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Africanized bees

I got sent this last night, we don’t have Africanized bees in Australia but very interesting to watch and draw your conclusions as to whether the bee keeper should have terminated the hive sooner.


I watched that the other day from another site and it was quite a thing to see. That beekeeper seems to have a lot of experience by the description of his background so I suspect he had no alternative in the situation as he described it. Pinching the queen would have been his first choice if he didn’t have people trafficking near by. I’ve not had this kind of thing in my yard, but I have had a hot hive that I re-queened in the spring because they were more aggressive than I wanted to deal with.

Those are not Africanized in their behaviour. I have had 2 hives which were definitely africanized. His was a pussy cat by comparison.

First of all, his hood was not zipped up for the first 3 or 4 minutes. With our hives, they would have been inside easily in that time. Also, no way you could wear ordinary trousers, socks etc. My husband had 50+ stings in his socks from ours. You would not be able to continue with that. I will try to find the photo.

Yes terminate if you are urban. Requeen if you are rural. It depends on you and the neighbours. :blush:


Ugh. That’s horrible. Can’t imagine a truly africanized hive. BTW, dry ice is available at every major supermarket and ice cream store around me. I do wonder if putting a block of dry ice in an taping the seams and blocking the entrance(s) would be a cleaner way to do it…

Another tip, once he had realised which brood box contained the queen, would be to move the box several meters sideways (in this case, as far as possible!) onto another hive stand and leave to settle for say an hour. The more agressive flying bees will leave and return to the other brood box on the original site. It should then be easier to search the brood box containing the queen.

Here it is. I count at least 25 just in this one side of one sock. Both socks looked the same on both sides. Our gloves were similarly adorned with stinger remnants… :hushed:

Maybe, but CO2 tends to anesthetize bees. You would have to get very high concentrations to kill them. My local mentor (yes, I do have one) has several hundred hives, and specializes in Africanized bee removals. He spent time down in South America, at the place where they were accidentally released. His current method of dealing with Africanized hives in rural locations is:

  1. Divide and conquer. If the hive has one brood box, split it into 2 or 3. Weaker boxes are easier to handle. Plus you don’t have to find the queen right away - the boxes without a queen will start making emergency queen cells. Destroy the queen cells, find the queen in the box without queen cells and dispatch her. Requeen 7 days later, after destroying all queen cells.
  2. If the requeened hive kills the queen (happens about 50% of the time), try one more time. If she is accepted, recombine the boxes. If not, proceed to the next step.
  3. Smoke generally doesn’t work with Africanized bees. Make up a pressurized plant sprayer full of 1:1 sugar water with a tablespoon of dish soap per gallon, keep another 2 gallons of soapy water in a bucket. Close up the hive entrance with foam or anything that can take a soaking. Open the hive gently, spraying under the inner cover with the sugar soapy water. This will coat the bees thoroughly and make many of them too heavy to fly. Quickly pour the soapy water evenly over the top of all frames. Close the hive tightly and leave it for 48 hours.
  4. Come back and clean up the mess. The wax can be rendered after rinsing off the soap. Bodies should be bagged, tied and disposed of in landfill to avoid feeding SHB

He hates killing hives, and always tries to re-queen first, but sometimes it has to be done.


One more thing, the beekeeper in the video says that the dish soap (washing up liquid) changes the chemistry of the outside of the bees. Strictly speaking, that is not accurate. What makes it lethal to bees is that it breaks the surface tension of the water. Bees breathe through spiracles on the outside of their bodies. Surface tension stops water from going down those tiny holes and drowning the bees. However, if you use dish soap, the water can now enter the spiracles and drown the bees. Not a pretty thought, but that is how it works.

Also, you don’t need as much dish soap as he used. The same amount that you would use for a bucket full of dishes is plenty.

Finally, he had a lot of boxes on that hive. I would have tried to reduce them down into just brood boxes with a bee escape, then you are not soaping up and wasting uncapped honey above the queen excluder.

Just a few more cents. :blush:


He is in my state’s bee association.

Oh and conventional bee boxes and equipment are cheap so I would have……lol

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I bet he comes to the apiary saying, “I just love the smell of napalm in the morning. That is the smell of VICTORY!”


Not very sensitive in these times if referring to humans, but when you are fighting bad bees, sometimes it has to be done