Residents say aggressive bees in Brentwood neighborhood - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Residents say aggressive bees in Brentwood neighborhood

BRENTWOOD, TN (WSMV) -

Neighbors in one Brentwood community said aggressive bees have moved into the area.

Chuck Sanders takes pride in his yard, but lately he's been a bit gun shy about mowing the lawn after being stung by what he initially thought were yellow jackets.

"It's a very painful sting and there was a lot of swelling," Sanders said. "But when I actually looked at the bees carefully, they're not yellow jackets.

"These bees ... fit all the characteristics of Africanized bees," Sanders added. "They're very aggressive."

Sanders lives just off Edmondson Pike in Brentwood. In 12 years, he has never had a problem with bees, until this summer.

"The first time I got stung, I got stung on both ankles three times, and they stung through my socks," Sanders said.

Sanders said he's been stung seven times this summer, usually every time he mows his lawn.

Beekeeper Chris Robbins, who runs Tennessee State University's farm in Cheatham County, said it is highly unlikely these were Africanized bees. While they look and act very much like regular honey bees, they are mostly found in Central and South America, as well as the southeastern part of the United State.

"The last documented instance in Tennessee was in 2012, we had a hive in southeastern Tennessee that was 17 percent Africanized," Robbins said.

While he admits without seeing the bees he can't be sure those weren't the so-called "killer bees," Robbins added people often mistake regular honey bees for their close cousins.

"Even though Africanized bees do colonize in the ground, I would say more likely it may have been a nest of yellow jackets," Robbins said.

Either way, Sanders said he is warning his neighbors.

"People should just be very careful with pets, small kids or people with bee allergies," Sanders said. "These are really aggressive bees. They're all over the place in our yard."

Robbins said anyone who encounters bees they think might be Africanized should call their local agriculture office and have an entomologist look into it.

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