October 22, 2010

Georgia Man killed by Bees

(CNN) — Africanized honey bees have been confirmed in Georgia and are responsible for the death of a 73-year-old man, the state’s agricultural commissioner said Thursday.

Curtis Davis of Dougherty County in southwest Georgia last week accidentally disturbed a colony of bees while he was clearing bush with his bulldozer, CNN affiliate WFXL reported. He received more than 100 stings.

“This is the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia,” Agricultural Commissioner Tommy Irvin said in a statement about the entomological tests.

Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as “killer bees,” were believed to have entered Texas in 1990 and have since spread to about 10 other states from California to Florida.

Because of the similarity of the appearance of European honeybees and Africanized bees, the insects from the Dougherty County incident had to be tested to ascertain their identity. Irvin said they are less predictable than European honey bees.

Africanized honey bees, which are hybrids of African and European bees, can be highly defensive around their nests and swarm more frequently than other honey bees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The venom carried by honey bees has similar potency.

Irvin, who urged people to be cautious around nests, said employees will monitor and trap “bee swarms to try to find where any Africanized honey bees are.”

He stressed that European honey bees are important for the pollination of many crops.

Tampa Krispy Kreme store Invaded by Bees

Tampa, Florida – Employees of a Tampa Krispy Kreme franchise are buzzing over a bee problem at the store resulting in painful stings and claims the insects could be contaminating doughnuts sold to gas stations and grocery stores across Florida.

A Bee on a doughnutAn employee of the Krispy Kreme location on North Florida Avenue in Tampa, who recently quit over the issue, tells us the problem got so bad he eventually started documenting the insects and other issues on his cell phone.

“I complained there are bees everywhere and I don’t want to get stung,” said the former employee who asked not to be identified. “We were told if we said anything, we’d be out of a job, so I quit.”

A visit to the store Tuesday afternoon revealed bees in fact swarming over the outdoor garbage dumpster.

Amateur video shot by both current and ex-employees shows the bees were also inside the store, swarming in a doughnut storage area, in some cases even landing on doughnuts.

Video also shows what appears to be a filthy air conditioning vent blowing near freshly cooked doughnuts, and termites eating through wood beams above the same area.

An owner of the West Central Florida franchise, Gulf-Florida Doughnuts tells us he is aware of the issue and is working to correct the problem.

“The bees were a lot worse during the summer months,” said owner Mark Gauthier. He says a national pest control company visits the property regularly, and he’s had a bee keeper on site to try and determine where the bees are coming from.

“They’re coming from a location off property, we just don’t know where,” said Gauthier.

He says the company plans to get rid of the garbage dumpster out back which may be attracting the bees, and install a new, air tight trash compactor.

Man Mowing Attacked by Bees

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) — A man is recovering after being stung by bees while riding his lawn mower.

The incident occurred at a home located at 1916 Scott St. in Hollywood, Monday. According to officials, a landscaper was cutting grass when he was attacked by a swarm of bees. Boxes containing bee hives were placed on cinder blocks just a few feet away from the victim.

After the bee attack, neighbor Theresa Perchiano said, she heard the landscaper’s screams. “The guy was cutting the grass, and I saw him screaming. I thought he was fighting, and I came outside to ask him if he was all right, and he turned around and his whole back was covered in bees, so I ran over here because I live over there, to get the hose to hose him down, and the next thing I know, they were attacking me,” said Perchiano. “I am scared to death right now. You don’t understand. I’m scared to death. I am so afraid that those things are going to come back.”

“Our friend gets over here. He grabbed our hose and tried to squirt the guy down to help him but the guy took off running,” said neighbor Tom Angelucci. “We got the guy to come back, and we called the paramedics.”

The landscaper was stung multiple times. “He had probably 50 to 100 bee stings over the core of his body. He was still conscious but going into shock,” one man said.

Hollywood Fire Rescue transported the landscaper to Memorial Regional Hospital in stable condition.

Hours after the attack, the landscaper’s boss, Walter Alvarez, returned to the scene to recover the lawn mower. According to Alvarez, the victim looked as though he had been in a fight, but he is expected to be OK. “They took 36 of the stingers out from his back. His lip is swollen, his face is kind of swollen, but he’s doing much better now,” Alvarez said.

Hollywood Code Enforcement officers told the woman who owns the bees, Ileana Roman, to remove the hives from her home. However, Roman said has been living in the neighborhood for 10 years and has never had an issue with the bees. Some neighbors also said they have not had any problems with the bees. “It’s healthy. It’s natural. It’s pure, organic, from Florida,” Roman said. “For honey, for pollen. I give to my neighbors as a gift.”

The beekeeper apologized for the attack. “I’m very sorry about that. I’m very, very sorry about that, but it’s healthy for him. Many people make treatment with bees,” she said.

The bee hives have since been removed from Roman’s home.

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