Africanized Bees

Africanized bees, also known as killer bees, are hybrids of the African honeybee with various European honeybees descended from 26 Tanzanian queen bees accidentally released in 1957 in Southern Brazil.

Characteristics of the Bee

The Africanized Honey Bee, more popularly known as the "killer" bee, has the general appearance of the more temperamental European Honey Bee. However, they are slightly smaller, but only microscopic measurements in a laboratory would be able to distinguish between the two. They are robust, 3/4 of an inch in length, and are covered in fuzz. They are brownish in color with black stripes that aren't as distinct as those on wasps or hornets. They have four clear wings that are attached to the thorax, which is the middle section of the body. The six legs are also attached to the bottom of the thorax. The abdomen is larger than the thorax and ends in the stinger, and the head is smaller than both of the sections. The two compound eyes are large and bulbous and allow the Africanized Honey Bee to see ultraviolet rays, enabling them to fly at night. The queens are the largest bees in the social structure, followed by the drones and then the workers.
An image of a bee

Bee Behavior

Africanized Honey Bees and European Honey Bees may be similar in appearance, but not in behavior. Africanized Honey Bees will attack when unprovoked, and they respond rapidly and in large numbers to disturbances. Africanized Honey Bees can sting only once, they deliver a venom. These bees die shortly after leaving their stings and ends of their abdomen in their victim.

Many other basic Africanized Honey Bees traits include:
  • The Ability to Survive on Sparse Supplies of Pollen and Nectar
  • Exploring New Habitats Very Quickly and is Not Particular About Its Nesting Site
  • Frequent Swarming to Establish New Nests
  • A Highly Defensive Nature
  • Minimal Hoarding of Honey
  • Moving Their Entire Colony Readily (Abscond) if Food is Scarce
  • Pursuing a Perceived Enemy 1/4 Mile or More
  • Responding More Quickly and More Bees Sting
  • Sensing a Threat From People or Animals 50 Feet or More From Their Nest
  • Sensing Vibrations From Power Equipment 100 Feet or More From Nest

Reporting Africanized Bees

If you see a swarm or have nest of Africanized Bees outside a structure please stay as far away and call 956-542-3437.
If there is bees please contact the local health department or a local exterminator. Do not attempt to exterminate or eradicate on your own. 

For an emergency please call 911, Fire, EMS, or Police.