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African Killer Bees


Mysteryman
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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.

Bee Invasion?

Africanized bees proliferate because they are less discriminating in their choice of nests than native bees, utilizing a variety of natural and man-made objects , including hollow trees, walls, porches, sheds, attics, utility boxes, garbage containers and abandoned vehicles. They also tend to swarm more often than other honey bees.

The first swarm of Africanized bees was detected in the U.S. in October, 1990 when they were captured in a baited trap at the border town of Hidalgo, Texas. AHB colonies were first reported in Arizona and New Mexico in 1993 and in California in October, 1994. Within a year, more than 8,000 square miles of Imperial, Riverside and northeastern San Diego counties were declared officially colonized by Africanized Bees.

To date, more than 100 counties in Texas, 6 in New Mexico, 14 in Arizona, 1 in Nevada, and 3 counties in California have reported Africanized honey bees. AHB continue the northward expansion of their territories by swarming, the process by which bee colonies replicate.

In May of 1991, Jesus Diaz became the first person to be attacked by AHB in the U.S. while mowing a lawn in the border city of Brownsville, Texas. Diaz suffered 18 stings and was treated at a local hospital.

On July 15, 1993, 82-year-old Lino Lopez became the first person to die in the U.S. from Africanized honey bee stings. He was stung more than 40 times while trying to remove a colony from a wall in an abandoned building on his ranch near Harlingen, Texas.

Arizona's first human fatality from Africanized Bees occurred in October, 1993 when 88-year-old Apache Junction woman disturbed a large Africanized honey bee colony in an abandoned building on her property and was stung numerous times.

Although such fatalities are alarming, Africanized Bees probably present the greatest danger in the U.S. to American beekeeping and American agriculture in general. AHBs often enter European colonies to mingle and mate with them. Such mating results in more hybrid bees having African genes and tendencies dominating over European ones. An entire colony may suddenly take on aggressive and short-tempered behavior.

Bee Safety

The best safety advice is to avoid an encounter with unfriendly Africanized Bees. Be alert for danger. Remember that AHB sting to defend their colony, so be on the look out for honey bee swarms and colonies.

Be alert for bees coming in and out of an opening such as a crack in a wall, or the hole in a utility box.

Listen for the hum of an active bee colony.

Look for bees in holes in the ground, holes in trees or cacti, and in sheds.

Be extra careful when moving junk that has been lying around.

Be alert for bees that are acting strangely. Quite often bees will display some preliminary defensive behavior before going into a full-fledged attack.

When you are outdoors, in a rural area, a park or wilderness reserve, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for bees the way you would watch out for snakes and other natural dangers.

Don't panic at the sight of a few bees foraging in the flowers. Bees are generally very docile as they go about their normal activities.

Bee Prepared

As the number of Africanized bee colonies increases in an area, so, too, does the likelihood of human and animal encounters with them. Serious human injury can be avoided if the habits of Africanized bees are learned and precautions taken.

Wear light-colored clothing. Bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, any thing dark in color could draw the animus of AHB.

Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to disturb honey bees. Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfume.

Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it be and keep family and pets away. Find a pest control company or a local beekeeper to solve the problem.

To help prevent honey bees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of refuse, honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground.

Bee Attack

Obviously, it is best to avoid contact with Africanized Honey Bees. But if contact becomes unavoidable, it is important to know what to do. Bees target the head, and nearly all those who suffer serious stinging incidents with Africanized Bees are overcome by stings to the head and face.

The best method of escaping a bee attack is to cover your head and run for shelter.

Any covering for your body, especially for your head and face, will help you escape. A small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket.

If you do not have these, grab a blanket, coat, towel, anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape. If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.

Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed.

DO NOT JUMP INTO WATER! Bees will wait for you to come up for air.

Once you are away from the bees, evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately.

If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.

Remove stingers as soon as possible to lessen the amount of venom entering the body. Scrape stingers off the skin with a blunt instrument or plastic card. Do not remove bee stingers with fingers or tweezers – this only forces toxins into the victim's body.

