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Best East Bay Extreme Pet Fad 

Alameda County Beekeepers Association

Poisonous snakes and pythons, potbelly pigs and piranhas — the extreme pets of the past look so dated now. How about this? A pet that has remained as stubbornly feral as it was when prehistoric humans first tried taming it. A pet that will routinely attack even its owner with a suicidal viciousness, one that easily escapes confinement, and kills people around the world every year. Now multiply that one pet by about 100,000 — that's what owning a beehive means. Yet despite that, or maybe because of it, the honeybee seems to be this year's fastest-growing extreme pet. William Smith, president of the Alameda County Beekeepers Association, says that "three or four years ago, we might have had a dozen members at a typical meeting. Lately, we've had more than 50, with at least 100 members actively keeping bees."

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