Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Looking for that last minute holiday gift? Give the gift of Honey Bees!

Are you doing some last minute Christmas or Holiday gift shopping? 

Have someone on your list who already has everything? Don't know where to turn?

Well, consider giving the gift of honey bees... no, I'm not suggesting you buy a colony of honey bees, hive box, smoker. While that would be a great gift for a special bee removal entomologist (who will remain unnamed..), it could be unwieldy. After all, just HOW would you wrap a honey bee hive box and put it under a Christmas Tree???? hmmm...that has bad news written ALL over that!!!

Here's the idea:  You purchase a share of honey bees for needy small scale farmers in places such as Africa or Central and South America, and donate them in the name of your gift recipient. Honey Bee cultivation requires very little space, provide a rich sugar source, and can provide needed income for struggling families. And you don't even need to know a thing about honey bees, as there are reputable aid organizations that handle everything. Oxfam and Heifer.org are 2 organizations that we here at http://ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com support.

For as little as $18, you can help a family become self sufficient. Go here to check them out:

Heifer.org honey bee gift page:
Heifer.org honey bee donation page

Oxfam America Honey Bee Gift page

(oxfam site appears to be down..hope it comes back!)

Happy Holidays

Richard Martyniak

Monday, November 1, 2010

A reader asks: "Where can I see a copy of Florida's bee removal regulation?

Dear Cindy,

In Florida there is no "Bee Removal Regulation", per se.

Honey Bee colony removal from structures or landscapes in Florida is considered to be pest control, and as such, is regulated by Fla. State Statutes 482 & 5E-14. Here's a link to Ch 482.

Briefly, Ch 482 requires that one must possess a current pest control license to inspect for, remove, eradicate, or otherwise mitigate honey bee colonies in or around structures or landscapes. Here are some of the important parts of the statute, defining pest control:


“Pest” means an arthropod, wood-destroying organism, rodent, or other obnoxious or undesirable living plant or animal organism.

“Pest control” includes:

The use of ANY method or device or the application of any substance to prevent, destroy, repel, mitigate, curb, control, or eradicate any pest in, on, or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental;

The identification of or inspection for infestations or infections in, on, or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental;

The use of any pesticide, economic poison, or mechanical device for preventing, controlling, eradicating, identifying, inspecting for, mitigating, diminishing, or curtailing insects, vermin, rodents, pest birds, bats, or other pests in, on, or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental;

So, the above definition clearly states that honey bees, in and around structures are considered pests, and also includes nearly any activity intended to solve a pest honey bee infestation as pest control.

Or in other words, a beekeeper,in the process of removing a colony of pest honey bees from a structure or landscape, is performing pest control!

Just arriving and identifying the insect colony as Honey Bees, Yellow Jackets, or whatever, is pest control. And because mechanical devices are included in the pest control statute definition, once one uses common beekeeping tools such as bee vacuums, bee brushes, sugar water sprays, smokers, hive tools and the myriad of other tools commonly used in bee removals, he or she has ventured far into pest control, as clearly defined by State Statute. 

So how does one perform bee removal legally here in the state of Florida? Well, one must work for a licensed pest control firm. That means that one is trained by the firm's Certified Pest Operator, is paid salary by the firm, drives that firm's truck, uses the firm's tools, equipment and supplies,  and is covered by the commercial insurances including liability and workmen's compensation.

And, in order to secure and maintain a pest control license, one must pass several hurdles: Work under a Certified pest control operator for 3 years as a licensed technician; pass a certification exam; Maintain minimum business liability insurance; take annual Certified Educational Units, (CEU's); and maintain annual operator & business licenses, which are administered by the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control. Oh, and one cannot be a convicted felon! The Bureau has authority to fine, remove license privileges and arrest violators and illegal operators, all of which affords the State's citizens significant protections.

What are the penalties for performing illegal bee removal Pest Control?

(1) It is unlawful to solicit, practice, perform, or advertise in pest control except as provided by this chapter.
(2) A person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

So, you see that the State takes this very seriously. And, don't you think you should too? Do you Really want someone servicing your home that doesn't care about the law??? I certainly am very careful about who I let in my home!!! You should bee too!!

The Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control has a page that summarizes the legaleze very well. See it here. To check your bee removal provider's pest control certification status, you can go to this Bureau site here. Click on the "applicators" button to check on individuals, or on the "companies" button to check the status of firms.

If you witness unlicensed pest control, you can report it to your state inspector ( go here to find your region's inspector), or fill out this complaint form and send it to the address included within.

As you can see, there are no exemptions for beekeepers that do not possess a pest control license, to allow honey bee removals. In fact, the Chief Apiarist for the State of Florida's Department of Agriculture does not recommend live removals of any kind in or near structures, and only recommends that trained, licensed pest control operators eradicate pest honey bee colonies that are found near people or pets.  Why? Primarily because of the Public health risk from Africanized Honey Bees. This race of Honey Bee is spreading further and further throughout the State and can cause serious injury or death because of it's super-defensiveness.

Beekeeping IS regulated by State Statute, however, the intent of these beekeeping regulations is to prevent spread of bee disease and unwanted subspecies of honey bees,  NOT to protect humans!.

The keeping of honey bees or the transport of such insects, is regulated by Fla. State Statute Ch. 586. Note that this statute does not regulate bee removals, as bee removal is considered pest control and regulated by Ch. 482 & 5E-14.

Beekeepers only have to complete a registration process, submit to one annual inspection and pay a small fee. There are no beekeeping certification processes, no minimum insurances required, no annual CEU requirements or any other requirements under beekeeping regulations to protect the citizens of Florida against improper bee removals. Should a citizen suffer structural damages, physical injury or death resulting from a beekeeper-removal bee sting incident, there are no protections afforded, and lawsuit would be the only means of remedy. Little solace indeed, if the provider has few or no assets.

So, if one is performing bee colony removals in the State of Florida, and does not possess a valid pest control license, that person is performing illegally, according to Florida State Statute. Possession of a Beekeeping Registration does not grant license to perform bee colony removals, no matter what beekeepers may tell you, wish, or otherwise desire.

We possess the certifications, registrations, insurances, experience and education required to perform proper stinging insect removals in the State of Florida. Call us at 800-343-5317 or visit our website at http://ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com .

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist
The Buzzkillers, LLC
1-800-343-5317 -or- 321-206-5100
Email me!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bee Hive TetherBall: What NOT to do when bees are stinging you!

This clip of the upcoming Jackass 3d: Beehive tetherball (opens October 15), is a great example of what NOT to do when bees or other stinging insects are stinging oneself.

Dave England starts waving, jumping up and down as bees start stinging him. Steve-O just stands, not moving his hands, not screaming, and evidently enjoying Dave's antics. check out the video:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Coast New's Ken Amaro will help perform a Jacksonville Bee Removal!

Sara Hatt's dog suffered one sting from a honey bee, and incurred over $500 in Vet bills, and suffered significant trauma. That's when she first noticed the bee colony, located about 25 feet above her backyard in a pine tree.

Fearing for her dog's health (and her lawn crew, neighbors and herself), she called the city for help. No help.

She called several pest control companies. No help.

She emailed "Billy the Exterminator". No help.

Enter Ken Amaro, consumer advocate reporter for First Coast News. Ken contacted us, and we will solve Sara's bee dilemma this Monday. Just call us, we'll Help!!

Ken's Video is here:

See Ken's story Here.

We'll post more pics and vids on Monday after this Jacksonville bee removal. Look for Ken to get suited up and ride the lift with us!!

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jackass 3D The Movie: BeeHive TetherBall

Jackass 3D is due to hit theaters next week, Oct 15, 2010 and we were forwarded a trailer that features one of the segments titled "Beehive TetherBall".

I've embedded the YouTube video. What are your thoughts? Is this exploitation of Honey Bees? Or is this just boys having fun and no big deal?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Orlando's WESH 2 reports on us fixing an unlicensed beekeepers mistake

We recieved a call this morning from a man who was frantic. A beekeeper spent a couple days performing an Orlando Honey Bee Removal from the foreclosed home next to him, and succeeded only in aggravating the bees so much, that they were stinging this client's dog, son and plenty of neighbors.

