What Should I Do if I Have Located an Africanized Honeybee Colony?
If you do discover a honeybee colony on your property, immediately look under Bee Removal in the Yellow Pages and call a company who is licensed with the Office of Pest Management. Beware of companies who advertise that they are licensed; however, they may not be legitimately licensed with the Office of Pest Management. By law, in Arizona, a licensed pest control company must display their OPM license number in their display advertising. Companies which are not licensed with the Office of Pest Management are unable to purchase the appropriate chemicals with which to eradicate an established colony as these chemicals are restricted and are sold only to licensed Pest Control Operators. Using the wrong chemicals can cause an attack, can result in bees fleeing the pesticide and coming inside the living space of the home, and can cause nausea or chemical reactions in people with chemical sensitivity.
Unlicensed individuals do not necessarily obtain adequate education or carry an appropriate amount of liability insurance as licensed Pest Control Operators are required by law to do. Additionally, it is a Class 6 felony to apply pesticides on property you do not own without an OPM license. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ERADICATE THE BEES YOURSELF, unless you are a licensed Pest Control Operator and bee removal specialist and know the appropriate procedures to follow to abate and control an Africanized honeybee colony.
African honeybees colonize a chosen site very quickly. They are potentially very dangerous to humans, pets and livestock, and should be treated with respect. They are an invasive species to Arizona and other southwestern states, extremely adaptable to our climate and already well established throughout the southwest. Outside of the danger a resident African honeybee colony presents, they also cause tremendous structural damage to residential and commercial properties in terms of honeycomb meltdown, saturation of materials, wet rot and pheromone deposits which, left untreated, will almost certainly lead to future bee infestations, even if the original colony has been removed. We do not have a bee scarcity problem as has been the case with some of the northern state’s European honeybee populations. African honeybee colonies are plentiful in the desert southwest and the only control on their expansion that we have observed is drought and long periods of extended freezing cold. If you have a resident bee colony on your home or property, or if you know of one nearby, realize it is very probable that it is Africanized and should be removed by a licensed bee removal specialist company.