The African honey bee also dubbed the “Killer Bee” came to American shores by way of a scientist in Brazil who attempted to create a bee that could increase honey production and better adapt to tropical conditions by crossing the European Honey Bee and the African Honey Bee. What came to be, as he found that these bees were notably more defensive and aggressive. At one point 26 swarms were accidentally released and they escaped captivity ultimately making their way into the World. The bees were first discovered here in the United States in an oil field in San Joaquin, California in 1985. We then discovered the first Africanized hive in Texas by the 1990s. Since then the Africanized Killer Bee has slowly been making its way North and can now be found in at least six states here in the U.S.
What Happens if an Africanized Killed Bee Stings You?
This strain of bees are more defensive over their hives than your typical more docile species of European honey bees and are known to react to simple disturbances more rapidly. It has been noted that they build their hives underground more frequently than other species of bee making them a threat to farmers who have animals moving about or need to use heavy equipment to till their fields. If they sense a vibration in the ground, they will swarm in great numbers to protect their queen and hive. Their venom is no more potent than any other bee, but because of their aggressiveness they attack in greater numbers than other bees and will deliver up to 10 times more stings than their European counterparts. They are known to chase people or animals much further than any other bee and can travel up to a ¼ mile in pursuit of the said threat and have a bigger area around their hive that they protect than other bees.
Killer Bee Deaths Per Year
The Africanized Bee is responsible for more than 1,000 human deaths (about 100 every year) and they have earned the reputation of being one of the most successful biologically invasive species known to mankind. There have also been documented cases of them killing livestock and other animals. They are more defensive when resting and tend to swarm more frequently than any other known types of bees.
Africanized Bee Swarms
When food and weather become undesirable in their current location, they will leave their colonies and travel farther than other species to relocate their hive and start again in an area better suited to their needs. Up to a mile a day! They are not able to survive harsh, cold winters or dry late summers, which is probably why they have avoided certain areas of the U.S. They wouldn’t make it to spring in a place that gets too cold. Their genetic dominance allows them to out-compete their European counterparts in honey production, and when the opportunity is presented, they will likely take over the hives of the more docile European honey bee. This has made the African Bee a popular tool in honey production in Central and South America.
When to Do During a Bee Attack
If you encounter an Africanized hive, run as fast as you can in a straight line for as long as you can to escape the swarm. Cover your head and face with your hands or t-shirt, this is the area Africanized Bees attack the most, leading to greater injury if they can attack these areas. Get to shelter as quickly as possible and NEVER jump into the water attempting to escape them, they will wait for you to emerge from the water and attack again. Once inside, turn off all lights. Lights will attract more bees. Even if a few enter the structure or vehicle behind you, it is far better than the whole swarm making its way in.
Bee & Wasp Hive & Nest Removal & More in Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville & Cedar Park, Texas
You can help stop the spread of Africanized killer bees by reporting feral nests. If you notice stinging insects on your property, call A-Tex Pest Management. We can identify the species and if it is determined to be a species of honey bees, we will refer you to a local beekeeper who can relocate them. Contact us for all your pest control needs!