Africanized Honey Bees (aka “Killer Bees”)
About “Killer Bees”
Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) — also called Africanized bees or killer bees — are descendants of southern African bees imported in 1956 by Brazilian scientists attempting to breed a honey bee better adapted to the South American tropics.
When some of these bees escaped quarantine in 1957, they began breeding with local Brazilian honey bees, quickly multiplying and extended their range throughout South and Central America at a rate greater than 200 miles per year. In the past decade, AHB began invading North America.
Africanized bees acquired the name killer bees because they will viciously attack people and animals who unwittingly stray into their territory, often resulting in serious injury or death.
It is not necessary to disturb the hive itself to initiate an AHB attack. In fact, Africanized bees have been know to respond viciously to mundane occurrences, including noises or even vibrations from vehicles, equipment and pedestrians.
Though their venom is no more potent than native honey bees, Africanized bees attack in far greater numbers and pursue perceived enemies for greater distances. Once disturbed, colonies may remain agitated for 24 hours, attacking people and animals within a range of a quarter mile from the hive.