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Attack of the killer bees

Discussion in 'Farming and Gardening Forum' started by Mycrossover, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. Mycrossover

    Mycrossover ArboristSite Member

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    We have a raised deck that has a bench for a rail. We are using the deck as our container garden. There are 4 half barrels and several large pots growing tomatoes. There are window boxes of herbs and assorted flower pots on the deck and bench. We noticed little "flies" on the plants. The had the same body shape and were no bigger than a house fly but they were metallic gold with thin black stripes. Most of the time they were just on the tomato plants and not doing anything. However if we went near one outter corner of the deck they would come over the rail and swarm us. I got bitten on the nose....ouch. They looked nothing like my idea of a bee so I was confused. Then from the bathroom window I spotted the paper nest under the cap board on rhe outside of the deck rail. They had to go. I had recently destroyed a wasp nest on the front porch and it went easy. I bought a jumbo can of Raid flying insect spray and prepared for battle. Heavy athletic socks, camo pants with the ankles tied, a hoodie, my respirator with fresh organic vapor cartridges and pre filters. I had on my face shield and cloth backed rubber garden gloves. I attacked. I sprayed the nest and put up clouds of spray at the now furious swarm. I reached over the rail and scraped off most of the now soaked nest with a 4" putty knife. Then they found the weakness in my armour. The backs of the gloves were too loose a weave and I had several bees singing away on the back of each hand. I beat a hasty retreat. I applied bags of ice to both hands took a couple of benadril and smeared the swollen hands with 1% hydro cortisone. It was my smarter than me neighbor that informed me that I had just gone a round with killer or africanized bees. Before retiring from the battlefield I replaced the weak spot in my armour with the heavy rubber gauntlets I use at my grease sink. I went back and what was still swarming around could not get to me as I sprayed the rail some more and scraped off some of the nest that I had missed when they drove me off. By this morning they were gone and there were none still looking for the missing nest. The swelling is mostly gone, my hands are sore and a bit itchy. Too late, I found the difinitive article on identifying killer bees. The fact that they pollen hunt as indviduals rather than in groups, that they are smaller than a regular Italian honey bee and they like to build on structures like my deck all matched up completely with the now all too familiar illustrations in the article. The article ended by recommending that you have a pro remove the nest. NOW they tell me. I am sure some of you have had similar experiences and can tell me all the things I did wrong. Bring it on

    Sore in NJ

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  2. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    As long as you got your chink fixed you are doing fine - pro's use a powder and a puffer rather than the Raid in a can most often as it gets tracked into the nest vs the Raid which is more of contact sport. By the way you are now equipped to do battle with the European ground nesting hornets ( coloring very similar to Yellow jackets). They act the same - attack in swarm if nest is deemed threatened ( got T-shirt on that- lawn mowers are not deemed, or any other type of harvest equipment, friendly by them). Those Africanized Bees have slowing been moving Northward orver the years.
     
  3. Huskybill

    Huskybill ArboristSite Guru

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    I have a nest of white faced hornets in my breezeway. The guard is at the opening in a box we’re the nest it. Once he stings you with his fermones the whole nest attacks you. Not good.
     
  4. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yep, played with those as well. last 2 nests I peppered them with pellets from the air rifle. After a 100 rounds or so the nest is torn up - birds do the rest. had one right over the barn doors of a shed there was a set of small doors above those so they were going in and out the gap between the small ones- called a pro in on that. Could not get to it before being attacked. Had European hornets by front door under evergreens -kept them pesky door to door types away.
     
  5. CentaurG2

    CentaurG2 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    From what I know about them, Africanized honey bees are just like European honey bees but they have a mean streak a mile long. You basically need genetic testing to tell them apart. I don’t think they would build a hive outside in the open. Unless they are giving you a good amount of grief, I usually leave wasps alone. They are great predators of many insects and bees of any kind are welcome around here as pollinators.
     
    2412 likes this.
  6. Mycrossover

    Mycrossover ArboristSite Member

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    I am still not sure what I had. It took a second attack with my improved "armor" after I found a remnant of nest that they seemed to be rebuilding on. I see the odd one flying around but not in any numbers or showing any aggression. I can't match them to anything online. When on a plant, they look like a fly with a fancy paint job. They are metallic gold with thin black stripes around the body. There are similar stripes on the head, but running front to back. There was no fuzz on the head, like a bee. Is it some form of wasp or hornet? The stripes are thin with no extra lobes or breaks. The body does not seem as segmented like a wasp. Any guesses?

