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Reasons why bees are likely to attack

By Grace Chomba

Bees flying around beehive. Getty Images/iStockphoto.

This week, 80-year-old woman was stung to death while six people were injured when a swarm of bees mysteriously attacked two families at 11pm in Karura area of Kiambere ward, Embu County.

Bees are likely to attack people when provoked. To prevent this, farmers need to observe certain measures.

They include;

Construct an apiary in a calm natural environment: This will prevent them from stress. They mostly attack to prevent themselves or their hive so farmers should ensure that the apiaries are constructed far from residential areas.

While harvesting farmers can use smoke: It interferes with the bees’ line of communication. The bees also go into survival mode and are now less concerned with your presence. During the process, ensure that you do not use too much smoke. When smoke is in excess, the bees are likely to eat up all the honey or it can drive the bees away from the hive.

Use warning signs: You can place them around the areas where the apiaries are constructed. This will help inform intruders and new people that they need to take caution.

Bees swarming: It is formed when one colony splits into two or more colonies. This happens when they need a place to raise brood, store honey or more. The main cause that leads to swarming is overcrowding. Bee swarming can be prevented by the following measures.

Avoid congestion: Bees reproduced quickly and this can cause overcrowding. You need to provide more room for the bees before they need it. You can do this by reversing their hive bodies to cater for the fast reproducing insects. Add a queen excluder to prevent the queen from laying eggs to keep the colony size manageable.

Provide adequate ventilation: This helps to maintain airflow inside and out the hive during extreme weathers. Ensure the inner cover have a notched ventilation hole in the front which is always open. Drill wine cork sized holes to provide the bees with additional entrances.

Make them comfortable during hot weathers, this can be done supplying a nearby water source. You can also shield the hives from sun by ensuring the apiaries are constructed under trees. This can be achieved by providing shades too.

Remove all queen swarm cells: Inspect the hives after every week in search of swarm cells. Swarm cells is an indication that your bees are planning to swarm.

Replace your queen every autumn: Even after making sure that all listed activities are followed to ensure that the old queen is replaced after a period of time. When a bee colony finds out that the queen is old they are likely to swarm after they have created a new queen.

In case you are attacked by the bees do the following;

·         Never jump into a body of water.

·         Find an enclosed shelter

·         Run but against the wind.

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