Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tampa Bay Bee Removal

There are always challenges in bee removal. Keeping the bees under control is one of them. With honeybees, it is extremely important to remove their entire nest during an extraction. With yellow jackets, hornets and wasps the challenge is to penetrate their nests with people safe pesticides and eliminate them completely. Alltek Bee and Wasp Removal takes care of all of these things.
The moral is hire a company that understands and has expertise in stinging insects when dealing with any bee or wasp problem. Bee and wasp specialists will have specialized tools designed for the more detailed work of handling stinging insects. They will also understand bee and wasp behavior and be able to anticipate when a nest of bees or wasps are getting out of control, and be able to stop it. General pest control rarely has experts on their staff with that kind of experience with bee removal specifically. But that's not the whole story.
In the Tampa Bay area it becomes even more important to hire an expert bee and wasp removal company rather than a general pest control company. The reason? Killer Bees!
They've been in the Tampa Bay area now for nearly a decade, and there's no stopping them. All we, as a bee removal company can do at this point is to exterminate them at points of contact with human beings.
These bees, if not handled properly, are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. When provoked killer bees leave the nest in much greater numbers than ordinary honey bees and they will sting anything in their path. Once one bee has stung you it leaves a pheromone behind to tell the other bee in the swarm to sting you as well. The ordinary man or woman can handle about 100 stings before death occurs, killer bees have been known to sting in the thousands of times. Again, very dangerous.
So, if you see bees on your property, don't do what so many homeowners have done with disastrous results-attempt to take care of a bee problem themselves. Instead, call a bee and wasp professional. They'll know what to do to get the bees contained and eliminated.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Search Of... "Killer Bees". A Leonard Nimoy Classic

This episode examines the advance of Killer Bees, originally imported to South America from Africa, and their movement northward into Central America, Mexico and their expected arrival in the United States. Experts take a look at what their impact on Brazil, and other areas into which they have moved, and suggest the deadly threat they pose to humans and animals when disturbed. Narrated by Leonard Nimoy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Honey Bee Extinction

We're proud to introduce guest writer Nichelle Van Tassel, daughter of our esteemed bee expert Luc Van Tassel. Below is her essay titled "Honey Bee Extinction an Ecological Issue" in its entirety. She wrote this for an assignment in school and deservedly landed an "A". Enjoy.

Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the food U.S. consumers eat. But in the last 50 years the domesticated honeybee population has declined by about 50 percent. Farmers depend on honey bees to pollinate crops.
Unless actions are taken to slow the decline of honeybee populations many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food supply. Anecdotes of farmers losing their crops owing to the honeybee shortage appear to be on the increase. Last February, for example, there were insufficient honeybees for all the almond blossoms in California. As a result some farmers failed to meet expected yields.
Maryann Frazier, a senior extension associate in the department of entomology with Pennsylvania State University in State College, said honeybee shortages are not yet impacting commercial producers of crops, but that community farmers "are struggling to get bees for pollination." Dewey Caron, an entomologist at the University of Delaware in Newark, started to study the problem of the honeybee decline when he noticed that farmers in the northeastern U.S. increasingly lacked sufficient bee colonies to meet their pollination needs.
The honeybee decline, which is affecting domesticated and wild bee populations around the world, is mostly the result of diseases spread as a result of mites and other parasites as well as the spraying of crops with pesticides.Among the greatest problems is the varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that attacks young and adult honeybees. Attacked bees often have deformed wings and abdomens and a shortened life span. "The varroa mite is also really effective at transmitting disease, particularly viruses," Frazier said. Left untreated, a varroa mite infestation can wipe out a bee colony within a few months.
Another theory for the endangerment of the honeybees is that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is causing the disappearance of the honeybees. The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously home loving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this bizarre theory up.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 percent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast. CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK." The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks. German research has long shown that bee behavior changes near power lines.
Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr. Jochen Kuhn said that this information could provide a hint to a possible caused George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am convinced the possibility is real."
The alarming decline in bee populations across the United States and Europe represents a potential ecological apocalypse. It is an environmental catastrophe that could collapse the food chain and wipe out humanity. Many people don’t realize the vital role bees play in maintaining a balanced eco-system. According to experts, if bees were to become extinct then humanity would perish after just four years. “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man,” said Albert Einstein.
Others would say four years is alarmist and that man would find other food sources, but the fact remains that the disappearance of bees is potentially devastating to agriculture and most plant life.
Reports that bee populations are declining at rates of up to 80 percent in areas of the U.S. and Europe should set alarm bells ringing and demand immediate action on behalf of environmental organizations.
“Bee numbers on parts of the east coast and in Texas have fallen by more than 70 percent, while California has seen colonies drop by 30 to 60 percent. Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping,” apiarist Gene Brandi, from the California State Beekeepers Association, told Congress.
Scientists are stumped as to what is causing the decline, ruling out parasites but leaning towards some kind of new toxin or chemical used in agriculture as being responsible. Experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.
Bee populations throughout Germany have simultaneously dropped 25 percent and up to 80 percent in some areas. Poland, Switzerland and Spain are reporting similar declines. Studies have shown that bees are not dying in the hive; something is causing them to lose their sense of orientation so that they cannot return to the hive. Depleted hives are not being raided for their honey by other insects, which normally happen when bees naturally die in the winter, meaning that there must be some kind of poisonous toxin is driving them away.
Scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi, a sign that the insects’ immune system may have collapsed.
A study at the University of Jena from 2001 to 2004 showed that toxins from a genetically modified maize variant designed to repel insects, when combined with a parasite, resulted in a significantly stronger decline in the number of bees than normal.
According to Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a professor at the University of Halle in eastern Germany, and the director of the study, the bacterial toxin in the genetically modified corn may have altered the surface of the bee’s intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry. Or maybe it was the other way around.
The hyperbole surrounding man-made global warming is swallowing up all the attention while real dangers like the rapid die-off of bee populations and its link to GM food is largely shunned by governments and activist foundations.
Making bees all but extinct would be a swift and plausibly deniable method of enacting global population reduction.
Possible solutions
With honey bee colonies mysteriously dying at alarming rates across the United States the national July 10 “holiday” known as “Don’t Step on a Bee Day,” designed to prevent barefoot summer fun seekers from getting stung, has taken on new importance. The Buzz Bakery in Alexandria, Virginia, is donating proceeds from the sales of its bee-themed sweets—like its bee-shaped sugar cookies, honey ice cream, and dark chocolate-honey truffles to researching the causes and solutions of the honey bee crisis.
My family owns a bee removal business, and we try to save the honeybees if at all possible. First the technicians visually assess the situation locating where exactly the bees are living, taking into consideration construction issues. Then they determine the best course of action with the approval of the person in charge. They can do live extractions of bees where feasible or eradicate them if it is too damaging to property or economically too costly. They employ environmentally friendly insecticides that are safe for people, animals and the environment. Safety of persons and property is our first consideration in deciding on any treatment type. If it is necessary to remove combs they do so after getting permission from the person in charge. They make every attempt to repair and replace material removed to allow access to combs. They treat the affected area with longer term insecticides and seal to prevent reinfestation. They only kill bees when there is absolutely no other option.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Thanksgiving Remember the Pilgrim and the Bee.

