Africanized 'killer' bees attack Ramona man

Posted at 11:27 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 02:40:24-04
A Ramona man was attacked Saturday by a swarm of angry Africanized bees.  
Joe Minervini was mowing his grass when a cloud of several hundred bees went after him.    
"I was panicking and flailing my arms and all that activity made them more angry," said Minervini.  
He ran 50 yards away to a shed and then to his home.
"They followed me into the house and stung me about a dozen times." They weren't your average honey bees.  "They go for your throat, nose and eyes. They go in for the kill," said Minervini.  
The hive was filled with hundreds of the so-called "killer bees." It was discovered in an old owl box not far from where the retired executive and grandfather was mowing.  
"The vibration from the mower must have triggered them. I haven't caught one damn owl with the box, but it sure brought the bees. So, I am done with owl boxes."  
It's the second time Minervini says he has been attacked by a swarm, both times the hives were found in his owl boxes. Even though the stings were painful he has a healthy respect for all bees.
"They have a purpose, and they are dying off. I was hoping to save them but the African ones need to be destroyed according to the exterminator."  
Rex Harvey of Bemergency Bee Removal is a professional bee keeper and removal expert. He immediately identified Minervini's bees as the "Killer" variety. "The bodies are squatty and the wings are long. If they aggressively chase you for long distances like they did in this case, you know what you are dealing with.
"This genetic hybrid is vicious and they will kill pets and humans. They try to get in your nose, ears and throat, they are going for the kill," said Harvey.
Harvey has been in the bee business for more than 4 decades. He's been stung thousands of times. He has 12 active hives nestled around his home that he draws honey from to sell. He has a great passion and love for bees  and tries to save all that he removes from homes in his business. But the Africanized bee even frightens him.  
He says they were bred in the 1950s and made their way overseas to Southern California roughly 10 years ago.
"They went after me one time, and I ran to my truck. Hundreds were stinging me right through my protective gear. I got in the truck and all I could hear was them attacking the truck. It sounded like small bullets."  
Harvey says the bees like a quiet and dark environment and if you suspect you have a problem, don't take any chances, call an expert.
 "Most of the bees you encounter will leave you alone,  they have had a rough time with the drought and we are losing them, so many are dying off."
While he has spent his life protecting and removing bees, he says the Africanized bees are a different story. "I try to weed them out."