Rescue volunteers brush up on bee basics

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Volunteers with SouthernArizona Rescue Association heard Friday night from retired U of A entomologistCarl Olson about how bees behave so that they can avoid problems on the trailsand in the mountains this summer.

Olson told them thatwhile many people worry at the sight of swarms, those bees are slower and onthe move.  He said that the real concern is when bees are spotted enteringand exiting a hive or a hole.  Those bees will protect their colony.

Olson said that thefirst few bees will only hit a person as a warning.  That's the signal toturn and run or walk away quickly.  The person should cover their face andhead because the bees will aim for the easiest, most sensitive area.  Ifthe person is stung, that will alert more bees to the location and theywill follow to protect the colony.

"So the bees giveyou that signal, and you take the signal and leave.  And they'll go backto the hive, no big deal.  But if you don't and the next bees come out,they're going to go for your head because that's the place that they can get toquickly," Carl Olson said.

"They're upsettingthe colony, they're in its territory, and the bees are just trying to get themout of the area," said SARA volunteer Mike Jennings. "Typically, what we're seeing is climbers."

SARA recommends climbersto check the areas they're climbing for hives or holes; or any sights or soundsof bees.

When fleeing bees, seeka car or house or other enclosed shelter.  Do not jump in water because theywill wait for you to come up for air.

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