WESH-2 news covered us rescuing this neighborhood from these very, very defensive honey bees. It's unknown if they are Africanized Honey Bees ( Killer Bees) but they certainly were angry enough to qualify, just on our observations. Here's a link to a slideshow that was posted on WESH's site. They are running the story on the 11PM news tonight.

WESH beekeeper slideshow

What's particularly unfortunate here are a few things:

1. The listing realtor hired a beekeeper to do the removal. Beekeepers are not allowed to remove honeybees from structures and most landscapes here in Florida, unless they are also Licensed Pest Control Operators. As it's a lengthy and expensive process to obtain and maintain a PC license, most beekeepers who perform bee removals operate outside of the law. The realtor essentially washed his hands of it, stating that he's not a beekeeper and can't do anything. Well, he hired the bloke, who caused this mess, he's responsible, along with the beekeeper..

2. The beekeeper left plenty of hive material lying around, and possibly used wasp spray to control the bees. Bad juju, almost guaranteed to aggravate honey bees.

3. The neighbor's wife is so allergic, that one sting can threaten her life. Most beekeepers get so used to stings, that they poo-poo the severity of sting allergies. One sting can cause a hypersensitive person to physically stop breathing in 2 minutes. Just last week, a pest control operator died, after receiving only 3 stings.  Think this is not serious stuff? Think again.

4. The neighbor's dog was attacked by multiple bees on 2 occasions. The dog was so traumatized, he vomited and had diarehhea. Pets and horses are even more susceptible to Bee and wasp stings than humans. It's quite possible that this pet has suffered internal injury because of the venom's effects.

So, once again, we are faced with improper bee removal in Orlando, and lives have been put at risk. Folks, please, please please, don't hire a beekeeper to perform structural removals in Florida. We have loads of African Honey Bees here, and it's just too risky in many cases to attempt live removals.

Contact us here at We are the experts, as we have well respected Entomologists, Licensed Pest Control Operators and Beekeepers on staff. Call us at 800-343-5317

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist

Monday, September 6, 2010

Free Hornet Nest Removal

FREE Hornet Nest Removal
(Note: this promotion is EXPIRED. stay tuned, as we may offer it again!!)
Yes, you read the title correctly, we are offering Free Hornet Nest Removals, no strings attached. We are participating in a research trial,  and are looking for suitable candidates for this trial.  However, there are conditions to be met, in order for these nests to be included in the free hornet removals. And some exclusions exist as well. Should your nest not qualify, we certainly can perform removals at a reasonable charge.

Here are the conditions:
  1. The nest must be located in one of the following counties: Marion, Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Putnam, Clay, Bradford, Union, Lafayette, Suwannee, and the southern portions of Columbia and Baker Counties. Please see map below highlighting areas covered.
  2. The nest must be active. (containing live adult hornets, at the minimum. Live immatures are ok, too.)
  3. The nest must be Bald-Faced Hornets, scientific name is Dolichovespula maculata .  Please see representative photos below. Other species of stinging insects are not included in this program, including Yellow Jackets ( Vespula spp.), Paper Wasps ( Polistes spp. ), Honey Bees ( Apis mellifera ) or any other stinging insects. We can perform removals for a reasonable fee on these other insects.
  4. The nest must be accessible and removable by normal means, either at an accessible height, or with a 12 foot stand-alone ladder. (usually no taller than 20 feet, and able to remove the nest intact. Shredded nests or pieces of nest are useless for this program)
  5. We must be allowed to use insecticide. EPA labeled insecticide will be used. If it's illegal to use insecticide at the site,  or you or the property owner/management will not allow insecticide use, the free removal cannot be included in this program. 
  6. We reserve the right to exclude any nests, at our discretion, for the free hornet removal program. 
What we are looking for:
These are some photos of hornets and their nests. They are made of a paper-like substance that the hornets make from chewed bark & other cellulose containing materials, plus saliva. Notice the banded appearance.

Hornet Nest

Hornet Nest

Hornet Nest

Hornet (Dolichovespula)

What we are NOT looking for:

Honey Bee nests including External nests
Honey Bee
Yellow Jacket nests
Yellow Jacket Nests
Yellow Jackets
Paper Wasp Nests
Paper Wasp Nest
Paper Wasp
Mud Dauber Nest
Mud Dauber
 Again, for the free removals, we only want Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nests that are active. If you have any of these other nest, as shown above, we will be happy to remove them for you at a reasonable fee.

