Africanized Honey Bees

Apis Mellifera

Actual Size: 19mm, on average

Characteristics: Brown with black stripes. Colloquially known as “Killer Bees”, though that term includes several types of bees.

Behavior:

  • Africanized honey bees will nest in a variety of locations, including garages, sheds, empty boxes, old tires, lumber piles, buckets, etc.
  • A popular misconception is that their venom or sting is more potent than a European honey bee. In reality, the sting of an Africanized honey bee is no stronger. However, their aggressive nature and the significant likelihood of intense swarming makes them a threat to humans.
  • Africanized bees will migrate in response to food shortage. They are also more likely to abandon a current hive in response to less-than-ideal conditions.
Category:

Pest Description

Africanized Honey Bee Behavior

The primary purpose of Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) is to produce honey and pollinate crops, but this type of bee also has a higher amount of “guard” bees, or specific positions within the hive designed to protect their nest. Africanized honey bees also have a larger “alarm” radius around their hives, and guard bees will aggressively defend against any perceived threat to their nest. While all bees actively protect their nest when disturbed, the intense aggression exhibited by AHB is what separates them from their more docile relative, the European honey bee.

Africanized Honey Bees also swarm frequently in search of new homes. While they are highly adaptive to food sources, able to survive on a lower concentration of sucrose, Africanized honey bees will frequently abandon a hive to find better resources. Because they so closely resemble the European honey bee, proper identification is crucial.

Problems Caused by Africanized Honey Bees

Africanized Honey Bees – also colloquially referred to as “Killer Bees” – have had a number of unfortunate encounters with humans, some even resulting in human death. Their swarms are dangerous and sometimes deadly, for humans with and without bee allergies alike. Trespassing into Africanized honey bee territory is extremely unwise, as the exact “alarm” zone surrounding a hive cannot be determined without some trial and error. These bees are less predictable, much less docile, and much faster than their European cousins, pursuing a threat for up to a quarter mile, and sensing an animal 50 feet or more from the nest. They can also sense large equipment vibrations from 100 feet or more, and there have been a number of unfortunate incidents that have occurred between Africanized honey bees and people tending their lawns.

Africanized Honey Bee Prevention

The key to preventing and avoiding an attack from Africanized honey bees is awareness. Common warning signs are buzzing, groups of bees, or visible nests. Be constantly aware of any possible nest locations, and especially careful around abandoned objects or fields. Exercise caution when walking outdoors with pets or around stray animals, as Africanized honey bees will not distinguish between a human and an animal as a perceived threat. If an Africanized honey bee nest is suspected, do not attempt to remove or disturb the nest in any way. 

Controlling and Eliminating Africanized Honey Bees

Africanized Honey Bees can pose a multitude of problems for property owners. Their nests are unstable, Africanized honey bees are highly unpredictable, and they react aggressively to any perceived threat or movement around the nest. The best and safest way to eliminate Africanized Honey Bees is with professional help. At Pest Control Inc, our pest control professionals resolve Africanized Honey Bee infestations using a variety of different treatment techniques.