African Honey Bees (AHBs) –  Ten Popular FAQs

1. We’ve heard of “killer bees,” what exactly are they?

These so called “killer bees” are actually a form of honey bee called the African Honey. African Honey Bees (AHBs) look exactly like the common European Honey Bee (EHB) . Only highly trained professionals using sophisticated laboratory equipment can tell them apart.

2. Where do Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) come from?

African Honey Bees (AHBs) were first introduced into Brazil in 1956 in an attempt to improve honey production in the tropics. They were accidentally released into the wild, and have been moving slowly towards the U.S. ever since. A few colonies were found in Texas in 1990. They entered Arizona in 1993, along the southern border.

3. How hazardous is a sting by an Africanized Honey Bee?

If you are stung by one Africanized Honey Bee, it’ll be the same as a sting from the common European Honey Bee (EHB) .  The individual stings are not more powerful or painful. In fact, they are slightly less potent than the European Honey Bee (EHB) . Even one honey bee sting may be dangerous, nonetheless, if you are allergic to them. If you’ve symptoms other than pain and localized swelling, you should always seek medical attention immediately.

4. Why are Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) called “killer” bees?

Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) have received a excellent deal of notoriety because they defend their hives (or colonies) so diligently. A lot of more bees come to the defense of the honey bee colony and they are much more likely to sting, even with minimal or no provocation. Victims of attacks by Africanized Honey Bees (AHBs) may  be stung hundreds of times. Away from the hive, notwithstanding, they are no more aggressive than other bees or wasps. They won’t form big swarms and hunt for you.

5. What should I do when I am attacked by African Honey Bees (AHBs)?

The best strategy is to RUN away as fast as you can. Get to the shelter of a house or car as quickly as possible. Because the bees target your head and eyes, try to cover your head as much as you can, without slowing your progress. Do not flail or try to swat the bees, just get away fast. When you are far from shelter, try to run through tall brush. This will confuse and slow them while you make your way out of the area. When you see someone being attacked by bees, encourage them to run away or seek shelter. Do not try to rescue them your self, seek emergency help.

6. What should I do after I’ve reached safety?

When a honey bee stings, it leaves its stinger in the skin. This kills the honey bee, so it can’t sting again. Once you’re away from the bees, remove all stingers from your body. Never pull them out with tweezers or your fingers, as this will only squeeze more venom into the wound. Scrape them out sideways using your fingernails, the edge of a credit card, or with a dull knife. When you’re feeling ill, or if you have any reason to believe you could be allergic to bee stings, seek medical attention immediately.

7. What if I notice a honey bee swarm near my home?

Each spring, and to a lesser extent during the fall, about half of the work force of a honey bee colony separates from the rest and flies out to form a new colony at a different site. While they are in transition, the bees are called a “swarm.” When they are swarming the bees tend to be mild mannered because they do not have a nest to defend, but it is still best to avoid them. Even though they may be resting at a site, they may move on shortly. Do not disturb honey bee nests or swarms. Do not throw rocks, or other objects, or molest with firearms. When the swarm has begun to build a wax honeycomb, they must be removed while the honey bee colony is still relatively small.

8. What if I find a honey bee colony near my home?

Never panic when you find an established honey bee colony in your neighborhood. Keep every one away. Check the Yellow Pages for pest control operators, beekeepers or other bee removal experts in your area who’ll remove the honey bee colony. Never attempt to remove colonies yourself.

9. How do I bee proof my home?

To prevent bees from settling in your house or yard, keep all holes and cavities in trees or outside walls filled or covered. Cover the hole of water meter boxes with a rock and check regularly. Remove any trash or debris that might serve as a shelter for bees, like over turned clay pots. Solitary, foraging honey bees are often attracted to evaporative coolers as a source of water. Bees may be discouraged by placing a few ounces of pine-scented liquid cleaner in the water. Pet water and bird baths may  be attractive as well. Add two (2) table spoons of vinegar per gallon of water to discourage bees. Individual bees collecting pollen and nectar from flowers ought to be left alone.

It is recommended that you (or a service) inspect your home and property at least once a month for signs of honey bee swarms or colonies.

10. Should all bees be killed?

No, beekeepers should be encouraged to keep up their managed colonies. Honey Bees pollinate many vegetables, fruits, and nuts, as well to supplying us with honey.

About John Payton

Bee control expert and founder of a bee control company
This entry was posted in Bee Control, Bee Removal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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