Bees stop traffic, raise concerns -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bees stop traffic, raise concerns

A swarm of bees along a busy Albany road was enough to stop traffic and raised concerns.

Warmer temperatures have bees on the move and the state is still sampling every colony they find for deadly Africanized bees. Dougherty County is the only place in Georgia where the more aggressive, killer bees have been confirmed.

In October, 73-year-old Curtis Davis died after being stung hundreds of times by a swarm of the angry Africanized bees.

Hundred of bees swarmed on a tree branch in the front yard of Ashley Digital Business Solutions. Neighbors listening carefully could hear the hum of the swarm. The bees seen in a dryer vent next door at Heart and Hands of Albany drew attention when they moved.

"It was a black swarm, people were stopping out by the road, just looking at the mass of bees," said Millie Dunlap, of Hearts & Hands of Albany.

Master beekeeper Dale Richter is getting a dozen calls a week from those who've seen swarms like this one and are concerned.

"We're trying to sample every colony every swarm that we see and send it in to the state," said Richter.

With a couple clips of the branch, he removed this swarm, putting them in a Rubbermaid container to be tested and relocated.

"This is strictly a group of bees there's no comb there or anything else, this a group that's left the colony to start a new colony," said Richter.

"I was glad to see them contained, they're very good for pollination, but they don't need to be in an area where we have people," said Dunlap.

Especially after what happened to Curtis Davis in October, losing his life to Africanized bees. Emergency officials caution everyone about calling them unless it's an emergency.

"If you're being attacked by a swarm of bees, then yes that's an emergency we ask that you call 911 and we'll provide assistance, but if you just happen to notice some bees have landed on a bush in the back yard or they're in your shed or inside your house," said Jim Vaught, EMA Deputy Director.

Then that's a nuisances and you're asked to call pest control or a master beekeeper to deal with the situation.

The Albany's fire department recently purchased three bee hoods for each of their trucks in case fire fighters are forced to deal with an emergency involving bees, but they best advice they can give everyone is, if you see them, keep your distance.

Emergency Officials caution the bees can sense vibrations from power machinery like lawnmowers. They don't like fast movement, colors, or the carbon monoxide coming off our breath. To avoid getting stung you should just leave them alone.

State entomologist are coming to Albany Thursday to investigate a group of bees found within a mile of where Curtis Davis was killed in October by Africanized bees. Neighbors on Williamsburg Road say they've been staying indoors since the bees were discovered coming in and out of a shed at 1408 Williamsburg Road.

Lula Ruth Maxie owns the property and says her lawn man found the bees last Friday afternoon. Her neighbor Willie Pearl Harris has been making phone calls since then trying to get someone to remove the bees.

"I called 311 and she gave me a lot of numbers and I called every one of them and nobody contacted me, the firemen called me and said that they couldn't come out," said Willie Pearl Harris, a concerned neighbor.

Officials say state entomologist are dealing with any calls for bees close to where Davis was killed on Williamsburg Road. In addition to the colony that attacked Davis, more Africanized bees were found in two managed colonies not far away on Honeysuckle Drive.

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