WHERE we will perform free Hornet removals:
Free Hornet Removal area

 Counties and Cities we will remove Hornets for free:

  • Marion: Ocala, Silver Springs, Reddick
  • Levy: Bronson, Cedar Key
  • Dixie: Cross City
  • Gilchrist: Trenton
  • Alachua: Gainesville, High Springs, Alachua, Waldo
  • Putnam: Palatka
  • Clay: Green Cove Springs, Orange Park
  • Bradford: Starke
  • Union: Lake Butler
  • Baker: Macclenny
  • Columbia: Lake City
  • Suwannee: Live Oak
  • Lafayette: Mayo

 We will remove hornets in other cities/towns/unincorporated areas located in the above counties.

Give us a call at 352-870-0346 , 1-800-343-5317 Or simply send us an email here, and ask us about FREE HORNET REMOVAL. We'll be happy to discuss your nest and let you know if it qualifies for this research program.

(Note: this promotion is EXPIRED. stay tuned, as we may offer it again!!)


Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist

Friday, September 3, 2010

Killer Bees and Horses: Fatal consequences

Earlier this week, two horses were euthanized after a honey bee attack in Arizona. One other horse was seriously injured. In June of this year, two horses perished after another bee attack in California.

Reading the fire chief's description of this tragic sting event sends chills through me, as we've encountered similar situations, and in most cases, could have been prevented with proper vigilance and action.

Why the owner of the horse facility would knowingly leave active honey bee colonies in a working barn leaves me scratching my head, AND, this is in KILLER BEE territory!! (I normally don't use the term "killer bee" alone, but in this case, I think it's warranted).

I encounter this attitude daily here in Florida, where we have an active and growing KILLER BEE population. We are seeing them move into Florida's prime horse country, near Ocala.( Check this blog post out from just last week, right near horse operations).

Clients often believe that since Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been affecting honey bee populations here in the U.S. , any wild honey bee colony found should be left alone, in order to boost bee populations. While it's true, CCD has reduced bee populations, the affected bees are only in managed bee operations, those kept by beekeepers, from huge commercial operations down to hobby beekeepers. 

Feral (wild) bee populations are not affected by CCD, and are actually exploding here in Florida.

This is so important, let's see it again: Feral bee populations are not affected by CCD, and are exploding here in Florida.

Why such the increase?  KILLER BEES!  Yes, African Honey Bees are a vigorous race of bees, well suited for life in the subtropical clime we find here in Florida. And, they likely have evolved with pathogens & pests that most researchers suspect are a probable cause of CCD. So, it's natural that this vigorous, well adapted bee would do very well in Florida.

So it begs the question. Why would one leave a feral bee colony in a building that houses people, pets or animals? 

I think it's largely due to ignorance, and this ongoing belief, strongly held by most, that bees are naturally gentle, and only sting when provoked. While it's mostly true that managed honey bees are normally docile, and attack with maybe a hundred or so guards when some kind of disturbance occurs, Killer Bees ( African Honey Bees or AHB) can react much, much differently. Killer bees are wild, or feral, and the hyper-defensiveness can't be bred out of them. An AHB colony can react with provocation as light as a strong breeze or branch landing on it's colony, which means they can send out thousands of guards, all looking for anything that moves, breathes or has a heat signature. It's common for AHB attack victims to be unable to yell HELP!, because bees fill up their mouth and throat, and suffocation is a real risk. 

So, it's up to us experts to educate the public, especially those that are at greater risk, including equine operations, about the dangers of these 'new breed' of bees. African Bee infestations can be managed properly, greatly reducing the chances of a sting event, but it takes a new attitude, and working with stinging insect specialists. Beekeepers and standard pest control operators are ill-equipped to control these infestations. (Why not? see our post)

We are educating citizens, companies, utilities, firefighters, police and any interested group about the African Honey Bee and issues surrounding it. Our entomologists give presentations and offer consultations to help you manage this threat and we have specialists that remedy infestations daily. Give us a call at 800.343.5317, send us an email, or visit our website to schedule a presentation or for more info and help.

