African Honey Bees (AHBs) and European Honey Bees (EHBs) are similar in that they –
• appear exactly the same.
• both sting in defense of themselves or their colony.
• can only sting one time.
• have the same kind of venom.
• are responsible for pollinating flowers.
• produce honey and wax.
African Honey Bees (AHBs) will live about anywhere they can find shelter. This means that the African Honey Bee (AHB) is more likely to be found in trees, in the sides of buildings, in drain pipes, in water meter valve boxes, in old abandoned appliances, in piles of junk, and even in holes in the ground. In addition, African Honey Bees (AHBs) –
• African Honey Bees (AHBs) react much more swiftly and more bees sting.
• Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) can sense a threat from people or animals 50 ft or more from their nest.
• Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) sense vibrations coming from power equipment 100 feet or more from nest.
• African Honey Bees (AHBs) may chase a perceived enemy 1/4 mile or even more.
• Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) swarm frequently in order to set up new colonies.
• African Honey Bees (AHBs) nest in smaller cavities and sheltered areas.
• Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) move their entire colony readily (abscond) if food is scarce.
Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) are very protective of their colony. If someone gets too near a hive, some bees may become disturbed and react by stinging them. A problem with Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) is that they will defend a bigger area around their colony, are more easily disturbed, and will respond in greater numbers once an intruder has been detected. To be safe, students ought to stay away from areas where they have seen groups of bees.
On the other hand, remember that bees on flowers are working gathering pollen and nectar (foraging). Foraging bees are AWAY from their colony and are not as likely to sting unless they are trapped or harmed in some way. Students do not need to be excessively alarmed about bees visiting flowers.