Posted at: 09/13/2011 7:45 PM By: Joe Bartels, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Aggressive bee behavior has forced officials to issue a warning for people visiting the Lincoln National Forest.
Experts said the bee behavior that visitors are describing is characteristic of Africanized killer bees.
Africanized killer bees are not uncommon to new Mexico and in fact can be found in many parts of the state since invading in 1993.
Recent bee attacks have forest officials warning people to be on the look out.
Summer rains have wild flowers blooming and with those flowers come bees.
"we found two hives in developed campgrounds and we did take care of those," said Dave Warnack with the Lincoln National Forest.
Forest officials say be aware of your surroundings and keep dogs or other animals on a leash.if you encounter bees, leave the area immediately.
Forest officials said aggressive bees have been reported in the Bonito Lake area north and west of Ruidoso, which has prompted the warning for hikers, campers or anyone heading into the forest.
"We've developed warning signs that tell about the danger and some of the reports of aggressive bees and posted those signs at our developed recreation areas and all of our trail heads," said Warnack.
Some people who visit Bonito Lake often said they have not seen bees act like this before.
"I come to Bonito Lake a number of times, this is the first time I've seen them like this," said Neal Brewington.
Experts said the reports suggest the bees could be Africanized killer bees, but the only way to know for sure it to test a specimen which has not happened.
Experts also said if you are hiking in the woods, you won't know you are heading into danger until it's too late.
"they will attack in large numbers, they will sting," said new Mexico State University Entomologist Dr. Carol Sutherland. "The basic thing is to follow that instinct to run like heck and get to as safe a place that you can."
Forest officials said people who are allergic to bees need to be prepared with the proper medication and to tell other people they are traveling with that they are allergic as well.
Forest officials also said they are routinely going to camp grounds and other areas to check for new hives.
No one as been seriously injured because of the bee attacks.