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc. Entomologist
helpful links:

Our website

University of Florida's African Honey Bee Extension & Education Program

The African Honey Bee FAQ

Frequently asked questions about African honey bees, from FDACS - Division of Plant Industry
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services - Division of Plant Industry

Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab

University of Florida's Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab
The official bee keeping association in the State of Florida

Is your Bee removal company or indivdual licensed?

Structural or Landscape bee removal requires a pest control certification from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture. You can check by Applicator, or Company here. Don't let yourself fall prey to an unlicensed service provider!

Friday, August 20, 2010

In or Near Orlando, Fla.? Come join us for Natl. Honey Bee Appreciation Day! Sat. Aug 21, 2010

Tommorow, Saturday August 21, 2010 is designated National Honey Bee Appreciation Day.

Come join us as we participate in Orange Blossom Beekeepers Association's Natl. Honey Bee Appreciation Day located at the Orange County Extension Office. The club will have honey, candles, and other products of the hive for sale. Informational exhibits too. Hours are Saturday, August 21, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com will have Entomologists & beekeepers available and various Hymenopteran (bee and wasp) nests, videos of bee removals and information about feral African Honey Bees.

The Orange County Extension Office is located at:

6021 S. Conway Rd. Orlando, FL 32812

here's a google map:

View Larger Map

Orange Blossom's website is Orange Blossom's website is here

Our website is here

feel free to email me or call 321-206-5100 for info

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Need Bee Removal? DON'T Call a BeeKeeper!!

Yeah, sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it, after all you have a lovely colony of honey bees in your house soffit, or wall or even a tree in your yard. Call a beekeeper, they've got to want my bees, and are the experts, right?

Well, hold your horses pardner...Things are changing here in Florida and it's not as simple as you might think, so here are some reasons to reconsider.

1. Killer Bees: Over 70% of feral honey bees in Florida possess African genetics. African bees were introduced into Florida several years ago, probably through our sea ports via coastal island freighters, quickly taking up residence in the port cities of Tampa, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Yeah, Killer Bees are spreading throughout the state, and because of a very defensive nature, the state Apiary inspection office has deemed it illegal to keep African bees in Florida. These bees can cause very significant stinging incidents leading to fatalities...it's serious stuff, folks!

2. The bees are OK: I know this is hard to wrap your head around, but it's true...Honey bees are doing just fine, and actually exploding in numbers. (here in sunny Florida, anyway). See #1. The African Honey Bee is largely immune to pests plaguing our managed honey bee. Estimated colony increases are 2-800% above European honey bee colony numbers, per area.

3. Consumer Protections: Beekeepers are not certified or licensed. Billy-Bob Beekeeper may have started beekeeping yesterday, and claims that he is an experienced beekeeper. He screws things up, causing damage to your house, and the bees are still there. What regulatory office do you call to file a complaint or request an inspector to help you out. That's right, you are on your own, because all it takes to become a registered beekeeper is $10 and a heartbeat, and I'm not so sure about the cardiac part!

Experienced beekeepers; those that are in beekeeping for a living and not just a weekend hobby, do not perform live removals, as it's too risky for them---the liability risk is too high & the recovered bees almost always don't work well in commercial apiaries. The disease risk is too great or the bees just don't perform well.

4. Insurance..I don't need stinkin' Insurance.....Beekeepers do not have Insurance. Well, Billy-Bob Beekeeper MIGHT have livestock insurance for his bee hives, but you know that wouldn't cover damages to your house, when he cuts through the water supply and your Persian wool carpet is ruined. Nor does he have Workmen's Compensation insurance, so you are holding his medical bills when he falls off the slippery, honey soaked ladder and breaks his collar bone and is put on permanent disability. Think this doesn't happen??? um, yeah, right.....

5. And the Experts say what?: The State of Florida's Apiary Inspection office is recommending AGAINST LIVE BEE REMOVALS, and recommends ERADICATION of feral honey bee colonies located near humans or animals. See #1.

6. And this Expert agrees too: The University of Florida's Apiary Entomologist is recommending AGAINST LIVE BEE REMOVALS, and recommends ERADICATION of feral honey bee colonies located near humans or animals. See #1. (sensing a trend yet, or do you want to continue...?)

