Year passes since deadly bee attack - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Year passes since deadly bee attack

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73-year-old Curtis Davis died after being stung hundreds of times when he disrupted the hive on Williamsburg Road. 73-year-old Curtis Davis died after being stung hundreds of times when he disrupted the hive on Williamsburg Road.

One year ago Tuesday a Dougherty County man was killed by Georgia's first known colony of Africanized bees.   73-year-old Curtis Davis died after being stung hundreds of times when he disrupted the hive on Williamsburg Road.      

Since then, two other colonies of killer bees have been confirmed in Dougherty and Decatur counties.       

The state has tried to better inform the public when it comes to dealing with a swarm of bees, not to mention making sure first responders are prepared and alerting beekeepers statewide.

It's estimated that one-third of our diet relies on honeybee pollination.  Because of that, in the last year south Georgians have had to learn how to coexist with Africanized honeybees, that were first discovered in the attack that killed Curtis Davis.  

It's meant some changes for beekeepers and first responders. "We've also had a number of people become certified now in pest control should a hive be found or a wandering group of them we actually have people certified now with the proper techniques to eradicate them,"  said Deputy EMA Director Jim Vaught.

Georgia beekeepers have learned more about the Africanized bees habits, and have helped to control these extremely defensive and easily agitated African variety. The state has requested beekeepers not to respond to call about a hive alone. 08:50:28  Dale  

"They're suggesting to us to go as a group, when we go after swarms of unknown origin," said Bee Keeper Dale Richter.

They've also given beekeepers some guidelines about dealing with unknown bees. "If it's not from a known bee hive otherwise if it's a swarm out in the wild they're giving us some different guidelines on how to control them and what to do with them if we bring them back to our hives,"  Richter said.

Firefighters quickly learned their turnout gear is good protection from bee stings and many have now outfitted their trucks with bee bonnets should they be called to a rescue. "Between their turnouts, their gloves, and this net going over their helmets it keeps them protected from the Africanized bees," said Vaught.

Beekeepers have also been cautioned about transporting bees across county lines.  They've also swamped Florida lab with bees to be tested, some as recently as a few weeks ago at a truck stop in Crisp County trying to keep a handle on where these aggressive bees may be in the Peach State. 

Albany Dougherty's 911 Center along with 311 Center have developed a protocol for dealing with bee calls.  They have a list of numbers for exterminators or others who can deal with a bee situation.

Georgia requires all beekeepers to be licenses by the state. State officials still say the best way for you to deal with bees is to leave them alone and call an expert to handle them if they don't move on.

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