EFD: The Buzz on Bees
May 24, 2009
Ephrata Fire Department/Misty Fairchild
EFD: The Buzz on Bees
Ephrata Firefighters offer tips on what to do with swarms of bees
EPHRATA — Ephrata Firefighters responded to the 800 block of C St NW on Sunday May 24, 2009, for a report of a swarming colony of bees which was threatening citizens.
Firefighters discovered a large swarm of bees on the limb of a tree which was next to the sidewalk. The property occupant stated the bees rapidly appeared over the course of the previous two days.
“Ephrata Firefighters receive a few calls each year to remove rattle snakes and bees which have found their way into or onto peoples' property, but we will only take action if they pose a significant threat to public safety,” said Battalion Chief Kyle Foreman. "We typically take any action with the guidance of animal control officials."
Bees are part of Ephrata's environment. Most are non-threatening, but some bees pose a threat to residents' personal safety, as well as the safety of their families and pets. Ephrata Firefighters offer these tips for dealing with bees:
Do’s and Don’ts:
- DO check your property regularly for bee colonies. Honey bees nest in a wide variety of places. Check animal burrows, water meter boxes, overturned flower pots, trees and shrubs.
- DO keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, tractor power mowers, chain saws, etc. Attacks frequently occur when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and they inadvertently strike a bee’s nest.
- DO avoid excessive motion when near a colony. Bees are much more likely to respond to an object in motion than a stationary one.
- DON’T pen, tie or tether animals near bee hives or nests.
- DON’T remove bees yourself. If you want bees removed, look in the yellow pages under “bee removal” or “beekeepers”.
- DON’T try to exterminate the bees yourself. Most people do not have the necessary safety equipment to remove bees. Past attempts of people trying to exterminate bees themselves have led to serious injury and death in some cases in the United States. This is extremely dangerous and you are advised to leave this to a professional exterminator.
What to do if you are attacked:
- Run as quickly as you can away from the bees. Do not flail or swing your arms at them, as this may further annoy them.
- Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape.
- Get to the shelter or closest house or car as quickly as possible. Don’t worry if a few bees become trapped in your home. If several bees follow you into your car, drive about a quarter of a mile and let the bees out of the car.
When to call the Fire Department:
- Call 9-1-1 when emergency medical services are needed.
- If someone has been stung by many bees at once or has an allergic reaction to a bee sting, call 9-1-1.
- Call 9-1-1 if someone has become trapped in a building or car with lots of bees. Fire trucks are equipped with foam that can be sprayed on the bees to drown them.
Please DO NOT call 9-1-1 to remove bee colonies or hives that are not attacking. If you would like to get the bees removed, call for a local bee removal specialist.
- Tim Hiatt, 989-1727
- Alan Grigg, 750-8798
- David Smouse, 787-1288
For more information on fire and life safety, visit the Ephrata Fire Department website www.ephrata.org/209.html.
Battalion Chief Kyle Foreman | 509-771-0875