Known to the common person as “killer bees,” Africanized honeybees are a hybrid of the Western honey bee. This bee was produced by cross-breeding with the African honey bee. Although they are originally native to Africa, they eventually were brought over to Brazil in the 1950s, and have since made their way north to the United States, where they now commonly populate much of the southwestern and southern areas of our country. These bees are actually aggressive to the point where they will attack and take over the hives of other honey bees.
In addition to their aggressiveness towards other bees, they’re also much more aggressive towards any perceived threat. When they do feel threatened, they attack in large numbers and may pursue the threat for distances up to a mile in length. Although they are known as killer bees, their venom is no stronger than that of the European honeybee – the most common type of bee in the United States. However, because they attack in numbers, their attacks are more likely to result in death. Even though they receive more attention for their aggression, no one has been able to demonstrate they cause more deaths than the European honeybee, which can kill those allergic to its stings with a single sting. If you aren’t allergic, one or two stings can be dealt with without much danger, but repeated stings can cause you to become allergic.
How to Address Africanized Honeybee Problems
Call a professional – If you believe you have Africanized Honeybee problems, don’t try to address the situation on your own. Call your local exterminator and let them handle it. Remember, when they do attack, they tend to so in large numbers, so just play it safe and let a professional handle the job.
It’s harder to exterminate bees than you think – Sealing the bees inside of their hive seems like it will work, but bees can live for months without eating or drinking. They also thrive on smell, so the smell of their hive must be removed along with the hive itself.
Identification – Believe it or not, you can’t identify Africanized Honeybees with your naked eye. In fact, the bee itself has to be sent into a lab to actually be identified as an Africanized honeybee.
Professionals will wear protective clothing – Killing any honeybee requires this approach. Typically, though, professionals will inspect the ground for nests, which is where these honeybees are most likely to be found. One or more spray treatments may be necessary to completely extinguish the problem.
If you have any honeybee infestation problems on your property, make sure to call your local professional exterminator.