ARICANIZED BEES HAVE INVADED
PRISONERS AND GUARDS
ATTACKED BY BEES
- A swarm of bees attacked at least six guards and inmates at a
women’s correctional facility in Pembroke Pines after an inmate stepped on a nest of bees.
FORT MYERS MAN STUNG BY HUNDREDS OF
Ft Myers FL - A Fort Myers man was attacked and stung by
hundreds of bees Saturday afternoon. He said - it weren't for a complete stranger, he'd probably be
FIREFIGHTERS FEND OFF THOUSANDS OF KILLER
West Palm Beach FL
- Firefighters had
an added challenge while battling a blaze at a vacant West Palm Beach home Wednesday - they also had to fend
off thousands of Africanized killer bees.
BEES ATTACK GRASS
MOWER AT ISLAND PARK IN BONITA SPRINGS
FL - Matthew Prueter didn't hear the buzz, but he felt the
stings. Prueter, a public
works maintenance employee for the city of Bonita Springs, was cutting grass at the city's Island Park on July 9
when he was attacked by what are believed to be Africanized bees.
Miami Gardens FL - A South Florida family was mourning the loss of
their dog Friday, but experts say they could've died too if the bees would have attacked
Africanized honey bees (AHB) have made their way into the state of Florida. AHBs breed and
compete with the European strains of honey bees that normally inhabit our state. Because Florida's AHB population
is increasing, it is important to become familiar with AHBs and their behavior.
Although they are often referred to as
killer bees, the correct term is Africanized honey bees. Another common mistake is describing them as
aggressive. Their behavior is actually defensive--they react to human invasion of their environment and defend
themselves when necessary. Attacks occur when people get too close to a nesting colony of AHBs. The AHBs do
not sit around and plot attacks on humans.
FOR PROFESSIONAL BEE REMOVAL
SOUTH FLORIDA call 305-895-6430
Global call 1-866-312-PEST (7278)
Frequently Asked Questions
Africanized Honey Bee in Florida
- What's the difference between Africanized honey bees
(AHBs) and regular bees?
Not much! The “regular” honey bees that beekeepers manage (European honey bees)
are actually a little larger than the AHB. The most notable differences are the AHB's propensity to nest basically
anywhere—including close proximity to humans—and the AHBs' increased defensiveness. All honey bees are defensive;
that means if a colony is disturbed, bees will come out of the hive to defend against the possible intruder.
European honey bees will send out 5-10 bees to defend an area about 20 feet around the colony, but if an AHB colony
is disturbed, it may send out several hundred bees to defend an area up to 40 yards around the
- Is it possible to tell an African honey bee from a regular
or European honey bee by looking at it?
No. The size difference is very subtle. The only way to be sure is via laboratory
testing. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services uses a system called FABIS:
the fast African bee identification system, which is conducted at one of their labs.
The bee samples they test are usually sent in from feral (or wild) colonies that have been eradicated. If a
bee's identity remains questionable after FABIS testing, FDACS will use the USDA-ID test (a more
comprehensive morphological test) to confirm the bee's identity.
- I watch nature programs on television; does this qualify
me to be able to tell the difference between AHBs and EHBs by looking at
No. The only visible difference is the size, and AHBs are only 10% smaller—it is
nearly impossible to tell without the help of lab tools and specific measurements.
- Is the Africanized bee the same as the killer
“Killer bee” is the name given to the Africanized bee by the media and Hollywood.
The sting of an Africanized bee actually contains less venom than that of a European bee. However, Africanized bees
have caused human and animal fatalities as a result of their heightened defensive characteristics (thus more stings
from more individual bees), so it is important to carry a healthy respect for AHBs.
- What's the difference between African and Africanized
Technically, African refers to the pure race of bees that live in Africa.
Africanized refers to the hybrid that results from African and European bees mating. The terms are often (though
not always correctly) used interchangeably. AHBs in Florida are probably mostly Africanized although the only way
to be sure is via laboratory testing.
- Do Africanized bees hunt people down and kill
No, the only thing they hunt for is pollen and nectar from flowers. However, if
an AHB colony is disturbed, the bees will defend their nest.
- Do Africanized honey bees produce
Yes. AHBs are honey bees and do produce honey. However, they are not easily
managed in Florida because of their defensive characteristics.
- How many times can the Africanized honey bee
All female worker honey bees can only sting once. A portion of the abdomen
remains with the stinger when she flies away, and she dies soon afterward. The male honey bees (drones) cannot
- What exactly is a swarm of bees? Is it dangerous when bees
Most people use the term “swarming” to refer to dangerous bee activity or just
bees flying around; however, this is a misnomer. Swarming is bee reproduction at the colony level. When a colony
swarms, the queen leaves the colony along with about 60% of the bees while the remaining colony members produce a
new queen. The cluster of bees (or swarm) that left the colony begins a search for new nesting sites.
Swarming is actually the
cluster moving from its previous colony to a holding area until the bees find a home. Bees in swarms are generally
docile and not defensive as they do not yet have a nest to protect. Despite this, swarms should be removed because
they will soon establish a colony and exhibit defensive behavior.
• What should I do if I see a swarm of bees?
First, stay away from the bees. Even though a swarm is usually docile, honeycomb
construction may be starting (thus a colony being established and defensive behavior being exhibited) underneath
the bees. Second, contact a PCO that handles bee removal.
- If I swat at a bee, will it go
Swatting is not a good idea because it will agitate the bee and cause it to sting
more readily. Also, if the bee's body is crushed by swatting, it produces an odor (or pheromone) that incites other
bees to attack the possible culprit.
PCO stands for pest control operator. A PCO is a professional pest control
company; many PCOs offer bee removal services, yet some do not. Certified PCOs are the only people according to
Florida law that are allowed to apply pesticides to honey bees, so if you are having a honey bee issue, contact a
- Is it true that African bees are wild bees and can never
be managed by beekeepers?
No. In South America and Southern Africa, African bees are managed by beekeepers;
however, this poses a problem in Florida because most bee yards are in closer proximity to humans than they are in
South America. African bees will live anywhere regular European bees will live. It is illegal for Florida
beekeepers to knowingly keep African honey bees.