Honey Bees, Africanized

Photo General Exterminating, Inc.

Africanized honey bees (also known as "Africanized bees" or "killer bees") are descendants of southern African bees imported to South America in 1956. Brazilian scientists were attempting to breed a honey bee better adapted to the tropics. Unfortunately, some of the bees escaped quarantine and began breeding with local Brazilian honey bees. Since 1957, pure African bees and their hybrid offspring, the Africanized honey bee, have vigorously multiplied and extended their range throughout South, Central, and North America at rates frequently exceeding 200 miles per year.

The first land-migrating swarm of Africanized bees was detected in the US on October 15, 1990. These bees were captured in a baited trap at the border town of Hidalgo, Texas. AHBcolonies were first reported in Arizona and New Mexico in 1993 and Nevada in 1998. The first California discovery was in October of 1994; one year later over 8,000 square miles of Imperial, Riverside and northeastern San Diego counties were declared officially colonized.

To date, some 144 counties in Texas, 9 counties in New Mexico, all 15 counties in Arizona, 3 counties in Nevada, and 11 counties in California have reported Africanized honey bee finds. Many scientists believe Africanized bees will continue to spread and successfully overwinter in the US's southern tier states.

Photo General Exterminating, Inc.
Stinging/Biting Pest
Africanized bee hive in a Arizona school attic.

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