What is a Killer Bee?

by April Reinhardt
(last updated May 22, 2009)

In 1956, Brazilian scientists attempted to breed a honeybee better able to withstand the South American heat. Some of the honeybees escaped quarantine in 1957 and they bred with local Brazilian honeybees. The next generation of those bees multiplied quickly, and extended their range throughout South and Central America at a rate of more than 200 miles per year.

The descendants of that first generation of crossbred honeybees are known as the Africanized Honey Bee, also called the Killer Bee, since they will viciously attack mammals that unwittingly stray into their territory. The Killer Bee will attack even if unprovoked, proving that it is unnecessary to disturb the hive itself before an attack occurs. In some areas, the insects swarm and attack in response to noise, vibration from vehicles or running equipment, the sound and vibration of music, or even the sound or vibration of soft footsteps.

Contrary to popular myth, the venom of the Killer Bee is no more powerful than that of the regular honeybee. The reason that the attacks of the Killer Bee are oftentimes fatal is because of the number of bees that participate in the attack, and the fact that the Killer Bee will pursue perceived enemies for far greater distances than does a regular honeybee. In fact, Killer Bee colonies can remain agitated for twenty-four hours and attack mammals as far away as a quarter mile from their hive.

Since the initial crossbreeding of bees in 1957, the Killer Bees have formed more complex hybrid populations, breeding with other types of honeybee, such as the European variety. Killer Bees have gradually migrated northward through South America, into Central America and eastern Mexico, traveling up to 200 miles each year. In early 1990, Killer Bees reached southern Texas and have since migrated into parts of Arizona and California.

How can you tell if you have Killer Bees instead of regular honeybees? Only an expert can tell the difference, since they look nearly exactly the same. Here are a few facts about Killer Bees:

  • Killer Bees are slightly smaller than regular honeybees.
  • They are extremely aggressive and sting in greater numbers.
  • They do not have more venom than regular honeybees.
  • Just as with regular honeybees, each bee can only sting one time, and females die after stinging.
  • Killer Bees are less selective than regular honeybees about where they form a hive

If you suspect that you have a Killer Bee hive, call a professional exterminator and do not disturb the bees.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Removing Dirt and Mud from Clothing

The number one rule when trying to clean mud or dirt from fabric is to allow it to dry before attempting to clean the ...

Discover More

Removing Hard Water Stains from Fiberglass

Fiberglass is easily scratched and etched, so before attempting to clean it of hard water deposits, read the precautions ...

Discover More

Correcting Bacterial Blight

While there is no cure for blight, you can take measures to prevent the spread of the disease within your plants and ...

Discover More

Cover Your Entire Back Yard! Flowtron's lantern-style insect killer uses nontoxic ultraviolet light to eliminate mosquitoes, biting flies, and other insects over a 1/2-acre area. Hang it up, plug it in, and you are ready to go. Cleaner, safer, and longer-lasting than messy chemicals. Check out Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer today!

More Pest Tips

Areas Affected by Killer Bees

If you have watched the news at all over the past several years then the chances are pretty good that you have at least ...

Discover More

Eliminating Wasps

There is a main difference between wasps and bees, and that is bees can only sting you once. If you have a wasp ...

Discover More

What to Do about a Bee Sting

Bee stings can be painful. Bees can only sting once as they leave their stinger behind.

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)