Africanized Killer Bees | Bumblebees | Honey Bees

Africanized Bee.

Africanized honey bees "Killer Bees" in the Western Hemisphere are of mixed descent from 26 Tanganyikan queen bees of A. m. scutellata, accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 near Rio Claro, São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil.

The hives were operated by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, who had interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. Hives containing these particular queens were noted to be especially defensive. Kerr was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would produce more honey and be better adapted to tropical conditions (i.e., more productive) than the European subspecies of honey bee used in South America and southern North America. The hives where the bees were released had special excluder grates to prevent the larger queen bees and drones from getting out and mating with local queens and drones of European descent. However, following the accidental release, the African queens and drones mated with domesticated local non-African queens and drones, and their descendants have since spread throughout the Americas.

Africanized Bees Compared to European Honey Bees 

Tends to swarm more frequently and go farther than other types of honey bees.

Is more likely to migrate as part of a seasonal response to lowered food supply.

Is more likely to "abscond"—the entire colony leaves the hive and relocates—in response to stress.

Has greater defensiveness when in a resting swarm, compared to other honey bee types.

Lives more often in ground cavities than the European types.

Guards the hive aggressively, with a larger alarm zone around the hive.

Has a higher proportion of "guard" bees within the hive.

Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distances from the hive.

Cannot survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing introduction into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers.

Giant hog killed by Killer Bees (Africanized Bees) at a pig farm in Arizona. The hog weighed about 1000 lbs and was killed in a matter of six minutes.

The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanised honey bee and known colloquially as "killer bee", is a hybrid of the Western honey bee species (Apis mellifera), produced originally by cross-breeding of the African honey bee (A. m. scutellata), with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee A. m. ligustica and the Iberian bee A. m. iberiensis.

The Africanized honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in the 1950s, in an effort to increase honey production; but, in 1957, 26 swarms accidentally escaped quarantine. Since then, the species has spread throughout South America, and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in south Texas of the United States in 1990. This species was discovered to have spread into the American Northwest in 2011. Places in the Northwest include Washington, Oregon, and California.[1]

Africanized bees are more aggressive, and react to disturbances faster than European honey bees. They can chase a person a quarter of a mile (400 m); they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times more stings than from European honey bees.[2] They have also killed horses and other animals

Africanized bee
Apis mellifera
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Suborder: Apocrita
Subfamily: Apinae
Tribe: Apini
Genus: Apis
Species: Apis mellifera

In Arizona there are an estimated 4-5 million hives for Africanized Bees with about 40,000 to 60,000 bees for each hive, According to Reed Booth, Killer Bee Removal Expert.

Risk Takers - 112 - Killer Bee Removal Expert (XiveTV Documentaries): Since their arrival in the US, killer bees have killed over two dozen people. Killer bee removal experts must brave the hives—working amidst swarms of thousands of angry bees--to remove them from before anyone else falls victim to their vicious stings.

See also ...
Africanized Honey Bee