How did they get here? Africanized honey bees (AHB) look a lot like other honey bees because they are the result of local Brazilian bees breeding with bees from southern Africa. This occurred when Brazilian scientists brought bees in from southern Africa hoping to breed bees that could adapt to tropical conditions and produce more honey. Several escaped and bred with local honey bees and the rest is history. Unfortunately, they actually produce five times less honey than European bees and are very dangerous. Africanized honey bees are ¾ inches long, just like regular bees and they have fuzzy brown bodies, covered in black stripes. It takes an expert to tell the difference between African honey bees and typical European honey bees.
Are Killer Bee Attacks a Serious Problem?
Africanized honey bees are known for their aggressive behavior when you compare them with European honey bees, earning them the nickname “killer bee”. Because they are particularly sensitive to noise and vibration, they will react to the slightest disturbances to their nests that are built in the ground. They will swarm and attack in large numbers and will chase a perceived threat for over a mile. When an AHB colony becomes frantic, it can last for a long time, as long as 24 hours. Their venom isn’t any more poisonous than that of domesticated honey bees, but because they attack in such large numbers, an attack can be severe, even deadly. Those allergic, the children, and the elderly are at higher risk of severe reactions. Killer bee colonies can contain as many as 80,000 bees and repellents containing DEET will not keep them away from you. The best way to prevent getting stung is to avoid swatting at them. It’s better to blow at them from a safe distance. You can avoid attracting them by keeping food and garbage containers. Rinse out empty food containers before you throw them away and remove sources of standing water around your home. Avoid wearing floral prints, dark colors and loose-fitting clothes and try to avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfume and cologne.
Africanized Killer Bee Sting Effects
If you do get stung by Africanized honey bees, you can expect swollen red bumps on the skin, flushing of the skin and breathing difficulties. You will need immediate medical attention if anaphylaxis is suspected. Symptoms include rashes or hives, itching, tightness or swelling of the throat, nausea stomach pain, vomiting and dizziness. More severe symptoms can include shortness of breath, a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and shock. The leading cause of anaphylaxis-related deaths in the United States are cause by insect stings. If you get attacked by Africanized honey bees, the best thing you can do is run in a straight line for at least a quarter of a mile. Jumping in water will not stop an attack. They will just wait above the water for you the emerge.
Stinging Insect Control
If you find a nest of Africanized killer honey bees on your property you need to contact professional pest control immediately. Killer bees are aggressive in nature and can be extremely dangerous if you try and deal with them on your own. Southeast Florida Pest Control is ready to help. Give us a call today!