Africanized Bees aka Killer Bees

Africanized Bees aka killer bees were developed by interbreeding European bees and bees from southern Africa by a biologists named Warwick E. Kerr. They were accidentally released in 1957 and from Brazil they have spread throughout South, Central and deep into North America advancing their range by some two hundred miles per year. Although the venom of Africanized bees is no more toxic than your common honey bee it is the overwhelming response and numbers of stinging bees that makes them so dangerous. Killer bees can be easier to disturb than their counter parts and will stay agitated for up to 24 hours. Foot traffic to close to the hive, loud noises from passing vehicles or lawn mowers are often more than enough to trigger an attack.

What’s Your Tolerance?

It is generally thought that the average adult can sustain up to 500 stings but serious medical conditions will occur thereafter including death. A person under attack should cover their head and run for cover. Please note, these bees often follow victims quite a distance so getting under cover or indoors quickly is crucial. Once safe from further attack the stingers need to be removed to stop more venom from being pumped into their bodies. Scraping the stinger out with a credit card or a dull knife prevents pressure on the venom sac which ‘squeezes’ more toxins into the body.

How do Killer Bees Spread?

This bee spreads by swarming and may travel great distances from the original hive. A new queen bee that has been specially reared leaves the nest and takes with her about 1/2 of the colony. This process is also known as budding and it is the same way which the European honey bee forms new colonies however the killer bee swarms more often. The new queen may lead her colony many miles away or set up in a suitable location much closer. Factors such as population density, abundance of food and water or natural disasters may effect the distance and direction. Since their accidental release this bee has established itself in the south western States to California and as far north as southern Utah. Florida is also an established area for the bee and colonies have been found in Georgia, Louisiana and Arkansas as well.

What Do They Look Like?

The Africanized bee looks almost exactly like the common honey bee and distinctions are only really evident under laboratory settings or from those with extensive training. The killer bees aggressive behavior is unfortunately the tell tale way in which this bee is most often identified.

Treatment and Elimination

Due to the dangers associated with this aggressive bee, I do not recommend any treatment except to call in a professional bee keeper or exterminator if you suspect or find a colony. It’s just not worth the risk!

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • Bobbieduck


  • I’m not sure exactly how long the venom stays inside before the body flushes it out. It may vary from person to person but its effect may last for several hours or even a day later (swelling & soreness) even after the poison is out.