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Be on the lookout for bees on your property

Updated May 16, 2011

Africanized honey bees have been spotted in neighboring cities, so they may very well have moved in to Cerritos. Unlike European honey bees, the Africanized bees are much more aggressive and are known to chase and sting their victims in swarms. They can be dangerous to people who receive multiple stings - especially children and elderly residents - and to people who are allergic to bee venom.

To keep the bees from settling in on your property, check your home and backyard frequently for nesting sites. Listen for humming sounds, and watch for large numbers of bees hovering near trees or shrubs, flying from attics or crawl spaces or darting into small holes or crevices. You can ward them off by:

  • Sealing any holes that are larger than a pencil eraser

  • Stacking empty flower pots
  • Pushing dirt into gopher holes
  • Removing old appliances or rubbish
  • Screening vents with 1/8-inch mesh
  • Filling tree holes with foam insulation
  • Caulking cracks in walls
  • Covering woodpiles tightly with tarp and
  • Removing unused birdhouses or storage sheds

If you do find a nest on your property, never try to deal with the situation yourself. Call a licensed pest control agency to remove the bees.

Africanized bees may be angered by children playing, or by noisy power equipment, like lawn mowers, weed whackers and chain saws, so look around before enjoying your yard. If you are caught in a swarm, follow these tips and teach your children to do the same:

  • Protect your eyes and face, which the bees may instinctively attack.
  • Run as fast as you can to a car or building, then shut all the door and windows. A few bees may stay with you, but that's better than thousands.
  • If you've been stung, scrape out the stingers rather than squeezing the wounds. Wash with soap and water and apply an ice pack.
  • If you've been stung multiple times, are allergic to bee venom or are having trouble breathing, call 911 right away and tell the dispatcher you've been attacked by bees.

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