Swarm Of Bees After You? Jumping Into Water Won't Get Rid Of Them

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Swarm Of Bees After You? Jumping Into Water Won't Get Rid Of Them

In 2014, a swarm of bees attacked and killed a landscaper in Arizona. Experts believed the man was pursued by a hybrid of African and Western honey bees known as "killer bees." This type of bee is especially dangerous because they are more sensitive to humans and more defensive than other species. But the scariest thing about killer bees may be that they can form swarms of about 2,000 and follow a victim for a quarter mile or longer. So what do you do if you find yourself being pursued by a pack of angry bees? The good news is that most people can tolerate about 10 bee stings per pound of body weight. But if the swarm is large and angry enough, here's what to do: run. Seriously. A healthy adult should be able to outrun a swarm of bees. It's also recommended that you pull your shirt over your head to protect your face, and do not swat bees or flail your arms. And, unlike the cartoons, don't jump in a body of water. Bees have been known to hover above the surface and wait until people come up for air. Watch the video below for more on killer bees.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Warwick E. Kerr "created" killer bees when hives of his African honey bees escaped and interbred with Western honey bees. 0:19

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    Most humans can tolerate about 10 bee stings per pound of body weight. 1:17

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    If you're being pursued by a swarm of angry bees, jumping into a body of water won't make them go away. 1:43

How Do Beekeepers Calm Bees?

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How Do Beekeepers Calm Bees?

Ever wonder how beekeepers are able to work around tens of thousands of swarming honeybees at once? Firstly, they wear a bee veil, which guards against painful stings. Secondly, they add smoke, which make handling the bees manageable. Although the smoking technique has been around for thousands of years, we still don't know the full extent of its effects on bees. We do know a few reasons why pumping hives full of smoke calms the bees: for one, it masks the pheromones of the guard bees that would excite the hive. The smoke also makes them think there's a fire nearby, which motivates them to start feeding in case they need the energy for an evacuation. Just like people, bees that have recently gorged on food are slow and lethargic. Learn more about the science of bees in the videos below.

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from Grainger

Key Facts to Know

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    A bee veil is one of the essential items for beekeepers. 0:53

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    Pumping smoke into beehives call down bees filled with honey. 1:05

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    Thousands of bees cooperate in single hives. 1:59

Every Killer Bee Descends From Hives Kept By One Biologist

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Every Killer Bee Descends From Hives Kept By One Biologist

Warwick E. Kerr was keeping hives of African honey bees and European honey bees in the hopes of breeding a new strain that was more efficient at honey production. However, a visiting beekeeper accidentally released 26 swarms of African honey bees from the hives in Brazil in 1857. These bees would slowly spread throughout the Americas, interbreeding with European honey bees and creating the hybrid species we now know as "killer" bees.

02:18

Key Facts to Know

  • 1

    Warwick E. Kerr "created" killer bees when hives of his African honey bees escaped and interbred with Western honey bees. 0:19

  • 2

    Most humans can tolerate about 10 bee stings per pound of body weight. 1:17

  • 3

    If you're being pursued by a swarm of angry bees, jumping into a body of water won't make them go away. 1:43

Japanese Honey Bees Roast Hornets In Their "Oven"

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Japanese Honey Bees Roast Hornets In Their "Oven"

Unlike their defenseless European cousins, Japanese honeybees have a group defense strategy to take down their predators. The bees swarm onto a Japanese giant hornet and vibrate, heating up the area to 47.2° C (117° F). The bees can stand temperatures up to 47.8° C (118° F). Japanese giant hornets can only below 46.1° C (115°F).

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Key Facts to Know

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    See Japanese honey bees swarm around the hive caring for their young: 0:09

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    Japanese giant hornets mark the hives of honey bees with pheromones so other hornets can find the prey later. 1:09

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    Japanese honey bees swarm onto their Japanese giant hornet predators and vibrate, creating an oven that cooks the hornet alive. 1:39

Most Bees Don't Live In Hives

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Most Bees Don't Live In Hives

Though honeybees get most of the press coverage, the majority of bee species are solitary bees. They gather pollen, build nests, and lay eggs on their own, without the help of a hive. (Some might live in groups, but they won't have a social structure with a queen or workers.) These bees are hugely important pollinators for many native flowers and plants.