Africanized and domestic honey bees provide honey and wax but as far greater importance they are pollinators. Pollination in layman terms is the process by which pollen is transferred in the reproduction of plants, thereby enabling fertilization and sexual reproduction. This is why honey bees are extremely important to or environment. On average 90% of flowering plants are pollinated by weather, insect or animal assistance.
Domestic honey bees by nature are not aggressive but they will attack whatever might threaten the colony usually chasing you up to 32 ft. Africanized honey bees are aggressive and will attack with little provocation. Just standing near a nest with talking and your movements will provoke attack even if you are not threatening the colony, chasing you as far as 328 ft. Honey bees are social insects. They live as colonies in hives, with colonies as large as 20-80 thousand bees.
The bee colony will consist of:
· One queen (laying 1,500-2,000 eggs per day) living up to 5 years, mating only once
· Young workers care for the young, build the comb, and guard the entrance
· Older workers forage for pollen, nectar, and propolis or bee glue traveling a radius of 5 miles
· Workers are infertile females, the queen sees to this by releasing pheromones which regulate the production of new queens and inhibit the workers from becoming fertile
· Drones are the males only usually only live a few weeks and only appear periodically and die in the act of mating
· Scouts search for new nesting sites
Bee swarms occur when a colony is looking for a new home. They are not as aggressive in this state because there is nothing to defend, neither food nor young. They are only aggressive around the hive. A swarm may have one queen, a couple of drones and thousands of workers. Swarms may move to a temporary site for up to 2 days before moving to a permanent site like a hollow tree, walls, places sheltered from the weather.
Worker bees have stingers that they use for defense. When the bee stings the barbed stinger along with the poison sac is torn from the bee’s body and left inside your skin. If the stinger is not removed immediately the stinger will work its way deeper into your skin meaning greater time for the toxin to be injected into you. If left alone the stinger releases a pheromone that attracts other bees and puts them in alarm and attack mode behavior.
If stung, I recommend
· Immediate removal of the stinger either by fingernail or something like a knife blade.
· DO NOT squeeze the stinger. This will bury the stinger deeper and release more venom into your system
· DO NOT rub the area after you remove the stinger. This will force more venom further into your system
· DO Not scratch the sting thus causing secondary infection
· Wash the infected area with soap and water, then use an antiseptic
A normal reaction to a bee sting is
· Local pain lasting a few minutes
· Swelling around the stinging area lasting a few hours
· Itching and heat/burning sensation which normally lasts a few hours.
The sting of an Africanized honey bee is no more dangerous than a domestic honey bee. However, they have
· A larger alarm area around the nest
· Quicker to swarm you and more frequently from the nest
· Attack in greater numbers
· Migrate further
· Having more guard bees, attacking in greater numbers and over large distances
· Cannot survive long periods of forage deprivation, making the less likely to be in areas with harsh, long winters or areas of very dry late summers
· Will move their entire hive much more quickly when stressed
If you find a nest of honey bees around your home be careful when approaching the hive during the day. As you slowly approach the hive and you are talking and moving, then the bees seemly start to approach you and get more aggressive stay away from the colony. They maybe Africanized honey bees and could be putting yourself in harm’s way. Not all Africanized honey bees are this aggressive.