Buzz Word For Today: Killer-Bee

African Killer Bee Swarm

So many of you already know my distain for all things bees, wasps, and hornets.  They are tiny little demonic spawn in my book.  They even look like demonic spawn.  So it should come to no surprise that I relay this story to you that just came out today.

Apparently in Richardson, Texas, a huge Killer-Bee hive was discovered in a neighborhood there.  Because it is so large it is considered a health risk and the health department is having the city take care of it.  Apparently the hive was at least as big as a basketball and taken on an inverted pyramid shape.

“Once a hive gets this large there is a large amount of honey and honeycomb in it and the bees become more aggressive and territorial in protecting that honeycomb and that honey,” said Alsup.

Also there are between 450,000 to 500,000 killer-bees in the hive.  That is freaking insane.  They need to get a blowtorch and burn that nest to a crisp. 

Some facts about killer-bees:

The Africanized bee in the western hemisphere descended from 26 Tanzanian queen bees (A. m. scutellata) accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 near Rio Claro, São Paulo State in the southeast of Brazil from hives operated by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, who had interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. Hives containing these particular queens were noted to be especially defensive. Kerr was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would be better adapted to tropical conditions (i.e., more productive) than the European bees used in North America and southern South America. (I’m sorry but that was just plain stupidity in my book)  The hives from which the bees were released had special excluder grates which were in place to prevent the larger queen bees from getting out but to allow the drones free access to mate with the queen. Unfortunately, following the accidental release, the African queens eventually mated with local drones, and their descendants have since spread throughout the Americas.

The Africanized hybrid bees have become the preferred type of bee for beekeeping in Central America and in tropical areas of South America because of improved productivity. However, in most areas the Africanized hybrid is initially feared because it tends to retain certain behavioral traits from its African ancestors that make it less desirable for domestic beekeeping. Specifically (as compared with the European bee types), the Africanized bee:

  • Tends to swarm more frequently.
  • Is more likely to migrate as part of a seasonal response to lowered food supply.
  • Is more likely to “abscond”—the entire colony leaves the hive and relocates—in response to repeated intrusions by the beekeeper.
  • Has greater defensiveness when in a resting swarm.
  • Lives more often in ground cavities than the European types.
  • Guards the hive aggressively, with a larger alarm zone around the hive.
  • Has a higher proportion of “guard” bees within the hive.
  • Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distances from the hive.
  • Cannot survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing intrusion into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers.
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4 thoughts on “Buzz Word For Today: Killer-Bee

    1. radaronelson Post author

      I can’t count the number of times I have been stung by bees, yellow jackets, hornets, you name it, there are too many. When I was a kid I had a nest of yellow jackets swarm and sting me. Since then, I have had no love for them and had been afraid of them. The past few years I have gotten better, instead of running I’ll at least stay and kill them but I still have no love for them at all.

      Reply

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