Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Africanized Honeybees in Belize

Africanized Honeybee in Belize.

The house next door to us has been abandoned and vacant for some time now.  They have been trying to sell it.  We noticed several months ago that we kept seeing bees flying around and on the ground.  The guy that owns the house we rent had gotten someone to go next door and check out the bee situation and they removed part of the hive.  It had not been a problem any more until lately we started  noticing a lot bees again.  Last week Bill was out in the yard doing some cleaning and yardwork and he was attacked by a swarm of bees.  He was stung on the face and ear numerous times.  Luckily for Bill he is obviously not allergic to them and other than some minor discomfort and pulling out some stingers, he had no swelling or anyhing.  I on the other hand am allergic to bees and wasps, so I have had to stay out of the yard completely. 

Virtually all honeybees also known as "killer bees" in Belize and throughout Central America are now Africanized.   The sting of the Africanized honeybee normally does not hurt any more so than that of a regular bee, but the hives can be very large and aggressive.  They say if you are attacked get under a building or in the water.  The bees generally will not follow you.

As of 2002, the Africanized honeybees had spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina and north to Central America, Trinidad, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida.  They have since been found in Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia.

Since the first time someone came out about the bees, the house has now been sold.  So the new owners were contacted and said they would send some one out to take care of the bee situation again.

After about two weeks, we had Sam from the Belize Town Counsel show up all dressed in his bee garb from head to toe and was ready to take on the Africanized Honeybees of Belize.  Sam brought one helper with him.  He was the guy that went in with the smoke.  They were going to use the smoke to calm the bees before going in and removing the hive.

Sam, dressed and ready to get some bees.


After the smoke was blown in near the hive, Sam went in to get the bees out.  Sam said the hive was about 4 to 5 feet tall.  I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that.  But sorry I was not going near those bees or the bee hive.  A short time later Sam came out of the house and he said the job was done.  Sam told us there was not much honey in the hive only eggs.  He said with all of the rain we have had the last few weeks that the bees had not been able to get out of the hive and outside to eat and therefore were having to eat the honey. 

This smoker which burned wood chips that created the smoke used to calm the bees.

Squeezing the bellows on the smoker makes the smoke come out.  When bees are frightened they send out a special scent to alarm the other bees to attack. When a beekeeper uses smoke on a beehive, the bees are no longer able to smell the alarm scent so they keep on working in the hive.

Unfortunately Sam had to kill the bees.  He really hated that but he had to this time.  He said they make some really good honey too.

What do honeybees eat besides honey?  Well I didn't know, so I thought I would google it.  Don't you just love google.  You can find the answers to anything there and this is what I found.  Bees eat nectar and pollen when they are outdoors.  The nectar mixes with enzymes within the bees stomach to produce the honey.   Sam also told us that the male honeybees do not have stingers and therefore cannot sting.  The female worker bees are the only ones that can sting.  Go figure, us females get the bad rap for everything. 

Honey had dripped all over Sam's shoes.

Sam said the bees were not being very aggressive this time.  Here are the hives they took down.  There were still somes bees buzzing around.

Sam's mask he wore before going in the house to get the bees out.

Sam's gloves.  He said they stung through his gloves and one stung him on the hand and another on the knee.  Sam said he likes to be stung, it builds up his immunity to them.

You could still find a few bees here left on Sam's clothing.

The house where the bees were.  This home was a foreclosure but has been sold now and they should start working on the rehab of it soon we hope. 


  1. I kept bees here in the States for some time, but there is no way I would keep AFBs. I know all throughout Central and South America they do because they basically have no choice. Brave souls those beekeepers are!

    1. Sam was a brave soul and he seemed to enjoy his job.


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