Killer Bees

10 minutes to read | Updated for 2019

Killer Bees

In the 1978 movie The Swarm, great clouds of angry bees attack entire cities and sting hundreds of people to death. This pure fiction could never happen in nature. But folklore like this has arisen within the last ten years regarding an insect often called the “killer bee.”

The killer bee’s ancestors live throughout Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. Africanized bees, as they are properly called, were accidentally introduced into the wild in the Americas during 1956. Brazilian scientists were attempting to create a new hybrid bee in the hopes of improving honey production. The Africanized bee escaped and began to dominate the native honey bee.

The new hybrid took many years to establish colonies throughout Latin America. It is aggressive, easily agitated, and all in all a bee with a bad attitude. The first Africanized bee was found in in southern Texas in October 1990. This bee is expected to spread across the southern United States, where the winters aren’t so harsh. Some scientists and entomologists believe that Africanized bees will be able to adapt to colder weather and roam as far north as Montana. If this projection is true, it could become a significant problem in the U.S. for a number of reasons.

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