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Comparison Between The Africanized and European Honey Bee

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Africanized Honey Bee Facts

The Africanized Honey Bee’s scientific name is the Apis Mellifera Sculleta. At first glance it seems like an ordinary bee; however, the popularized name for the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) is the killer bee. On the other hand, the European Honey Bee, with which the AHB is sometimes confused, has signal traits which unite and distinguish them from one another.

The Africanized Honey Bee is a specimen of bee that warns of danger. Its name is self-explanatory; the Africanized bee originated as a hybrid of the African Honey Bee and the European Honey Bee. African Honey Bees were exported to the Western Hemisphere by Brazilian scientists in 1956. Needless to say, a few AHB queen bees escaped captures and mated with the European Honey Bee (EHB) which had settled in Brazil long before the Africanized honey bee. The apiary experiment intended to breed a type of bee which would acclimatize to Brazil’s weather and thrive better than the European honey. Thanks to the scientists’ now doubtful success, the hybridized Africanized honey bee has developed higher tolerance against adverse conditions and propagates at an alarming rate.

Differences between the European Honey Bee and the Africanized Honey Bee

Aggression characterizes the nature of the Africanized honey bee. Undisturbed, the AHB can still sting and pursue a perceived threat. A visitor 50ft-100ft. of its colony has to bee-ware. Small noises or vibrations can set off the AHB’s warning signals. High excitability is another trait of the AHB. In a rage, it can chase an animal or human for ½ mile to ¼ mile. After having chased or stung an individual, it maintains its high-strung agitation for an hour or 24 hours.

AHBs nest and colonize anywhere from a tree trunk to a plastic bottle, whereas the EHB are more choosy. AHBs proliferate more rapidly than EHBs. Their European counterparts arrived with the European settlers to the Western world in the 17th century did not heavily colonize or adopt swarming practices as the AHB. Considering that the EHB inhabited the West for more than 200 years and did not spread to many areas threat speaks volumes concerning their breeding practices. The first spotting of the AHB occurred in Texas during a farm expansion project in October 15, 1990. Then the Africanized honey has expanded 8,000 miles across North America and invades territory 200 miles per year in South America. AHBs are more prominent in Southern States for example, Texas, California, Florida, and Mexico.

AHBs store honey for a shorter time than the EHBs because the former are always with hungry young – natural resources depleted. However the sweet side is that beekeepers have adapted to AHBs and are also starting up farms that also have a competitive edge in the honey manufacture and market. Originally, AHB honey farming posed a level of difficulty to tranquilize, owing to their attacking nature. Despite this violent propensity, the honey trade in Zambia and South Africa continues, with beekeepers harvesting honey from the African Honey Bee.

One stinging similarity is that the intensity and venom of both EHBs and AHBs remain the same even though the AHB has a more notorious name for its attacks. AHBs develop within a shorter time than the EHBs. These precocious stingers also have less longevity than the EHBS. Physically, AHBs carry smaller bodies however only a professional beekeeper or scientist can discern the difference. The AHB are suicidal attackers since the female bee dies after stinging.

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Comparison between the Africanized and European Honey Bee. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from
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