Africanized Bees Are Buzzing Problem for Saginaw Family

Bee expert says Africanized bees are extremely territorial, very aggressive

By Eric King
|  Friday, Mar 29, 2013  |  Updated 11:27 PM CDT
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A Saginaw couple says aggressive Africanized bees have been swarming their backyard for the last five years.

Eric King, NBC 5 News

A Saginaw couple says aggressive Africanized bees have been swarming their backyard for the last five years.


A Saginaw couple says aggressive Africanized bees are holding them hostage.

For the last five years, the bees have been swarming their backyard, Annie and Larry Antwine said.

"We can’t live like this," Annie Antwine said. "It’s like there’s no freedom."

On a number of occasions, the bees have forced away contract workers there to do work on electrical equipment in the yard.

Aaron Garcia, a bee expert with Bee Charmer, told NBC 5 that Africanized bees are extremely territorial and very aggressive.

"If you're walking past an Africanized beehive, they’re just going to hit you, sting you as hard as they can," said Garcia, who was working in the backyard of a Keller family that has had a bee problem for seven years.

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The Antwines said they initially tried fixes such as setting fire to the bees and pouring Pine Sol on them, but none of their efforts were effective. Three years ago, the couple hired a beekeeper to help get rid of their unwanted guests, but even that didn’t solve the problem.

Garcia suggests calling an expert if you have a problem with bees, saying the so-called "quick fix" home remedies are ineffective and often dangerous.

"The bees you see are just a fraction of what’s on the inside -- thousands and thousands of bees," he said.

The Antwines said their bees are centered around the shed in the corner of their backyard and seem to come up from under it. They want to burn down the shed, but city ordinances do not allow it.

On Thursday, beekeepers relocated a colony of Africanized bees from a Denton home to private land out in the country. The large beehive had formed in the eaves of the Peggy Norton's home, even protruding into the attic.

"Right now is swarming season," Garcia said. "We’re seeing a lot of swarming calls right now -- we’ve had 20 just today."

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If you’re unable to afford a professional, the best thing to do is simply leave the bees alone, Garcia said. He also suggests wearing light-colored clothes. Bees have a difficult time seeing lighter colors, which is why you regularly see beekeepers wearing white.

If an Africanized bee or any other of bee stings you, scrape the stinger with your fingernail rather than trying to pinch it out, Garcia said. Pinching makes it much worse, he said.

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