Killer Bees located last week

This past week, volunteer Michael Saldana went to the Potter residence northwest of Lytle, and located the hive of bees responsible for the vicious and fatal attack on Mr. Merrill Potter this past May.
“The bees were in an abandoned windmill area. They were in a 16″ pipe that was about 5 foot tall, and they probably filled the whole pipe,” Saldana said. “They were real, real aggressive. They started attacking me immediately when I got within 30 feet of the hive. In fact, that’s how I found them. I actually wore two bee suits, one on top of the other! I got stung just two times on my hands which were uncovered. They were very focused on my face, went straight for it.”
When you go to do mowing and yard work Saldana says “Please get rid of the bees first.”
A big thank you to Michael Saldana for volunteering his time to help others in need of bee removal.
“I am actually a ranch foreman, managing a ranch near Batesville, but I grew up in the bee industry. Several of my family members were beekeepers, so I grew up around bees. When I get a call to remove bees, I usually just ask people to make a water donation to the fire department (unless it turns into a really time-consuming removal). I would much rather go help someone out on my own time, than have to respond to an emergency call with the fire department later, where somebody has been seriously attacked or stung to death. It’s just my way of helping out.”
In Saldana’s experience, he says hot, dry weather is what bees prefer, and it’s the cloudy, rainy, stormy weather that irritates them in his experience.
“It’s days like today,” Saldana said, “I’ve been chased out of a commercial bee operation on a cloudy day.”
Another local bee expert, Eddie Geyer, explains how a large hive of bees can turn from calm to extremely aggressive very quickly.
“When the queen dies or leaves, a new queen emerges,” Geyer said. “That’s one of the things that can really set them off. When the new queen breeds with those Africanized bees, and starts producing that Africanized offspring, it will be about 4-5 weeks before they start showing their meanness.. So four or five weeks go along and the bees can be gentle as a lamb, never bother nobody, and then boom, they attack somebody.”
“Once a bee hatches out, it’s generally 21 days before they ever fly out of the hive, and at that point, they will defend it. Bees go through several different stages, in fact, right before they start flying out of the hive, they call them ‘guard duties’ and they will defend the hive too,” Geyer said.
“The noise and vibration of mowers are one of the biggest things that set them off,” Geyer said.
There is one more odd little tip that could save you from an attack.
“They HATE the color black!” Geyer said. “If you have a guy in a white suit with a black dot, they will go right after it. They just do not get along with the color black. So, don’t wear black when you mow….wear light colors–white, pink, yellow, red–anything but black.”