It sounds like something out of an action movie, but the origin of Africanized bees in Texas is stranger than fiction. These bees first made their way to the Fort Worth area in the early 1990s, when Africanized bees escaped a laboratory in Brazil and flew north.
Today, Africanized bees have made a home in the Fort Worth area and throughout the rest of the country. These intimidating bees can threaten the enjoyment of your time in your backyard as they build nests and swarm. Sure you’ve heard about Africanized bees, but you’ve probably heard about killer bees as well. Should you be worried about Africanized bees or killer bees? Are Africanized bees and killer bees the same thing? Read on as we cover everything you need to know about Africanized bees, killer bees, and how to prevent them from nesting on your property.
What are killer bees?
Killer bees are actually another name for Africanized bees, and can be used interchangeably. There is no difference! Africanized “killer” bees grow to about ½” in length and their bodies are golden yellow with stripes of darker brown. This species can be found in Texas and throughout much of the southern United States. These bees are helpful members of our ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pose any dangers to humans. While killer bees mostly keep to themselves, they will attack when they’re provoked or if they feel their hive is in danger. With incredible and unforgiving persistence, they can fly up to a quarter-mile in pursuit of their target, and this behavior is magnified if the bees are swarming.
Swarms can occur up to ten times each season, and it’s a behavior in which some bees break off from the hive in a “swarm” and attempt to develop another colony, growing their numbers in the process.
Should I be worried about Africanized bees?
Killer bees attack as a defense mechanism when they feel that the nest is threatened. They are not known to find humans or pets to attack without being provoked. The bad news is that once an Africanized bee decides you are a threat, they have the capability to fly up to ¼ mile in pursuit. Another downside of Africanized bee nesting on your property is that they reproduce and swarm in large numbers and very quickly throughout the season.
If you are chased by an Africanized bee, pests.org suggests following these tips:
- Run away in a straight line, protecting your face. Africanized bees are slow fliers and most healthy people can outrun them.
- Avoid other people, or they, too, will be attacked.
- Do not try and hide underwater. The Africanized bee swarm will wait for you to surface.
- Seek medical attention. Some people are allergic to bee stings, which can cause anaphylactic shock. Since Africanized bees attack and sting in great numbers, it is possible for them to trigger an allergic response.
How can I prevent killer bees from nesting on my property?
Africanized bees aren’t picky when it comes to where they build a colony. They’re happy to build hives in tree hollows, old tires, overturned flower pots, and other hollow areas. Performing regular yard maintenance is the best way to keep Africanized bees from taking up residence on your property. You’ll also want to be sure to fill any cracks along your foundation, the eaves of your roof, and soffits. This will prevent bees from breaking through into your home if they choose to build a hive in a compromised area.
How can I get rid of Africanized bees on my own?
There is no way to 100% bee-proof your home and property. However, there are some steps you can take to discourage nesting. Clean up debris around your property, including old tires and overturned or empty flower pots. To prevent breakthroughs, seal cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home, paying close attention to chimneys, gaps around piping, and other small openings. Nothing can be more terrifying than killer bees flying into your home. Although unlikely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
While there are suitable pesticides available for addressing Africanized bees, they will behave with extreme aggression when their hive is in danger. For this reason, we always recommend that you contact the professionals at Certified Termite and Pest Control to eliminate the bees for you.
How can Certified get rid of killer bees on my property?
Certified Termite and Pest Control can get rid of the Africanized bees that are nesting on your property with our Bee Removal Service. Never try to get rid of Africanized bees on your own! They are extremely dangerous and can swarm even when unprovoked. Give us a call or fill out the contact form on this page to get started!