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Pest Library

Africanized Honeybee

CHARACTERISTICS
Size: Color:
About 1/2-inch in length. Golden-yellow with darker bands of brown. Some specimens appear a darker brown than others.

Behaviour

Africanized honeybees (AHB) are actually a subspecies of the European honeybee, and the two look exactly the same. Only an expert making numerous microscopic measurements can tell the two apart. The difference, however, becomes readily apparent in the aggressiveness of the AHB when its colony is disturbed, lending to its nickname "killer bees." The AHB releases an alarm pheromone that calls all the workers to "battle" where they will attack and sting any moving animal or object. They will chase and sting people for hundreds of yards and have been known to sting people and pets over a whole neighborhood block. Deaths may occur due to allergic reactions from the larger number of stings received. It may take hours for the bees to settle down and return to the colony. Other honeybees will attack and sting for a few minutes and then settle down rather quickly.

Habitat

In the wild, honeybees most often nest inside cavities of trees, but they will also nest within caves and cracks in rock formations. Occasionally, a colony will decide to nest inside a crawl space, an attic, a wall void, or a chimney in a home.

Tips for Control

Because the Africanized honeybee cannot be distinguished from its native cousins without detailed scientific measurements, any honeybee nest or swarm found should be respected at a safe distance. Only experienced beekeepers and/or pest management professionals should be contacted to deal with colonies or swarms of honeybees. Never attempt to treat such nests without the proper training and equipment.

Once the colony inside a wall or attic has been eliminated, the building owner will need to open the wall and remove all the honey and honeycomb. If not removed, the honey will rot, produce strong odors and seeping stains, and will attract other insect pests.

 

 
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