Africanized Bees

Leave The Handling of the Africanized Honey Bee to Licensed Professionals Like Us

In a contest between a Rottweiler and an Africanized bee, who do you think would win? When it comes to facing an angry swarm of Africanized bees, a dog in southern Florida didn’t stand a chance. At the moment the official verdict on whether these were actual killer bees is still to be determined by etymologists, but according to experts on the scene all signs point to the Africanized population. In this case Africanized bee infestation removal procedures were started immediately.

What are Africanized Bees?

Africanized bees are actually a hybrid mixture of honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. The original bees were actually an experiment set up by Biologist Warwick E. Kerr around 1967 in Brazil. These hives were his attempt to breed a bee capable of producing more honey and be better suited to tropical climates. Precautions were taken to prevent interbreeding with local species, but an accidental release changed all of that.

Characteristics of Africanized Bees

Visually you will find little difference between an Africanized bee, a honey bee and one of European decent, in fact most of the time they must be examined by professionals to determine the difference. However, there are some distinct behavioral traits that give clues about which type you may be dealing with, these include:

  • Swarms more frequently
  • More aggressive protection of the hive
  • Deploys larger numbers of bees for defense
  • Will follow intruders much further- up to half a mile
  • More likely to abscond- entire bee colony leaves the hive
  • More guard bees within the hive


Once the bees were out of the hive, so to speak, they quickly began to spread both north and south from Brazil and by 2002 they were found in several southern US states. It was not long before these bees were known as highly efficient invaders. Part of the reason for their successful intrusion is their tendency to abscond, they are much more likely to do so as a stress response than your typical European honey bee.

Another reason they have moved so far is their ability to usurp a hive. Africanized bees will move into a European hive and replace their queen with their own African queen. In Arizona they have seen this type of usurpation to be as high as 30%. They also have some genetic traits that are dominant such as more defensive queen bees and extended foraging behavior.

Killer Bees

Why are these bees known as killer bees? Well amongst researchers this title is debated, because Africanized bee venom is no stronger than your typical European variety. However, their defensive behavior is a force to be reckoned with. Killer bees are more likely to attack when they perceive a threat in greater numbers and over a longer distance than any other bee. It is not uncommon for them to chase an intruder up to half a mile away from the hive. The biggest problem with labeling the bees as “killers” is there is no way to absolutely quantify death numbers due to the fact that a person allergic to bees can perish from any type of sting.

Removal of Africanized Bees

Do you suspect you have a colony of Africanized bees on your property? Africanized bee infestation removal is not something you want to put off until tomorrow. These bees are highly aggressive and can inflict serious pain on anyone they perceive as an intruder, in some cases this attack can end in demise. If you have bees and are unsure of their genetics, it is still a good idea to consider removal. For estimates on Africanized bee infestation removal, call The Bee Detectives at 714-546-4510.