anyone would be able to dislodge the rock at the top of the small cliff to recover the honey. It might also cause a slide onto the road if more than anticipated "cut lose". It isn't a boulder but more of a crevasse into solid rock face.

I'm going to have a go with dish detergent and water and see how successful that is. If I can reduce or eliminate the colony, plan next is to plug the hole. If I recall you have been here and we have a healthy and thriving bee population, that's for sure. I just don't need an aggressive colony right beside the road where I keep ditch lines open and cut encroaching bush. The last month of walking past them twice every morning has been funny on the one hand, getting chased, but I am concerned about a more serious encounter. They are as aggressive as any bees I've ever encountered.

Believe me, I will have my truck parked just feet away when I make my move!
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top