The African Honeybee commonly referred to as the “killer bee” is a hybrid species with original roots in the Western honey bee. These bees came about as a result of a mating between the local Brazilian honey bees and their Southern Africa counterparts.
It was first detected in Brazil but it rapidly spread across South and Central America after a handful of swarms found their way out of quarantine. They are called killer bees thanks to their very aggressive nature.
They are very dangerous and there are records of people being chased for over a quarter of a mile when the bees got excited and aggressive.
Just How Dangerous are These Bees?
The truth is that the African honey bee or Africanized killer bee doesn’t have a venom any more dangerous than that of regular honeybees. However, what sets them apart and bestows on them this reputation is the nature of their attack.
They are known to launch attacks in greater numbers which of course causes a greater deal of harm. Experts have claimed that if you are ever chased and have the option to jump into a water body, you really shouldn’t.
Why? Because these bees would wait at the surface for you to emerge. The other option is to run in a zigzag pattern until you find shelter indoors or in a car.
The Africanized killer bees, as well as other stinging insects, do not sting for fun. They only attack when they feel like their colony is threatened or when they are subduing prey.
Killer bees, on the other hand, are a lot more sensitive to disturbances as compared to other bees. Understanding killer bees is very essential which is why certain vital tips must be known.
Recognizing African Honey Bees
The African Honey bee bears a close resemblance to other regular bees. The difference between them can be told by measuring their bodies.
African killer bees are smaller in size than other bees. They have the regular golden yellow color with their bands being a significantly darker shade of brown.
How To Avoid Attracting the African Honey Bee
Killer bees just like other bees are drawn to areas where there is food that they can use. Therefore, keeping your food and garbage inside sealed containers is a great start.
Also, empty food containers should be thoroughly rinsed out before they are tossed away. Bees are drawn to moisture so you should get rid of standing water and moisture within or around your home.
If you know that your home is within close proximity of a beehive, you should avoid prints with dark colors or floral patterns. Also, loose-fitting clothes, sweet-smelling perfume or cologne, and open-toe shoes should be avoided.
Symptoms of African Honey Bee Stings
Reactions to stings by the killer bee are dependent on the affected party. They may be toxic, localized, systemic or delayed. General symptoms typically include pain, swelling, redness of areas stung, warmth as well as itching.
Local reactions usually occur instantly and may range from a few hours to as long as a week, usually depending on the enormousness of the reaction.
Significant local reactions may also be followed by nausea and fatigue. Also, there may be the occurrence of secondary bacterial infections if the sting sites are not well taken care of or if they are excessively scratched.
Systemic reaction symptoms may include flushing of the skin, swollen red bumps on the skin, and breathing difficulties. These reactions usually range from mild to life-threatening depending on the affected individual.
However, the most dangerous type of systemic reaction there is to experience is anaphylaxis. Symptoms usually comprise rashes or hives, itching, tightness or swelling in the throat, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting and stomach pain.
More serious symptoms include a drop in blood pressure, shortness of breath, shock or even loss of consciousness. Cases like this require immediate medical attention.
Where Can You Find Them?
African honey bees usually have very small colonies and this allows them to build their colonies in the most unobtrusive of places.
These locations may include crates, tires, tree limbs, holes in the ground, utility poles, mailboxes and any other space that they can easily fit into.
All of these locations are possible spots for African bees to locate their hives.
Treating an African Honey Bee Sting
African killer bees usually deliver multiple stings whenever they attack. The bees have a characteristic barbed stinger which is usually lodged within the skin.
This stinger should be removed as a matter of importance in order to stop the venom from being released from the stinger. Removing the stinger involves a simple process of swiping the edge of a flat object across the stinger until it is totally dislodged.
Cleaning the spot thoroughly with soap and cold water and applying an ice pack or cold compress is essential. For pain relief, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be gotten over the counter.
Hydrocortisone ointment and Antihistamines can also help to soothe fever local reaction. However, if the condition deteriorates, a prescription for antihistamines or oral steroids should be gotten from a doctor.
For more serious reactions, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Similarly, individuals who are allergic to the African Honey Bee, and stinging insects in general, an epinephrine kit should always be handy.