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  7. stillhunter

    stillhunter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I was attacked by a swarm of small, fuzzy black bees in a dried up swamp years ago while swinging a machete, surveying. I ran like the wind as fast as I could through the dense summer woods tripping now and then and getting stung every time my run was slowed by the brush/vines etc. These bees chased me more than 200 yrds. I finally tripped again and just rolled on my back and slapped/crushed the rest of them until they were gone. I have never seen that kind of bee before or after that and I've never had any stinging bees/wasps chase me that far. Yellow jackets generally call off the chase after 10 or 20 yrds.

    I do have a great/safe way to get rid of yellow jackets and maybe other stinging wasps/bees around the house. I have a 30" metal rolling shop fan and it will destroy all of them if I can position it near the nest. I have rolled the back side right up within inches of 3 nests near the house w an extension cord hooked up and then plug it in. The fan instantly starts to suck the bees in and spit them out on the ground in pieces. Any leaving or trying to get in the nest are sucked into the fan, they also try to attack the fan and they die trying. In an hour or so they are gone. I would imagine you could point the fan at a wasp type nest and the wind would prevent them from reaching the nest and they may just abandon it after hours of the wind on the nest. No poison/gas/ killing grass/plants etc. and the pinging sounds of the bees being flung into the side or grill of the fan is delightful.
     
  8. Ted Jenkins

    Ted Jenkins Firewood by TJ

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    I have had many encounters with bees. A wasp nest in my attic proved a little difficult. I really like the fan trick as I will bet it would be fun to watch. A bug zapper can work very well used just right. I use raw chicken skin for bait at night. With in a few hours there is usually a pile that completely covers the bait. A few years ago when I went to my timber project as it has snowed and froze an inch the day before at my home. I had this large orange quilt that was in the back of my pickup that was frozen stiff so I opened it up and draped it over the side boards of my pickup. About 10 AM I felt some movement in my sleeves to discover I was getting bitten several times. Then I noticed a swarm behind me around my pickup. They were swarming around the orange quilt with moisture. So went and got a couple of sweat pants and sweat shirts. Then I jumped in my truck and went about a 1/4 mile down the road. I threw a rope over the blanket and pulled it off. About 2000 bees were buzzing around the blanket. By night fall they were all gone. Thanks
     
  9. sb47

    sb47 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Stay out of the shed.
     
  10. fossil

    fossil Eh?

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    Yellow fly maybe? Don't sting but bite like hell apparently. Making their way north and are in your area now.

    yellow fly.jpg
     
  11. chuckwood

    chuckwood Addicted to ArboristSite

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  12. Mycrossover

    Mycrossover ArboristSite Member

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    After my second go round with the spray can and scraping the nest remnants from under the rail, I had a few stragglers around for a few days and then they were all gone. I have concluded they were just bees. African? Who knows. It took a while for the bite marks to completely disappear. We have some new wildlife on the deck. A big tan spider set up shop below the soffit, next to the halogen light. At night the light attracts flying insects and the spider makes short work of them. They hit the web and he has then wrapped up in a heart beat. He is kind of shy. If we walk out he flees up to the gutter at the top of the web. They are fastinating to watch like when he repairs the web. I did a search of "spiders of NJ" but I am still not sure what I have. Big, tan, some markings on back, legs not that big compared to body. We are a bit too far North for a brown recluse and I think the legs are too short. Live and let live.

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  13. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    No you are not too far north for recluse spyders and the brown is only one of the family.
     
  14. JTM

    JTM ArboristSite Guru

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    Brown recluse spiders don’t weave webs.

    European and Africanized honey bees don’t make paper nests.

    This time of year watch out for yellow jackets. They are a ground wasp and have a really bad attitude from now until they bed down for the winter.
     
  15. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    yellow jackets - i believe it is just the queens that winter over.
     
  16. Big Red Oaks 4 me

    Big Red Oaks 4 me Fun with flying wood chips

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    If they are "Africanized", they will be trouble, for sure.
     

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