Africanized Honey Bee Outreach Program -- July 2007


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  • AHB are more aggressive than EHB. But EHB have been selected for thousands of years to be gentle. AHB swarm more and produce more feral colonies. AHB nest in more and smaller spaces than EHB. Places we might run into them more often. In terms of Aggressive Defense of the colony and potential number of stings, AHB are comparable to our native yellow jackets or bald faced hornets. We have dealt with these venomous insects and control them when they become a problem. AHB will be managed the same way.
  • Outdoor workers include utility workers, meter readers, tree trimmers, landscapers, surveyors, construction crews, timber harvesters, and land clearing crews. Military bases are very susceptible because they are close to ports and have structures that are used sporadically for training. Rescue personnel may be asked to face aggressive AHB, such as if a car hits a tree or structure containing an AHB colony. Proper training and equipment are essential.
  • Small children, the elderly, and the physically disabled are at greater risk because they are less able to escape. Children are also at risk due to their smaller body size. Dangerous envenomation occurs after 5-10 stings / pound. So a 20 lb. toddler would be in serious danger after only 100 stings, while a healthy adult could survive over 500 stings.
  • Tethered or restrained animals. Dogs chained outside have been killed in Florida and other states. Penned, caged, or corralled. Two caged lions were killed in a Nicaraguan Zoo by AHB because workers could not safely remove them from their cages. Horses and bees don’t mix. Houses react violently to being stung and they do not run away. There whinnying and stomping tends to excite the bees even more. At least one horse has been killed in Florida.
  • Africanized Honey Bee Outreach Program -- July 2007

    1. 1. Media, You and Africanized Bees
    2. 2. Africanized honey bees have arrived! Now What?
    3. 3. Putting AHB Into Perspective <ul><li>AHB are more aggressive than EHB. </li></ul><ul><li>AHB swarm more and produce more feral colonies. </li></ul><ul><li>AHB nest in more and smaller spaces than EHB. </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of aggressive defense of the colony and potential number of stings, AHB are comparable to our native yellow jackets or bald-faced hornets. </li></ul>
    4. 4. At-Risk Groups <ul><li>People likely to interact with bees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outdoor workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Landscapers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surveyors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Utility workers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Land clearing equipment operators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Military during training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sports enthusiasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rescue personnel </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. At-Risk Groups <ul><li>These people are at greater risk from encounters with feral AHB colonies because they are less able to escape the situation. </li></ul><ul><li>Small Children </li></ul><ul><li>Elderly </li></ul><ul><li>Handicapped </li></ul>
    6. 6. At-Risk Groups <ul><li>Animals at risk </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tethered or restrained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penned, caged or corralled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Horses and bees don’t mix </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. What’s being done? Who’s doing it? What are the key messages?
    8. 8. <ul><li>Have the attitude: Stinging incidents are pretty rare, it probably won’t happen around here </li></ul><ul><li>Practice the diffusion of responsibility theory: Somebody else will take care of it </li></ul><ul><li>And then, </li></ul>Do nothing approach . . .
    9. 9. Possible/Probable Scenarios <ul><li>Child is attacked by AHBs during recess at school w/o education: teacher runs over and starts swatting at bees, soon both the teacher and the child are being attacked When rescue unit finally gets there, teacher, victim and several other children have sustained hundreds of stings and child is having difficulty breathing . M edia accuses school of being ill prepared to deal with life-threatening emergency. County sued by victim’s family. </li></ul><ul><li>w/education: teacher, victim and other children cover their noses and mouths and run into building Victim sustains a few stings only. PCO is called to immediately remove nest. Story covered in school’s monthly newsletter. No other media coverage. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Possible/Probable Scenarios <ul><li>Puppies chained to dog house in abandoned lot; owner attempts to move dog house and is attacked by thousands of bees that have established hive on bottom of dog house. w/o education: owner stung multiple times taken to hospital, four puppies die. Owner incurs high medical costs; county investigating animal cruelty charges w/education: puppies are not chained and are able to run away from bees; owner covers nose and mouth and runs to get inside his vehicle. He suffers a few stings and calls 911. No medical expenses, puppies live. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Possible/Probable Scenarios <ul><li>911 operator receives call that man and dogs are being attacked by killer bees. w/o education: 911 operator sends a police officer to try to help the puppies and the victim. Media accuses 911 center of being ill-prepared to deal with life-threatening emergency </li></ul><ul><li>w/education: 911 operator calls ‘bee-sting recovery’ emergency response team and tells victim to stay in his truck with the windows rolled up. Media applaud county’s quick response. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Bee Aware . . . Public Awareness Program <ul><li>Challenge: </li></ul><ul><li>Educate the public about potential dangers of AHB, while at the same time stressing the importance of managed honey bee colonies to Florida agriculture </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Managed colonies dilute AHB populations. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent AHB takeover of European honeybee hives. </li></ul><ul><li>AHB are less likely attracted to areas where other foragers exist. </li></ul>Importance of Managed Colonies in Mitigating AHB
    14. 14. Beekeepers are Valuable European honey bees are the first and best deterrent against an area becoming Africanized.
    15. 15. Pollination is an important part of Florida Agriculture
    16. 16. Impact to Florida’s Agricultural Industry Reduced Yield
    17. 17. Florida Agriculture Benefits of managed colonies – a critical part of the message We need managed honey bee colonies in Florida … they provide 1/3 rd of the food we eat … they discourage AHBs from nesting in areas already occupied by managed colonies.
