Jim McMinn has been exterminating unwanted bees for about 40 years, and very rarely has a stray bee wander into his suit.
But earlier this week he said he was the victim of about a dozen Africanized bees finding their way into his suit and stinging him.
McMinn said he was trying to exterminate a hive when a branch of the hive he didn’t see in the house became disturbed, and bees found their way into a suit that did not fit quite right.
When he exterminated the main part of the hive, he started seeing bees move like they shouldn’t be after extermination.
“And that’s when they came out and attacked me,” McMinn said.
He said because of their aggressiveness and the way they chased him, he knew the bees were Africanized.
Burr Williams, executive director of the Sibley Nature Center, said he believes most feral colonies of bees in West Texas have at least some Africanized blood in them.
“When the bees start swarming and circling and head butting, I feel like those are definitely Africanized,” Williams said.
Although the population of Africanized bees has not necessarily increased in the 15 years they’ve been in the area, Williams said they start swarming around this time because they have not been here long enough to know it is a bad time to find a new hive.
With less food in the fall, it’s not a good time to switch hives, Williams said, but because they’re mostly tropical in origin, they are not yet aware of that.
Williams said they received four reports Tuesday of bees swarming.
“When you walk outside and there’s 5,000 bees the size of a basketball hanging off a branch above your car, you get worried,” Williams said.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Africanized honey bees do not randomly attack victims, but are very defensive of their hive and consider their home territory to stretch out up to 100 feet from the hive.
Williams said if a person is head butted by an Africanized honey bee, which they often do when they become perturbed, the best advice he had was to run away.
“As soon as you feel that head butt, you should be sprinting for cover immediately,” Williams said.