Like many other animal and insect dangers in the desert, killer bees attack only when they feel they have a good reason. They don’t indiscriminately swarm and sting, although it may seem that way if you’ve been the victim of a killer bees attack.
What sets these bees apart from honeybees is that a killer bee’s threshold to attack is low. When they do, all members of the hive respond, unlike honeybees that only send a few bees to defend their hive and queen. A killer bees attack may not always make the news, but when it does, it’s usually because the population of the swarm is staggering and injuries are serious.
Origins of Killer Bees
Killer bees are not native to the South and North American continents. They’re actually a cross between a western honey bee and the African honey bee that was introduced to South America in the 1950s. Scientists hoped that Africanized honeybees would be more productive because honey and beeswax have high value as food and a raw material used for candles, waxes and skin care products.
Instead, the hybridization caused the normally peaceful honeybees to develop aggressive and highly defensive behaviors. By the early to mid-1990s, killer bees had entered the southern U.S from South America and promptly began to breed with honeybees native to southern regions of North America.
What Triggers an Attack
Whenever a bee senses a threat to the hive or queen, it sends out a chemical signal to others to join it and go on the offensive. Africanized bees are especially quick to alert others, which is why a killer bees attack is more common and severe.
Animal and human behaviors that might prompt a killer bees attack include:
- Sudden or loud noises. Lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, rototillers, or other yard equipment that starts suddenly and makes noise can alarm the bees.
- Floral perfumes. Whether you use perfume directly on your skin or as a hair or laundry product, Africanized bees will sense it and search you out. During the spring or after a monsoon rain, the hives may swarm to a new location and you could be more vulnerable to a killer bees attack.
- Dark clothing. Cut your risks when hiking or doing yard work by wearing light clothing.
How to Avoid a Killer Bees Attack
Keep an eye on your home and yard. Watch for swarms or bee activity around the exterior, especially around eaves where bees may find a crack leading into the attic where they can establish themselves. Trees are another nesting place for killer bees. They like to be near water, so if you have a pool or are near one, be more observant.
Should you notice any suspicious swarming behavior, contact Budget Brothers Termite & Pests. We’ll visit your property promptly and assess the situation.
When killer bees attack, cover your head and neck. The bees are attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale and attack these areas first. Walk quickly or run to the nearest enclosure. Bees fly slowly and you may be able to outrun them. Do not jump into a swimming pool. They’ll hover over you until you come up for air.
If you find a bee nest or hive near your home or you encounter bees that are aggressive, call Budget Brothers for help.