7. The Law says.. Florida State law requires anyone doing structural honey bee removal or eradication to carry pest control certification. See State Statutes, Ch 482. A licensed pest control operator that also is a registered beekeeper CAN perform live bee removals, and we DO perform live bee removals, but we are very selective, because of the following...

8. The untold truth about live bee removals: Most live removals are unsuccessful; Most relocated colonies suffer mortality within the first 90 days. Try as we might, they just don't take. The transfer can be difficult, and provides opportunity for pests and disease to take hold. Or some colonies just insist on leaving our hive boxes. 20% survival is an optimistic figure for long term survival of the colony genetics.

9. Economically speaking:
It's just not worth it: Bees that are not kept by beekeepers are considered feral. I like to call them ' Mutts', as we have no clue whether they will exhibit behaviors that are beneficial for beekeeping, including gentleness, honey production, disease resistance, swarming rates, and many other factors. Also add the high rate of transmissable disease that feral bees have, these are diseases that can wipe out an entire apiary!.

I frequently buy starter colonies of "thoroughbreds" from bee breeders for about $75.00.. These are bees that I can count on being good and safe for my bee yards. I figure the mutt bees are worth at most $15 ($75 X a 20% success rate). Live bee removals can take several hours, working in hot beesuits and in very hot Florida temps...How long will YOU work for a possible $15, while extending risk if the mutt bees sting someone, or you are sued for damages caused?

10. You've worked hard for your assets:
Sting risk liability. Combine the above considerations, and property owners, managers are placing their assets at significant risk. Bees don't like us relocating them somewhere else. We in the bee removal industry, are used to taking stings, but all it takes, is one errant sting to your allergic neighbor, or passerby on the sidewalk across your street and POW, instant lawsuit. Do you think the jury will have compassion when you were hiring unlicensed providers, against the recommendations of the state regulators and University apiary entomologists. Didn't think so either....

In Closing:
Listen, we are experts at this, and we will perform live bee removals properly, but there are considerations. We came into this the right way.. University of Florida entomology education, providing extension education to Florida's first responders and citizens, created the State African Bee education program, hold certifications and proper insurances and are considered leaders in this industry. We also are enthusiastic supporters of beekeeping in Florida. Call or email us. We'll solve your bee problems, correctly and economically, and you can have confidence that you can stay bee-free!

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist
Jonathan Simkins, B.Sc., Entomologist

Monday, August 9, 2010

Our very own Entomologist, Jonathan Simkins to be on Bay News 9

One of our very own Entomologists, Jonathan Simkins, will be featured on Tampa/St. Pete's Bay News 9 tommorow morning, Aug. 10, 2010, talking about the recent African bee attack in Safety Harbor. 3 Tree surgeons were attacked, one seriously, and quite a bit of mis-information has been making the rounds in traditional and social media. Jonathan, a stinging insect entomologist, will provide accurate information about the growing African ("Killer Bee") Honey Bee issue here in Florida, providing tips on how to prevent serious situations.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 August 2010: 3 Pinellas County Tree Surgeons stung by African Honey Bees

An arborist suffered hundreds of bee stings in Pinellas County, Fla., last Saturday, and is fortunate to be alive. This is a story that is repeated more and more often, as African ( Killer ) honey bees increase their numbers throughout the state. It's interesting for us, as Entomologists teaching about this defensive stinging insect, because we see attitudes changing in terms of location and time.

When I give talks to tree folks in North Florida, most of the guys (girls too, but I speak in the familiar inclusive way here), tell me that honey bees cause them little if any problems. "They buzz around a little, and a can of wasp spray will take care of them", is a common statement. Well, things-are-a-changin' as this story shows. African bees will attack en-masse, and that can of wasp-freeze will only set them off even more. Oh, and unless that arborist has a pest control license, it's illegal for him (or her) to spray pesticide. That should perk the ears of your insurance company if a sting event occurs on your property!

Excerpt from 10 Connect breaking news story. We were on scene and will report later

Safety Harbor -- A group of tree trimmers were attacked Saturday afternoon after cutting down a branch with an Africanized, or what many refer to as a "killer", bee colony inside.

