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All About Africanized Bees

March 28th, 2017

Little wild hive with africanized bees on tree.

We have all seen killer bee reports popping up in the news much more frequently now than ever before. The media, and especially B-grade movies, love to dramatize the threat and danger of these bees. The question then must be asked: What are killer bees? In actuality, there are no killer bees. Instead, we’re really talking about Africanized bees. But are they the killers we’ve been led to believe?

What are Africanized bees?

Although popular culture refers to these pests as killer bees, they came from regular old honeybees whose queens mated with African bees. In fact, only a scientist can tell the difference between Africanized bees and honeybees—and they need a lab to do so!

African honeybees were imported into Brazil in the 1950’s to spike the local honey production. Less than a decade later, 26 swarms escaped quarantine. They began to mate with the local honeybees as they traveled across South America. Their offspring were dubbed Africanized bees.

Over time, the Africanized bees moved north, making their way into North America in 1985. Their descendants are the Africanized bees of today.

Are Africanized bees more likely to attack people?

This question has a two-part answer. If you encounter an Africanized bee in the wild, it’s very unlikely that it will attack or sting you. They are almost completely uninterested and almost ignore their surroundings. On the other hand, if you come too close to their hive, or disturb the hive somehow, Africanized bees are much more dangerous than their native counterparts.

Africanized bees have a higher population of guard bees in their swarms. These protectors are on high alert at all times. What makes Africanized bees so dangerous is their aggressiveness in defending their hives. They are known to attack faster and in greater numbers, sting more frequently, and are relentless in their pursuit of the encroacher. In fact, they’ll follow you about 50 yards!

If you get stung by one of these bees, then it’s no big deal. However, if you encounter an angry swarm, you have a problem. The stings of Africanized and honeybees are the same; the issue is the amount of stings.

When It Gets Beyond Control

The best way to remove bees of any breed, whether Africanized or not, from your home is to call Budget Brothers Termite & Pest. There are too many accounts of homeowners trying to rid their property of a beehive only to cause a swarm and having a pet or family member being seriously stung. Unlike wasp nests, beehives are inhabited at all times and with a large population. Without proper safety equipment exterminating or relocating a beehive is extremely dangerous.

Budget Brothers has years of experience removing and relocating Africanized bees. We can help you rid your property of bees and keep your family safe! Contact us for more information.

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