Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as "killer bees," are some hybrid varieties of the Western honey bee species, (Apis mellifera), produced originally by cross-breeding of the African honey bee, with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee and the Iberian. The hybrid bees are far more defensive than any of the various European subspecies. Small swarms of Africanized bees are capable of taking over European honey bee hives by invading the hive and establishing their own queen after killing the European queen.

In 1956, some colonies of African Honey Bees were imported into Brazil, with the idea of cross-breeding them with local populations of Honey Bees to increase honey production. In 1957, twenty-six African queens, along with swarms of European worker bees, escaped from an experimental apiary about l00 miles south of Sao Paulo. These African bee escapees have since formed hybrid populations with European Honey Bees, both feral and from commercial hives. They have gradually spread northward through South America, Central America, and eastern Mexico, progressing some 100 to 200 miles per year. In 1990, Killer Bees reached southern Texas, appeared in Arizona in 1993, and found their way to California in 1995. They are expected to form colonies in parts of the southern United States.

Why Killer Bees are dangerous?
The sting of the Africanized Honey Bee is no more potent than your garden variety honey bee and they look pretty much the same. What makes AHBs more dangerous is that they are more easily provoked, quick to swarm, attack in greater numbers, and pursue their victims for greater distances.
AHB colonies can be very large, and they are not particularly selective about the location of their hives. The Queen Africanized bee can lay up to 1,500 eggs a day.

the American Medical Association has said that seven bee stings per pound can be lethal. Don't forget, however, that people react to bee stings differently. There is one documented case of a man who survived over 2,000 bee stings. There are others who are very sensitive or allergic to bee stings and would certainly not fare that well. Pets are also vulnerable. So far, there have been less than 5 human deaths and a handful of animal deaths in Arizona attributed to Africanized Honey Bees.

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