South Georgians warned about bee swarms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians warned about bee swarms

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia Bee experts say warmer temperatures this weekend could get bees swarming, and those swarms can be dangerous.

Master beekeeper Dale Richter says bees have been acting strangely this year, becoming active earlier than normal. And he is sending out warnings, especially to protect curious kids.

A few taps on the bee hive box sends the honey bees inside on alert, flying out into the cold damp weather. Beekeepers are concerned because these swarms were captured much earlier than normal.

Master bee keeper Dale Richter said "This swarm actually occurred three weeks ago today." Has the wet weather had something to do with it? "I'm not sure what it is. I don't know if it's been the wet weather or just everything combined. But it has been a crazy year already."

Usually it's later in the spring when bees hatch out queens and expand their colonies.

With dry weather and temperatures in the 70's this weekend, Richter expects many more swarms of bees to form.

Richter said "Looks like a football hanging from a tree. Or maybe a basketball hanging from a tree. And it's obvious that it's bees, and it's all bees. There is nothing there but bees. That's where kids start playing with them and get them provoked."

Richter has already seen four cases around the Albany area where kids have provoked bee swarms, by poking them with sticks or throwing rocks at them, which he warns can be very dangerous.

Richter said "Bees are normally docile when they are in swarm mode. But they are, when they get irritated, they will attack anything that's bothering them."

In 2010 tens of thousands of Africanized bees swarmed 73 year old Curtis Davis, as he cleared debris in Southern Dougherty County, stinging him to death. Richter warns people to use caution and wants parents to let kids know that bees are not something to play with.

Richter has already contacted the Dougherty County School system, and is preparing a notice to go home to parents warning of bee swarm dangers.

 

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