9 June 2004


Some useful advice if you ever happen to stumble into a hive of killer bees.
We have Africanized killer bees out our way. In fact, several years ago some poor guy in Carefree was cleaning his pool and inadvertently bumped a hive in his back yard and when they attacked he jumped in the pool and dove under water. Big mistake. The bees, who have some peculiar rod and cone deal going, could see him perfectly, and massed above his head waiting for him to surface. When he couldnít hold his breath any longer and surfaced, the killer bees nailed him in the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. In short, they killed him.

This is always on my mind (he lived five miles from my house!) when I walk to the creek, like this morning. I hear the bees in the blooming palo verde trees and as I walk by Iím always walking very lightly and looking for an escape route at the same time.

The official advice goes something like this: bees can only fly fifteen miles an hour and if you can run 16 miles an hour and zig-zag through the brush, youíll easily lose them. So, Iím always alert and looking for the path of most resistance.

Imagine my horror this morning when I read in the Arizona Republic that a 20-year-old Mesa man backed into a hive Tuesday morning while using a leaf blower. He was immediately attacked by a killer swarm and started to run. So far, so good. Unfortunately, he ran into the street and was hit by a Salt River Project truck. He didnít die but he has a fractured skull and compound fractures on both legs. The article didnít say if they dispersed the bees, or not.


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