While bees serve a vital role in the pollination of our plants and produce delicious honey they can be quite dangerous if they make their home too close to people. Recently Africanized bees have come to central Florida and this aggressive strain of honeybees poses a significant threat to residents of the sunshine state. Africanized bees have been known to chase people for over a quarter of a mile without relenting and while there are relatively few deaths each year due to wasp and bee stings 100 people do perish from bee stings annually. As a resident of central Florida it’s your duty to keep yourself, your family and your neighbors safe – if you see evidence of a hive on or near your property call a reputable pest control company immediately to have the threat safely removed.
Often called “killer bees,” Africanized honey bees are a hybridization of the western honey bee species. This aggressive strain of bees was originally produced through cross-breeding docile Italian honey bees with their more aggressive African counterparts in South and Central America. This was part of an effort to create a strain of bees that produced more honey and could thrive in a tropical setting. It’s not uncommon for small swarms of Africanized honey bees to take over a large hive of their mild-mannered European counterparts, killing the European queen bee and establishing the new royal order with a queen of their own. Because of this trait a few Africanized hives in Brazil in the 1950s quickly infiltrated and took over other hives and these aggressive breeds have worked their way north through central America and into the US.
At the turn of the century most Africanized “killer bees” were found in the southwestern portion of America but recently this highly defensive, mobile strain of bees has made its way into central Florida. While the bees certainly aren’t out to hunt down and kill people (this isn’t a Hollywood film after all – bees merely want to defend their homes and harvest pollen) they are extremely defensive of their hives. If you are walking through the woods in central Florida or open a seldom-used garage and happen upon a hive of Africanized bees they won’t simply swarm around you and sting you once or twice as you run away – it’s likely that the hive will pursue you for a significant distance in an effort to protect their home. You should take note of their resolve and take the same approach to defend your home. Call pest control immediately if you locate a hive on or near your property.
Sighting a honeybee or two in your flower garden is no cause for alarm – those bees may have a hive 50 miles away and if that’s the case they pose no serious threat to you. Indeed they could be doing you a favor by visiting for a day and pollinating your plants. However, if you identify a hive on your property or in an area where you and your pets frequently walk you should call a pest control service right away to keep your loved ones and your central Florida neighbors safe.