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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Fall Maintenance Can Help Keep Bees Away

LAS CRUCES Ð Fall fix-up work can help keep bees from setting up housekeeping near you, said a New Mexico State University entomologist.

"Bees are more active in the fall, so it's a good time to make regular bee patrols around your house and yard to get rid of nesting sites and check for bee colonies," said Carol Sutherland with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "Look under the eaves of your home for crevices that need to be repaired and check the areas of the backyard where you haven't moved things in a while."

During the fall and spring, bee colonies divide and establish new hives, Sutherland said.

In residential areas, some of bees' favorite nesting sites are hollow trees, firewood or lumber piles, and stacks of debris or toys, she said. "Any of these areas can be readily colonized by bees."

A Hobbs toddler and a Deming-area couple have been stung recently in backyard incidents involving bees, pointing out the need for caution, Sutherland said.

If you find a bee colony, call a professional pest control operator to remove it, she said. "Because aggressive Africanized bees are established in southern New Mexico, this is not a do-it- yourself project."

To find a professional, check the phone book listings under pest control or bee removal, she said.

How to make a bee patrol:

Once or twice a week during the spring and fall, walk around your home and yard. Listen for the sound of bees. Persistent buzzing may mean a swarm or hive nearby.

Fill in potential nesting sites such as tree cavities and holes in outside walls. Put screens on top of rain spouts and over water meter boxes in the ground. Remove piles of trash and junk.

If you find a bee colony, don't disturb it. Call a pest control professional to remove it.

What to do if bees attack:

Your best defense is to run away as fast as you can. Seek shelter in a building or car where you can get away from the bees.

Seek medical attention immediately if you are stung many times or if you experience difficulty breathing after being stung.

If you are allergic to bee stings or think you might be, talk to your doctor about precautions or medication to carry with you.