Africanized Killer Bees

Here are some pointers regarding “Killer” bees that I have gained from my experience. Most importantly BE SAFE!! This information is based on my personal experience. You should research other sources for additional information.

  • “Killer” bees are real and can kill you. Don’t mess with them.
  • There is no visible difference between regular bees and “Killer” bees.
  • My experience is that about 15% of the wild hives I treat are “Killer” bees.
  • Just because a hive has not caused a problem doesn’t mean it is safe.
  • “Regular” bees generally don’t immediately sting as you get near their hive.
  • Guards at the entrance will warn you by bumping or buzzing you. If this happens, leave.

I share this information to encourage you NOT to go near a bee hive. If you find yourself near one, remember these pointers:

1. Be careful approaching any hive. Bee hives post “guards” at their entrance. The “guards” will see you coming and come out to warn you by bumping or stinging you. “Africanized” hives don’t give much warning. They just attack!

2. RUN if you get stung! When a bee stings, it emits pheromones that say “attack here!” Africanized hives dramatically respond to that signal with thousands of bees trying to sting that same spot. Each sting increases their frenzy. A sting is not normal behavior for bees, and indicates the hive may be “Africanized” or has become dangerous. If you get a random sting that is unprovoked, get out of there and call me.

3. Guard your breath. They can smell it and it can signal an attack. I always hold my breath when approaching an unfamiliar hive. The last thing you want to do is blow your breath right into the entrance of an “Africanized” hive!

4. Know your escape. If you encounter a bee hive, always think about where you will go for safety. Plan for a good long run.

5. Contain the bees.Jump in a car, enter a building (that doesn’t have other people in it!) or something like that. Always consider it is better to be stuck in a car with a hundred angry bees than be outside with thousands!

6. Be Patient. Africanized bees will wait a long time for you. Once you get away from them, know they will be out there waiting for you. In time the number waiting will decrease and you can leave more safely. Always be mindful of others who might be attacked.

7. Don’t Fight. They will win. They out-number you and you cannot fight off a full-blown attack. You have to get away from them.

8. Mind the Animals. Always be mindful of any dogs, horses, or other domestic animals in the area. Their fur protects much of their bodies, but certain spots are unprotected and the poor animal can be attacked.

Most importantly, call a professional to handle your bee problem. Bees are a powerful and potentially deadly force and need to be handled with the proper equipment.