Tom Stewart, 77, has been a beekeeper for close to 50 years, and he had some expert advice on dealing with bees, which seem to be plentiful lately in the Coastal Bend.
The Corpus Christi man does it as a hobby, making honey to give to friends and family. He has tens of thousands of bees in his backyard at Catalina Place.
"If I hadn't got them, caught them here, they'd be in somebody's tree or in somebody's wall," Stewart said. "So more or less kind of a public service in a way."
Stewart has had his run-ins with bees over the years. He said the Africanized bees that invaded Texas in the 1990s were considerably more aggressive than European bees, but something interesting has happened over the years.
"When they first came, they had more of an Africanized bloodline in them, and they've crossbred over the years with the European bees," Stewart said. "They've mellowed a little bit. 20 years ago, we wouldn't be standing that close to a hive."
Still, when aggravated, they will attack.
"What you want to do is just take off running, as fast as you can, in the opposite direction, 90 degrees to the bee hive," Stewart said. "Run as fast as you can."
And if you do get stung, Stewart has advice for you.
"If you get stung, you'll see that stinger in there, and the venom sack will be pumping. And what you want to do is scrape it out. Don't grab it, but scrape it, because you don't want to pump anymore in there than you have to," Stewart said. "Don't squeeze them. Don't use tweezers. Get a credit card or something and scrape."
You want to get those stingers out, but Stewart said it is important to do it the right way.
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