Not-so killer bees
Jan 31, 2019 | 220 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

What comes to mind when you read this headline from last week’s T-I?

“’Killer bees’ interbreeding with domestic honey bees in Grand, San Juan counties.”

Sounds like a bunch of invaders are pillaging our neighborhoods and violating our virgin queens. Imminent catastrophe? (Maybe a wall would have kept them out…)

The real situation is revealed after the bold attention-grabbing headline, when we read that “...none of [the bees] tested have exhibited the extreme defensive behavior that corresponds with the so-called African Killer Bee.”

The facts on the ground are positive and reassuring. (no killer bee behavior in southeastern Utah), not fearfully negative by implication. How many readers will just scan the headline and start worrying about aggressive bees on their doorstep and begin spraying poison on every bee they see?

As someone who has spent several decades helping people understand and appreciate honey bees, I was disappointed in last week’s headline. So much of the news these days is tilted toward sensationalism and attention grabbing. Why not convey the important, but less dramatic, information right up front?

–Jerry Shue

Grand County honey bee inspector

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