     When we think of Thanksgiving the first image that comes to mind is that of the Pilgrims. They were the first settlers of America who were fleeing wars, poverty, land laws and religious persecution from Europe. What many people however don't know is that the Pilgrims didn't arrive alone. They brought honey bees with them.
     The reason they brought honey bees is that they also brought many native European plants to help them colonize the "new world". The early settlers knew that honeybees were the main source of pollination for many of these plants, and they also knew that without the honeybees the plants would not survive to give them a harvest- and a failed harvest would mean no new seeds for them to begin the cycle again.
     The interesting thing to note is that there were no native honey bees in North America when the first settlers arrived. Every bee you now see on your lawn came from these first bees and new strains of bees were only added at a much later date.
     The settlers used a device to transport and house bees that is much different than the beehive we associate with beekeeping today. The device was called a skep.  This vessel was very limited in the way one could manage a colony of bees and the settler’s beekeeping skills at the time reflected that. For the Pilgrims to harvest honey from the skep they were forced to kill off the entire population. They then relied on new swarms to replenish these hives, and the cycle would begin again. This process was maintained for several hundred years before a new vision would come along to replace it.

   Two different sized straw skeps.

     The invention that changed it all was that of the moveable frame hive, or Langstroth hive. This hive was so named because its inventor, Reverend L.L. Langstroth, would have a moment of clarity and discover "bee space". Bee space is approximately 3/8's of an inch. This is the amount of space bees need to move freely between their honey comb. If too little space the bees produce propolis, or bee glue. If too much, they produce burr comb, or irregular shaped honey comb. With this discovery he produced the first "modern hive" which is the box that most people imagine when thinking of beekeeping, and the era of modern beekeeping was born.

   Our modern beehive.

     Further advancing beekeeping was the invention of the smoker. With this device bees could be calmed to be worked more effectively. Before this contained fire box was introduced beekeepers were forced to use hand held smoke makers, and other make shift devices, making it very difficult to work bees in a safe and orderly manner.

    Stainless steel bee smoker.

     Another breakthrough would be foundation. Foundation is a pressed sheet of bees wax that has the familiar octagon embossed on it. With this invention getting the bees to make comb where it is most advantageous to the beekeeper become possible.

   Several sheets of wax foundation.

      Lastly, the extractor was born. This machine made it possible to extract the honey from large numbers of movable frames at one time. This invention made possible the ability for a small number of men to harvest massive amounts of honey. And so the commercial beekeeper was born.

    A honey extractor. Note the one frame, this extractor holds 20 frames.

     So, as you eat your Thanksgiving dinner this year remember that every third bite comes directly or indirectly from honey bee pollination. And remember to thank both the Pilgrims and the honeybee because with one and not the other none of us would be here today to thank them.

About Us

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Florida, United States
Alltek Bee Removal is a fully licensed and insured pest control company specializing in stinging insects. We provide extermination and control services for yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and killer bees as well as live bee removal for all non Africanized honeybees. If you have a bee or wasp problem give us a call toll free at 877.455.BEES(2337). You'll bee glad you did! Proudly serving Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples, Miami, Daytona, Orlando and all surrounding areas in Florida.