The Africanized bee or the African honey bee is the killer bee. It is a cross breed of the Eastern and southern Africa lowland honey bee and their European counterparts like the Italian bees. The first killer bees were taken to Brazil to help increase the country’s honey production but some swarms escaped quarantine and headed for the rest of South America and North America.
African honey bees look very much like regular honey bees but they are much more dangerous. They have been reported to give chase for at least quarter of a mile to attack anyone or any animal that they feel threatens their colony.
How do they look like?
The Africanized killer bee can be told apart by measuring their body against the domestic bees. They are smaller in size and have a richer golden color with much darker bands of brown compared to domesticated bees.
The killer bees create smaller colonies so they can build a nest inside the house. They have also been known to build a colony inside the water meter, mail boxes, crate and boxes lying around, flower posts and even in uninhabited holes in the ground. Did you notice that all these areas are bound to result in an accidental run in with humans especially children?
Killer beers do not have more potent venom compared to regular domestic bees but because they attack in larger numbers and are very quick to become aggressive they pose a greater danger. These bees are sensitive to any type of disturbance so noise, constant traffic near their colony, children playing nearby and other “disruptive” behavior is bound to trigger them. To prevent attacks it is best to keep away from their colonies especially if you live in an area with a common occurrence of killer bees.
What to do when under attack
When under attack from a swarm of killer bees run in a zig zag fashion and enter a shelter area where the doors and windows shut. This can be a house or a car. Some people run into a body of water but killer bees will wait for you to emerge and resume the attack.
If you notice a bee or several do not swat at them as this makes them feel threatened causing them to spring into action. Blow from a distance so that it feels like a draught of wind pushing at them. Do not use insect repellent when under attack as this doesn’t work either.
How to treat killer bee stings
When killer bees sting they leave their barb in the skin. When the stinger remains lodged in the skin it continues to release venom making the area more painful. Remove the barb and clean the sting site after cleaning apply a cold compress to take the pain and swelling down. You can also use an over the counter antihistamines and pain killers to alleviate the pain and sooth the local reaction. If the reaction persists and you suspect an anaphylactic shock is on the way call 911.