Killer Bees: What you need to know.

Bee Colony
Bee Colony

What are Killer Bees?

Killer bees are either Africanized honey bees or a hybrid of African and European honey bee species. Africanized bees were accidentally introduced into the ecosystem from a laboratory in Brazil in 1956, where scientists were attempting to create a strain of bee with improved honey production.

The Africanized queens and consequently the colonies escaped, swarmed and began to quickly establish themselves throughout South and Central America. The first sign of Africanized bees in the United States was in October 1990, in Southern Texas. The bee then spread steadily across the southern part of the United States where the winters are mild and the summers are very warm. However scientists and entomologists believe that the Africanized bees are now adapting to colder climates and roaming further north and into colder climates.

What does a Killer Bee look like?

People are often surprised to learn that killer bees are in fact slightly smaller in size than European bees. They are however virtually indistinguishable from each other when viewed with the naked eye and precise identification can only be done microscopically.

The Africanized bee will become agitated as a result of a perceived threat ten times quicker than a European bee. The latter will stay closer to their hive to defend it if they feel threatened and most of the colony will stay inside and start working to remove their honey stores, leaving just a few guard bees to see off the threat. However a larger number of Africanized bees will leave their hiveto defend it, surrounding the perpetrator and inflicting as many stings as possible and are also likely to chase the perpetrators for up to a quarter of a mile. It is this behavior pattern that has led to them being called 'Killer bees'. One of the main reasons why they behave in such an aggressive collective manner is that unlike the European honey bee their main focus is not on their honey stores, but on multiplying their numbers. This is because they are originally adapted to live in warm climates where winter hibernation is not necessary and therefore the need for large honey stores does not arise. For this reason they collect much more pollen (necessary for growth in young) and as a result are in fact better pollinators. The Africanized bees will often invade a European bee colony replacing its queen with one of their own.


European honey bees swarm once or twice a year, whereas the Africanized honey bees swarms ten times or more a year allowing them to colonize much larger areas. Furthermore, the Africanized bees will completely abandon from their nests whenever environmental factors become unfavorable, whereas European honey bees rarely ever abandon a nest completely.

Is the bee hive on my property Africanized?

Without looking at a bee under a microscope it is very difficult to tell. The easiest way to determine is by how aggressively the bees protect the colony. Unfortunately by then it might be too late. That's why you should always call a professional to handle your bee infestation. Admiral Pest Control does bee hive removal, honey comb removal and clean up, and provides same day service. Call us for you bee problem at 866-400-1915

Honey bee
Honey bee