Africanized bee

Africanized bee

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Killer bees are an Africanized hybrid of honey bees. This species is known to the world for its high aggressiveness, and the ability to inflict severe bites on both animals and people, which are sometimes fatal. This type of Africanized bee is ready to attack anyone who dares to approach their hives.

Killer bees first appeared in Brazil after crossing European and American individuals. Initially, it was supposed to breed a honey hybrid, which will collect honey several times more than ordinary bees. Unfortunately, things went completely differently.

What are the types of killer bees?

In nature, there are a large number of insects that can be not only friendly, but also overly aggressive. There are species that attract people, others can repel, while there are those that pose a danger to all living things.

In addition to Africanized killer bees, there are several more individuals that are no less dangerous.

Hornet or tiger bee. This species lives in India, China and Asia. Individuals are very large, the body length reaches 5 cm, has an impressive jaw and a sting of 6 mm. As a rule, hornets attack for no particular reason. With the help of a sting, they easily pierce the skin. No one has yet been able to escape them on their own. During the attack, each individual can release poison several times, thereby bringing intense pain. Every year 30-70 people die from hornet bites.

The gadfly is an insect that has common features with bees. They attack people and animals. The danger lies in the fact that gadflies lay larvae on the skin, which, sensing heat, begin to penetrate the skin. You can get rid of the larvae only with surgery.

African bees

Africanized bees are the only bees of their kind where the queen plays a major role. If the queen dies, the swarm must immediately give birth to a new queen, otherwise the family of Africanized bees will begin to disintegrate. As a result of the fact that the incubation period for larvae takes much less time, this allows insects to reproduce very quickly, occupying more and more new territories.

The history of the appearance of the species

Today, the Africanized killer bee is among the top 10 most dangerous insects in the world. The Africanized bee was first introduced to the world in 1956, when genetic scientist Warwick Esteban Kerr crossed a European honey bee with a wild African bee. Initially, the goal was to develop a new species of hardy bees, but as a result, the world saw an Africanized killer bee.

Scientists have noticed that wild bees have a high level of productivity and speed, as a result of which they extract much more nectar than domestic bee colonies. It was planned to conduct a successful selection with honey individuals and to develop a new species of domesticated bees - Africanized.

Unfortunately, geneticists were not able to see in advance all the features of this idea. For the history of beekeeping, this was the saddest experience, since the bred Africanized bees, with their aggressiveness, crossed out all the positive aspects.

Important! Until now, no one knows how Africanized killer bees appeared in the wild. Rumor has it that one of the technicians mistakenly released over 25 Africanized bees.

The appearance of an African killer bee

Africanized bees stand out from other insects in body size, while the sting is absolutely no different from the stings of domestic bees, to understand this, just look at the photo of the killer bee:

  • the body is rounded, covered with small villi;
  • muted color - yellow with black stripes;
  • 2 pairs of wings: the front ones are larger than the rear ones;
  • proboscis used to collect nectar;
  • segmented antennae.

It is also important to understand that the venom of Africanized individuals is quite toxic and dangerous for all living things. The Africanized killer bee inherited power from African individuals, as a result of which it has the following characteristics:

  • high level of vitality;
  • increased aggressiveness;
  • resistance to any weather conditions;
  • the ability to collect several times more honey than domestic bee colonies can do.

Since Africanized bees have an incubation period of 24 hours shorter, they reproduce faster. The swarm attacks anyone who gets closer than 5 m to them.

Features include increased sensitivity and quick response to pathogens of various kinds, for example:

  • they are able to catch vibration from electrical devices at a distance of 30 m;
  • movement is caught from 15 m.

When the action of the pathogen ceases, the Africanized killer bees retain their protection for 8 hours, while the domestic individuals calm down in 1 hour.


Due to their rapid reproduction and high rate of spread, Africanized killer bees are taking over new territories. The original habitat was Brazil - the place where they first appeared. Today they are in the following locations:

  • Primorsky Territory of Russia;
  • India;
  • China;
  • Japan;
  • Nepal;
  • Sri Lanka.

Mostly insects live in Brazil, but in recent years, Africanized bees have begun to move to new territories, spreading throughout Mexico and the United States.


Initially, genetic scientists bred a new species of Africanized bees with higher productivity compared to domestic bee colonies. As a result of experiments, Africanized bees were born, which were called killer bees. Undoubtedly, this species has a high productivity - it collects much more honey, pollinates plants more efficiently, and works throughout the day. Unfortunately, in addition to all this, insects are very aggressive, multiply rapidly and occupy new territories, harming all living things.

What are the benefits of insects

It was originally planned that the new hybrid will have a high working capacity, which will allow harvesting much more honey. Undoubtedly, all this happened, only the resulting Africanized subspecies of bees acquired excessive aggressiveness, and the experiment led to unexpected results.

Despite this, the African honey bee is capable of providing environmental benefits. Many experts argue that killer bees pollinate plants much faster and more efficiently. Unfortunately, this is where their benefits are over. Due to their speed of movement and reproduction, they cannot be completely exterminated.

Advice! During the bite, it is worthwhile to calm down, since the stressful situation causes the poison of the Africanized killer bee to spread through human blood much faster.

Why insects are dangerous

In the process of movement, Africanized bees cause significant damage to beekeepers, destroying bee colonies and taking their honey. Environmentalists are concerned, because the further spread of Africanized bees will lead to the fact that domestic individuals will be completely destroyed.

Killer bees attack anyone who dares to approach them within a 5 m radius. In addition, they are carriers of dangerous diseases:

  • varroatosis;
  • acarapidosis.

To date, about 1,500 deaths have been recorded from Africanized bee stings. In the United States, there are far more deaths from killer bees than from snakes.

Doctors have calculated that death occurs from 500-800 bites. From 7-8 bites in a healthy person, the limbs will begin to swell, and pain will appear for a while. For people with allergic reactions, the sting of an Africanized killer bee will turn into anaphylactic shock and subsequent death.

The first death involving Africanized bees was recorded in 1975, when the death overtook the teacher of the local school, Eglantina Portugal. A swarm of bees attacked her on her way from home to work. Despite the fact that timely medical assistance was provided, the woman was in a coma for several hours, after which she died.

Attention! A rattlesnake bite equates to 500 killer bee stings. When bitten, a dangerous toxic poison is released.

Ambulance for bites

In case of an attack by Africanized killer bees, it is necessary to immediately report this to the rescue service. Panic in this case is best postponed. An attack of up to 10 bites for a completely healthy person will not be fatal. From damage of 500 bites, the body will not be able to cope with the poison, which will lead to death.

The high-risk group includes:

  • children;
  • elderly people;
  • allergy sufferers;
  • pregnant women.

If after a bite a sting remains in the body, then it must be immediately removed, and gauze soaked in ammonia or hydrogen peroxide should be put in place of the bite. The bitten person should drink as much water as possible if there is an allergic reaction. You should immediately seek medical help.

Important! People who are at high risk are subject to hospitalization.


Killer bees pose a serious threat not only to humans, but also to animals. It is important to understand that their poison is quite toxic, spreads quickly through the blood and is fatal. In the process of moving, they can attack apiaries, destroy bee colonies and steal the honey they have collected. To date, work is underway to destroy them, but due to the peculiarity of quickly moving and multiplying, it is not so easy to exterminate them.

Watch the video: Africanized Honey Bees Attack, Why do they do that? What should you do? Beekeeping Lesson (February 2023).

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