published Monday, June 17th, 2013

Tennessee agriculture officials on watch for aggressive bees

  • photo
    This 1991 photo shows a close up of an Africanized honeybee or killer bee.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The migration of Africanized bees into Tennessee has state agriculture officials and beekeepers on alert.

The first known instance of the more aggressive bees — sometimes called “killer bees”— in Tennessee came last year. State apiarist Mike Studer told The Commercial Appeal an East Tennessee beekeeper had mail-ordered some bees and called the Tennessee Department of Agriculture when they attacked him, stinging him about 30 times before he could get into his vehicle.

Studer said about 17 percent of that colony had been Africanized.

The department will put out an alert if more of the aggressive bees are found and those colonies will be destroyed.

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