    18. 18. <ul><li>Interface/Educate/ Train </li></ul><ul><li>Established Inter-Agency Working Group </li></ul><ul><li>Make presentations/ attend statewide conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Develop/distribute brochures, fact sheets, videos, PSAs, school curriculums </li></ul>AHB Outreach Activities
    19. 19. AHB Planning Collaboration and Training in Florida <ul><li>Formed Africanized Bee Working Group </li></ul><ul><li>Devoting research funds to AHB </li></ul><ul><li>Providing funds to the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for a “Train the Trainer” curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership with Florida State Beekeepers Association </li></ul>
    20. 20. AHB Planning Collaboration and Training in Florida <ul><li>Collaborating with UF/IFAS to provide training statewide training for local gov’ts, businesses, civic organizations, and others. </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing/participating in media opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>Working closely with Apiary Inspectors of America, Southern Plant Board, and Florida Farm Bureau. </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting to state beekeepers’ associations in Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Delaware. </li></ul>
    21. 21. AHB Inter-Agency Working Group <ul><li>State agencies (public health, emergency management, tourism, environmental services, Ag law, Forestry), industry representatives, University of Florida IFAS, ag officials from Georgia and Alabama </li></ul><ul><li>Mission: to share information and speak with one voice </li></ul>
    22. 22. AHB Inter-Agency Working Group <ul><li>Create/maintain Intranet Web site to share information </li></ul><ul><li>Develop easy-to-remember slogan for responding to potential AHB attacks </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct statewide presentations to stakeholder groups </li></ul>Bee aware ... look, listen, run
    23. 23. PR Efforts: What works/what doesn’t <ul><li>Clear message works: </li></ul><ul><li>AHB’s are here and they are potentially dangerous . . . Now What??? </li></ul>
    24. 24. PR Efforts: What works/what doesn’t <ul><li>Present concise information on what to do if attacked by stinging insects such as AHBs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware of your surroundings (look for bees, listen for buzzing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If attacked, run, seek shelter inside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scrape off stingers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact PCO to remove hive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek medical attention if necessary </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. PR Efforts: What works/what doesn’t <ul><li>People are interested in AHBs – getting their attention should be easy </li></ul><ul><li>Use existing communication tools to educate your audiences (newsletters, utility bill inserts, Web site links, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage the public to be knowledgeable and prepared, not to panic </li></ul><ul><li>We can learn to live with AHBs as we have yellow jackets, fire ants, etc. </li></ul>
    26. 26. PR Efforts: What works/what doesn’t <ul><li>Greatest challenges: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting the word out – interfacing w/other entities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explaining the importance of managed colonies (food does not originate at Publix) </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Outreach Program for Public Information Officers <ul><li>Contacted over 200 Florida-agency PIOs </li></ul><ul><li>PIOs responsible for agency reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Provided fact sheet template on CD for agency-specific modification </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct follow up calls to individual PIOs </li></ul>
    28. 28. <ul><li>10-ft AHB exhibit at conference attended by over 300 county officials </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity for one-on-one discussions with decision makers about AHB and managed colony issues </li></ul>June 2006 & 2007 Florida Association of Counties
    29. 29. <ul><li>10-ft AHB exhibit at conference to be attended by over 400 city officials </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity for one-on-one discussions with decision makers about AHB and managed colony issues </li></ul>Florida League of Cities August 2006 & 2007
    30. 30. Why Educate the Public About AHB? <ul><li>Public Safety </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect the public from harm …educate about avoiding stinging insects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organization/Agency Reputation . . . Be Prepared </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Whether or not you have the primary responsibility, you will be accused of not preparing your community/constituents about possible attacks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Protect Florida Agriculture … Managed Bee Colonies provide 1/3 of Florida’s food supply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A biological void that can be more easily filled by the African honey bee </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. A Balanced Message . . .
    32. 32. What should you do to avoid being stung? What should you do if you are being attacked by stinging insects?
    33. 33. Bee Alert <ul><li>Check the environment around your homes regularly for possible bee nesting sites – plug holes </li></ul><ul><li>Look for bees in work areas before using power equipment – noise excites bees </li></ul>
    34. 34. Bee Proofing <ul><li>Africanized honey bees nest in a wide variety of locations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need openings >1/8 inch, cavity behind the opening for a nest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eliminate shelter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Caulk cracks in walls, foundation, and roof </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fill or screen holes >1/8-inch in trees, structures, or block walls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Screen attic vents, irrigation boxes, and water meter box holes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove trash or debris that might shelter honey bees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fill or cover animal burrows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secure window screens to fit tightly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Close shed doors tightly and keep in good repair </li></ul></ul>Hole leading to cavity
    35. 35. Colony Removal <ul><li>Disturbing a defensive colony by untrained personnel could endanger people and pets up to 150 yards away from colony. </li></ul><ul><li>Only experienced persons with protective equipment should attempt to remove or eliminate bee colonies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improper removal can cause bees to attack bystanders. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Numerous insecticides are approved for use on bees. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use foam. Soapy water doesn't work effectively on a colony because honey comb prevents adequate coverage. </li></ul></ul>
    36. 36. <ul><li>If attacked, cover your mouth and nose and run inside a building, vehicle or other enclosure </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t swat at bees – only makes them more defensive </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t jump in a pool – they’ll wait for you </li></ul><ul><li>If stung, scrape off the stinger with a fingernail or credit card </li></ul><ul><li>Call a pest control company to remove the hive </li></ul><ul><li>Seek medical attention if necessary </li></ul>Bee aware ... look, listen, run
    37. 37. FDACS/DPI Helpline 888-397-1517 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry
    38. 38. Thank you. Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Without honey bees, approximately one third of the food we eat every day would disappear due to the lack of pollination.