How the African honey bee differs from the Domestic Honey Bee
The behavior – not the appearance – of the Africanized honey bee is different from the Domestic Bee in four major ways –
The Africanized honey bee swarms much more frequently than other Domestic Bees. A colony is a group of bees with comb and brood. The colony may either be managed (white hive boxes maintained by expert beekeepers) or wild (feral).
A group of bees that are in the process of leaving their parent colony and starting a nest in a new location is called a “swarm.” Ordinarily a new queen is reared to stay with the parent colony and the old queen flies off with the swarm. Scout bees often locate potential nest sites prior to swarming, but the swarm may spend a day or two clustered in impressive, hanging clumps on branches or in other temporary locations until the bees settle on a new nesting site. If they can’t find a suitable location, the bees may fly several miles and cluster again.
Normally an Domestic Honey Bee hive will swarm once every 12 months. Notwithstanding, the Africanized honey bee may swarm as often as every six weeks and can produce a couple of separate swarms each time. This is important for you to know, because if the Africanized honey bee swarms more often, the likelihood of your encountering an Africanized honey bee swarm increases significantly.
Regardless of myths to the contrary, African Honey Bees don’t fly out in mad swarms to randomly attack unlucky victims. Notwithstanding, the African honey bee can become highly defensive in order to protect their hive, or home. Again, it is now better to consistently exercise caution with respect to all bee activity. So keep your distance from any swarm of bees.
The Africanized honey bee is far less selective about what it calls home. The Africanized honey bee will occupy a much smaller space than the Domestic Bee. Known Africanized honey bee nesting locations include water meter boxes, metal utility poles, cement blocks, junk piles, and house eaves. Other potential nesting sites include overturned flower pots, old tires, mobile home skirts, and abandoned structures. Holes in the ground and tree limbs, mail boxes, even an empty soda pop, can can be viewed as “home” to the Africanized honey bee.
The Africanized honey bee is extremely protective of their hive and brood. The Africanized honey bee’s definition of their “hone turf” is also much larger than the European Domestic Honey Bee. Additionally, attempt to allow ample physical distance between the hive. At least 100 feet, or the width of a four-lane highway, is a good distance. The best advice is that when you see a bee hive, start moving away immediately.