AHB Facts

Are slightly smaller than the European honey bee, but only an expert can tell them apart

Defend their hive more rapidly than the European honey bee

Usually sting in greater numbers

Are less selective about where they nest

Swarm more often than European honey bees

Do not have stronger venom than the European honey bee

Each bee can only sting one time – females die after stinging

Eat nectar and pollen and make honey

Are not native to the U.S.; they came from Africa

http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/sep/stories/kbees.html

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They forgot to mention that the northern migration has been stopped. They found that by the mid '90's the bees were nolonger moving northward. They cannot survive the winters. They have been seen as far north as Dallas, Tx, but then the hive dies during the winter. Seems that in Texas they made it to the San Antonio area. They have also had problems with birds and deceases in the northen US.

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Interesting

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Yup, Nobody is right... Sounds kind of funny grin2.gif They stopped moving north like a decade ago... *shurgs*

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I don't think they should of ever moved North, they'll just die from the temperatures. Also so it wont effect me up here in New York ;-)

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  • 3 months later...

I live near Phoenix, AZ and had a hive of African killer bees at my house once. They're very aggressive, chased a bird that flew by their hive and killed it in the park nearby. From what I've heard they are adapting more to the colder climate and slowly moving northward. This website gives maps of all the states that they have been in and the counties etc...

http://www.stingshield.com/all-us.htm

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Yes, V. Intresting. I think this warrants more research on killer bees and insects.

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These are nothing compared to the Japanese Giant Hornet. Those things are like the size of a Dorito, and will kill ANYTHING. Its really REALLY creepy how big those things are.

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2 words..smoke bombs, that will get rid of em

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have these creatures ventured to the united kingdom yet, if not i'm not worried...

plus the cold weather here would kill them off easy...

innocent.gif

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they will slowly adapt... like damn mosquitos thier staying a bit longer around these days in the cold... anyways itll take a long time by the time they reach me if thier just slowly adapting xD

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I'm never complaining about the bugs here again.

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I live near Phoenix, AZ and had a hive of African killer bees at my house once. 

556055[/snapback]

Here are a couple pictures of the hive. It extended into a whole in the patio cieling. The whole hive is covered with bees in the pictures. I wish the quality was better. I tried to zoom in on them, but it still doesn't look that great - you can get the general idea of it though.

post-16660-1112670757.jpg

post-16660-1112670767.jpg

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2 words..smoke bombs, that will get rid of em

556204[/snapback]

LOl i tryed that one time with a bee hive that was in some trees by my house it didnt work very well most of the bees got burned and the other bees got p***ed off becuase of the smoke

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Got em, I witnessed an hour long special of these unholy creatures. Sickest thing ever.

PICTURES: CHECK THEM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/3945000...hornethoney.jpg

http://www.vespa-crabro.de/mandariania/manda2.jpg

no.gif

556116[/snapback]

Ya i saw that show too they said that they would attack other honey bee hives and take it over and dam they were huge! w00t.gif

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2 words..smoke bombs, that will get rid of em

556204[/snapback]

Doesn't matter if you kill a few, the species will always BEE back (lol laugh.gif , sorry couldn't resis the lame joke). I hate how so many species across the world are in places they shouldn't be. Domestic animals are the main problem, but others exist too. Rats were originally from Asia, now they are all over the world. Honey bees (European and African) aren't native to the Americas. Dingos, rabbits, and other animals are destroying ecosystems in Australia. Goats in Hawaii. The list goes on forever. It angers me so much. mad.gifangry.gif !!!! I guess some could say humans are like that too though, spreading all over the world and exploiting ever aspect of nature they can. sad.gifcrying.gif

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I don't have any experience with "normal" bees. These are the only bees I know. I do have a little of a phobia against them. But wouldn't call them killer bees. They can be vicious, but that's just cause they are protecting their hives. We had one in a hole in the wall at my house. We tried to get rid of them with burning newspapers. My dad's allergic so we had to get rid of them for his safety. Eventually we sprayed poison in the hole and blocked it up at night.Our first attempt didn't work. some how they opened the whole. But our second attempt worked. hmm.gif Felt sorry for them cause I could hear them buzzing in the hole for hours and there were some stragglers buzzing around the hole trying to get in.

