Every time you watch a movie with bees giving chase and waiting for the protagonist to emerge from the water in order to continue a vengeful attack the movie makers are depicting Africanized bees. The Africanized bee is also known as the killer bee but on a positive note it is also the honey bee. The original African bee can be found in East and Southern Africa but they were crossbred with European bees. They retained their aggressive streak despite the cross breeding and remain one of the most reactive species together with their close cousins the African bees.
These bees were first introduced to South America in the 1950s but they made their way into North America with time and made a home in various parts of the country. The Africanized bee has the typical features of a bee ranging from a golden hue to black and yellow lines on the abdomen and a pointy stinger at the tip of the abdomen.
The Aggressive anatomy of Africanized bees
These bees are more defensive and are triggered by loud sound like dogs barking or even loud music. Bees in general react to disturbances but the Africanized bee is faster to react and gets aggravated easily as well.
When attacking they move with a pack mentality. They attack in large numbers and typically deliver up to ten times more stings than the European honey bees would. These species of bees can give chase to animals and people for up to half a mile and they will also wait for you if you immerse yourself in a water body, resuming their attack when you emerge.
According to scientists these bees have a higher presence of the neuropeptide that is formed when the two proteins in a bee’s brain are broken down. The two proteins tachykinin and allatostanin are present in the brains of all bee species but in the Africanized bees they quickly form the neuropeptide which triggers their aggressive behavior faster and more intensely. When the bees are not disturbed they do not make this neuropeptide.
Africanized honey bees produce honey and bees wax and they also help in pollination of plants. But they also have a very well-coordinated sting attack that is synched through their production of alarm chemicals.
How to keep Africanized bees away
Africanized bees have a few peculiarities that you can use to your advantage and prevent an attack from them
1. Avoid citrusy perfume and aftershave as it attracts bees to you. Bees have a very strong sense of smell and any scent can disturb or attract them to you.
2. Fill in cracks and crevices so that they can’t build their hives on or in your house. Honey bees can nest in flower pots or a nook in the roof.
3. Don’t hike on unbeaten paths because they may be unbeaten for a reason. Fi you do decide to hike on such trails keep an eye out for bees bumping into your head and move away as fast as you can.
4. Don’t wear dark colored clothes around bees because they attack any dark things. Instead wear light colored clothing.