A swarm of bees found Tuesday at Putnam City High School could be Africanized honey bees, an Oklahoma State University professor said.
The discovery of the bees caused a freshman baseball game to be canceled and a softball game to be moved to another school, Putnam City Public Schools spokesman Steve Lindley said.
The bees were at the high school baseball and softball fields. No students were injured, though several staff members were stung. The bees were killed by an exterminator. Students were kept away from the field Wednesday.
Oklahoma State University entomologist Phillip Mulder said the bees could be Africanized honey bees, which were first found in Oklahoma in 2004 and in Oklahoma County in 2005. He said school officials were correct to be cautious.
“It's a good idea for people to presume they are dealing with Africanized bees in counties where they are known to exist,” he said.
Africanized honey bees are the result of cross breeding between African honey bees and European honey bees in South America in the late 1950s. Mulder said the goal was to produce a bee that could be competitive and produce honey in a tropical environment. Eventually there was an accidental release of about 20 queens.
“And they've been moving this way ever since,” Mulder said.
About the bees
Africanized honey bees are known to be more forceful in defending their hives but are not necessarily more aggressive than other honey bees away from their hives or swarms.