Edited by Melrsa
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Are you sure cold kills them off? Because we have North American bees where I live (canadian praries) and it gets bloody cold. So what's to stop them from migrating to colder climates, if the bees North American cousins do just fine in this type of weather?

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Are you sure cold kills them off? Because we have North American bees where I live (canadian praries) and it gets bloody cold. So what's to stop them from migrating to colder climates, if the bees North American cousins do just fine in this type of weather?

558053[/snapback]

Most bees die off in the winter anyways. The native bees here in Oregon are furry in the first place, but they lay eggs in holes that are sealed for the winter. European Honey bees will actually throw out the males (mostly workers) to die on their own. The females and select male soldiers will huddle together and go into a hibernation state during the winters.

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I don't have any experience with "normal" bees. These are the only bees I know. I do have a little of a phobia against them. But wouldn't call them killer bees. They can be vicious, but that's just cause they are protecting their hives. We had one in a hole in the wall at my house. We tried to get rid of them with burning newspapers. My dad's allergic so we had to get rid of them for his safety. Eventually we sprayed poison in the hole and blocked it up at night.Our first attempt didn't work. some how they opened the whole. But our second attempt worked. hmm.gif  Felt sorry for them cause I could hear them buzzing in the hole for hours and there were some stragglers buzzing around the hole trying to get in.

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The ones I had - pictures above - you couldn't step within 8 feet of the hive without them in a huge swarm on the attack. They chased me a couple times just while I was in the backyard not even attempting to do anything to their hive (I ran around to the front and inside fast enough luckily the one time ph34r.gif ). Some forms are probably more aggressive than others, but these guys would attack with very little provocation - very defensive.

I noticed your from South Africa. The bees here in the Americas were ones imported from Africa in 1957 that got loose and breed with Brazilian bees. The cross breeding formed an even more aggresive form than the natural ones in Africa or Brazil. So these are kinda like, man-made bees. sad.gif

Here's a short quote from a website:

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.

Are you sure cold kills them off? Because we have North American bees where I live (canadian praries) and it gets bloody cold. So what's to stop them from migrating to colder climates, if the bees North American cousins do just fine in this type of weather?

558053[/snapback]

Honey bees didn't exist in North America until they got here from Europe via ships, so the ones that are common in North America are actually European honey bees. European honey bees have evolved to survive in the cold climate. But what I have heard about the killer bees is that they are slowly adapting to the colder weather and moving farther north. They are able to evolve/adapt much faster because their reproduction rate is much faster than larger animals (which would take much longer to evolve/adapt). So I'm guessing that in the future these killer bees will probably be able to extend their range much further than anticipated.

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The ones I had - pictures above - you couldn't step within 8 feet of the hive without them in a huge swarm on the attack. They chased me a couple times just while I was in the backyard not even attempting to do anything to their hive (I ran around to the front and inside fast enough luckily the one time ph34r.gif ). Some forms are probably more aggressive than others, but these guys would attack with very little provocation - very defensive.

I noticed your from South Africa. The bees here in the Americas were ones imported from Africa in 1957 that got loose and breed with Brazilian bees. The cross breeding formed an even more aggresive form than the natural ones in Africa or Brazil. So these are kinda like, man-made bees. sad.gif

Here's a short quote from a website:

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.

Thanks for the info. Didn't know the cross breeding made them more aggressive. I know we can't exactly cut the grass around them as the mower got them restless. But Don't have many incidences of ppl being killed by a hive of attacking bees. My dads allergic cause he bumped down a hive when he was little and he got stung many time...but that was his own fault rolleyes.gif

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