Identifying Africanized Honey Bees (AHB)
These bees have also earned the name, killer bees, because of their aggressive nature. These are a hybrid honey bee that was created by a biologist in Brazil in the late 1950’s. These bees have spread from Brazil to South Argentina, all throughout Central America, and now to the north and into lower sections of the United States. Knowing the difference between an AHB and their counterpart, the European Bee, is often very difficult because they are so similar.
- Difference in Size An Africanized Honey Bee looks almost identical to a European Honey Bee (EHB) except for a small difference in size. AHB’s are usually about 10% smaller than the EHB. This difference, however, is not noticed with the naked eye. The size difference can only be measured with an instrument found in a laboratory. Usually even experienced bee keepers can not tell the difference based on sight alone.
- Difference in Agression. European Honey Bees and Africanized Honey Bees respond very different when provoked. All bees with respond aggressively if they perceive danger to their hive, but the AHB is must more so. The EHB may only send out just a few guards, 10-20 to respond to a threat within 20 yards of the hive. The AHB may send several hundred and have a range of 120 yards from the hive. This is also how many stings you can expect to receive if you encounter a hive. An AHB hive can administer as many as 1000 stings if disturbed. The typical sting count for an EHB Hive is 10-20. Bee Problem Mesa AZ
- Difference in behavior after agitated. A normal EHB hive will calm down after about 20 minutes, and begin to resume their normal activity. There will no longer be buzzing with aggression. An AHB hive on the other hand will remain aggressive for hours after being disturbed. Bee Problem Mesa AZ