It happened in the front yard of a home off 3rd Street South in Safety Harbor.

The worker near the top of the tree was stung at least 150 times, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Two other workers were also stung trying to help him reach the ground and get away from the attacking bees.

A fourth tree trimmer was not hurt.

The three injured workers were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to the sheriff's office.

A beekeeper on scene estimates there were around 50,000 bees in the tree.

10News has learned the names of the three men taken to Mease Countryside Hospital are Ralph St. Peter of Hudson, Anthony Cimillo of Holiday, and Michael Foster of Weeki Wachee.

St. Peter will be kept overnight, while Cimillo and Foster have been released.

You'll hear from them tonight on 10News at 11.
Adam Freeman, 10 News

And the August 8, TBO report excerpt:

He had bees on his arms, legs, face, nose and ears. And when Ralph St. Peter opened his mouth to scream, the bees piled in his mouth. Bees went up his shorts and down his shirt.

"My body was totally encased in bees," St. Peter said, recounting co-workers' description. "You couldn't actually see my body. You just saw the frame of my body."

St. Peter was discharged from Mease Countryside Hospital on Sunday, a day after being stung by more than 500 Africanized honeybees. He still has some pain and discomfort, but he'll return Monday to cut down the oak where the bees had a hive.

"I'd like to take a couple of days off, but I can't afford it," St. Peter said. "If times were a little better, I'd take a day or two off. But it's not."

The Weeki Wachee man was working with a crew Saturday afternoon cutting down three trees at a Safety Harbor home.

A crew leader with Johnson Lawn and Landscape of Tarpon Springs, St. Peter was cutting down a limb when a swarm of Africanized honeybees attacked him.

He tried to repel down the tree, but the rope got stuck on some limbs. The bees came from a hollow log that was 8 feet long and 24 inches wide.

Two of St. Peter's co-workers ran off, but Mike Foster stayed to help. Foster got a knife to St. Peter, who was able to cut the rope and free himself after being stuck in the tree for two to three minutes. Foster was stung 75 times on his hands while trying to get the bees off him, St. Peter said.

"(Today) it feels like I had a run in with a whole bunch of jellyfish," St. Peter said Sunday. "That's how it feels today. Yesterday, it was downright terrible."

St. Peter, 44, has been in the tree business for 30 years and has been a certified arborist for 20 years. He has been stung in the past but has never faced anything like he experienced Saturday.

A domestic honeybee will send two or three bees to attack a person, and the rest of the bees will take off with the queen, St. Peter said. Saturday, the Africanized honeybees came as a swarm.

St. Peter said a professional exterminator was hired to get rid of the bees, so he feels confident returning to finish the job. (yes, this should have been done BEFORE tree work--RMM)

In the future, St. Peter said he'll be cautious when working a hollow tree.

"It definitely won't happen again," St. Peter said.

Reporter José Patiño Girona can be reached at (813) 259-7659.

Nothing to take lightly folks.

Richard Martyniak

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rogue Honey Bee Swarms?

13 July 2010


Does that word instill fear in you? Does your heart race, heightened by 10 thousand bees or more, buzzing around, maybe even darkening the sky? Olivia de Havilland nightmares?

Well, for myself and other Mellitophiles (Bee-Lovers), encountering a wild swarm normally evokes feelings of awe and warm fuzzy feelings. After all, a swarm is traditionally viewed as a gentle entity, just looking to find a place to build a home and thrive. A swarm event occurs when a mother colony divides, sending the queen and thousands of her children, off to build a new colony in a new location. Normally, with proper care, a swarm is not very defensive, and can be caught, to be relocated in a hive box. All good, right?

NOT! This year 2010 we've encountered several swarms that have attacked us full on, and in one case our technician suffered hundreds of stings before he could get away. These are Africanized Bee swarm traits, and these experiences have really opened our eyes. We've heard of this behavior, but have not previously encountered such ferocious swarms, especially in Central Florida, north of Orlando. Please folks, treat bees with respect, and bee prepared if you should try to take on a swarm. Or better yet , give us a call!! 800-343-5317

...(photo of a swarm I captured in Jacksonville, FL.--- a gentle swarm )