Have you ever been chased by a bee? Sounds scary?
Africanized honey bees, colloquially known as killer bees, have chased humans for more than a quarter of a mile to attack them. Yes! You read that right. They are infamous as “killer bees” because of their easy provocation and high defensiveness. They are the most dreaded and can send chills down your spines.
But what makes them so dangerous? Let’s find out.
What are killer bees?
Killer bees are a result of crossbreeding between East African lowland honey bees, and different subspecies of European honey bees. A swarm of East African lowland honey bees was brought into an apiary in Brazil in the 1950s, during which they managed to escape and mated with local European honey bees. Since then, they have spread rapidly across North and South America.
These killer bees have made headlines on the news from time to time. According to CBS News, more than 30,000 killer bees launched a deadly attack on a Texas couple on their horses. While the couple survived, both the horses died due to the attack. This incident happened weeks after an old man from Texas died after been attacked by 40,000 bees.
How to identify killer bees?
While killer bees may look similar to honey bees, there is one difference between the two. Killer bees are slightly smaller in terms of body size as compared to honey bees. In terms of their color, killer bees are golden yellow and feature dark brown bands on their body. It is difficult to analyze and identify killer bees from a distance, and it is highly advisable to have an entomologist observe them under a microscope to confirm the species.
What makes killer bees so dangerous?
- They attack in swarms:In the case of domestic honey bees, they often attack in small numbers. However, when a killer bee colony senses any threat to its hive, they attack in large numbers, often covering entire body parts of human beings.
- They have a toxic sting:The venom of killer bees is equally toxic as European bees. But due to the large numbers in which they attack and sting, the risk of dying due to toxicity is exponentially more. The attack of killer bees can lead to 10 times more stings in comparison to European honey bees.
- They are highly aggressive and sensitive:All bees are defensive, but killer bees are agitated and easily provoked by human presence. The moment they sense a threat, killer bees release a strongly scented pheromone that informs the rest of their colony to start attacking. To add to this, they are extremely fast and will surround their target in huge numbers, often thousands, in no time.
- More Time to Calm Down: The European honey bee colony is known to calm down after 20 minutes. The killer bees, on the other hand, remain aggressive for several hours, increasing the risk.
To conclude, the heightened defensive behavior and their pattern to attack in huge numbers make Africanized honey bees extremely dangerous to humans. If you have elders, disabled individuals, and children in your home, they are at the highest risk as they cannot escape an attack. Therefore, if you notice any beehives in and around your home, call pest control professionals immediately to get rid of them.