More Africanized bees discovered in Dougherty County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More Africanized bees discovered in Dougherty County

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  More Africanized bees have hives in Dougherty County.

Tests by the state revealed two more bee colonies are the Africanized variety. The state set several traps after 73-year old Curtis Davis killed by hundreds of bee stings when his a bulldozer hit a hive on Williamsburg Road. Both the new Africanized bee hives were found in managed colonies, not far from the colony that attacked Davis. The state is still waiting for more test results as experts decide what to do to educate people on the risks of these aggressive bees.

The results on sampled bees following the fatal Africanized bee attack in October are in and for at least one Dougherty County Commissioner they're disturbing.

"I've heard of these bees over time, I just never thought they'd be here in Dougherty County, just never thought they'd be here," said Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines.

With two more colonies testing positive for the Africanized variety on Honeysuckle Drive, not far from Williamsburg Road where 73 year old Curtis Davis was killed, its enough for the community to be concerned.

"We want the public to know, just be aware, I use that word a lot, but be aware and be cautious," said Beekeeper Dale Richter.

The Africanized variety swarm more frequently, they've very defensive and once they attack, the bees may chase you for a quarter mile. The good news is with freezing temperatures, bees are dormant right now and not traveling far from their hives, giving officials from the University of Georgia, The Department of Agriculture, and local bee keepers time to manage the bees.

"We are working on programs where they can be taken care of and managed," said Richter.

In fact the state will rely on bee keepers as their best defense to the Africanized bees. "They can watch their bees and know if something is occurring and that will in a manner of speaking keep the Africanized bees out and from taking over," said Richter.

The two colonies on Honeysuckle Drive where the bees tested positive have been destroyed. The state is still waiting on results from more samples taken in the region and the county has pledge to learn all they can about these bees.

"This is something extraordinary, this is something new for us but, we've got to stay on top of it," said Gaines.

Keeping public safety a top priority, to ensure what happened to Curtis Davis doesn't happen to anyone else. Agriculture Commission Tommy Irvin says it's still unclear how the Africanized bees arrived in Dougherty County.

The South Dougherty County Community League, neighbors who lived near Curtis Davis will hold a meeting Tuesday night to learn more about the bees and what to watch for in their neighborhood.


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