March and April typically mark the beginning season for bees, a time when the bees will be moving from place to place. Warmer weather and increased outdoor activity leads to the increased possibility of bee encounters.
What kind of bee is it? All bees in the valley are referred to as “bees.” It doesn’t matter if they are European or Africanized. Both bees act in the same manner. They sting they same way and both produce honey. The only trait that is different is the sting potential, but even European bees can produce enough stings to severely injure someone or cause death. All bees should be handled in the same manner regardless of what type they are.
Swarms of bees move from one place to another. When swarming they get tired or it gets too hot for them to fly, so the bees will find a place to rest and get out of the sun. Many times they will hang from tree branches, street signs, fences, sides of buildings or on an object like a fire hydrant. They just want to be left alone and to rest. Because the swarm is not producing honey or caring for young bees, they will not sting unless provoked, and then usually only in extreme cases. Usually they will rest for a few hours or until late in the afternoon or the next morning. Because the bees are harmless, in most cases they are not exterminated. Safety tape is put up to advise the public of the bees and usually they leave and the tape is taken down.
Bee hives, especially those that are wild, are where the danger lies. Bees will build their hive (their home) in places where predators cannot get to them such as inside sprinkler control boxes, street light poles, utility boxes in sidewalks, inside walls of buildings, inside concrete block walls and inside old hollow trees and desert plants. When the bees begin to produce honey (their food supply) and lay eggs for new bees, they will defend their home. When they believe that either their food supply is threatened or someone will kill their young, they will defend their home by stinging. In many cases this may lead to hundreds of stings. Bees do not attack. They are only defending their home. Sometimes noises such as pounding the ground or tools such as lawnmowers or weed eaters will send out vibrations, which makes the bees believe someone is entering the hive to destroy it. They will send out bees to the source of the noise to defend the hive.
Bee hives are dangerous and should bee removed by a professional bee removal service. It should never be done by a civilian. The process requires the use of professional safety gear and clothing. It is the responsibility of the property owner where the bees are located to have removed if needed. The City of Las Vegas doe not remove bees on private property. Residents should not try to exterminate the bees themselves. Most people do not have the necessary safety equipment to remove bees. Past attempts of people trying to exterminate bees themselves have led to serious injury and death in some cases in the United States. This is extremely dangerous and you are advised to leave this to a professional exterminator.
This article is a news release from the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue office. For more information, please contact PIO Timothy R. Szymanski (702) 303 – 2993