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Africanized Honey Bees FAQs

Q - Are Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) in Georgia?

A - Yes and No, Africanized Honey Bees were found in Albany, Georgia (Dougherty County) on October 21, 2010, and in Brainbridge, Georgia (Decatur County) in June 2011. While Africanized Honey Bees are not considered wide spread or established in Georgia all honey bee colonies should be treated with caution and respect. 

Q – Are Africanized Honey Bees and the Killer Bee the same thing?
A – Yes and No. People who are familiar with honey bees call them Africanized Honey Bees because that’s what they are, a hybrid of the African Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera Scutellata). They became dubbed "killer bees" by Hollywood movies and poor news coverage. 

Q - How far North into Georgia will the AHB's go?
A - We know that in South America the southern overwintering limit of AHBs corresponds roughly to the same latitude as Savannah. However, AHBs have already exceeded that latitude in California, so it is plain that South America is not a perfect comparison. We anticipate that bees in the southern United States will eventually display of gradient of behaviors - more African-like in the south and more European in the north. 

Q - How can I tell AHB's from the regular honey bees?
A - Only DNA testing can determine what type of bee they are. Not even experienced beekeepers can tell by just looking. All honey bee hive/colony/swarms should be considered Africanized and you should NEVER disturb them. 

Q - What about the bees I see on flowers? What if they are Africanized Honey Bees?
A - All bees that are away from their colony (hive) have no interest in humans. They are foragers collecting nectar, pollen, or water for their colony and will only sting if they are threatened. It is a colony that has tens of thousands of bees which become defensive if they are disturbed. 

Q- Is the venom from an Africanized honey bee more poisonous than that of a regular honey bee?
A- No, the venom from both the European and Africanized honey bees is chemically the same. And, because the Africanized honey bee is often smaller than the European Honey Bee, it actually has slightly less venom. 

Q - What's the difference between a honey bee colony and a swarm?
A - A colony is a established hive of bees that are raising brood, foraging, and will defending their home. A swarm is approximately 1/2 the population of a colony (15,000-20,000 bees) that are looking for a new place to live. 

Q - I have a swarm of bees hanging in/on my (yard, tree, porch, lamppost, etc.). I'm afraid they are going to attack my family and pets, what should I do?
A- Swarms of bees is a phenomena that is most likely seen in the spring and fall each year. Swarms develop when a hive gets too full or crowded. About half of the bees and the old queen leave the hive, while the bees that remain behind raise a new queen. The old queen and bees, now a swarm lands on something that will enable them to stay huddled together while a few scout bees fly on to try to locate a suitable place to build a new hive. Since a swarm does not have a hive to protect they are generally docile and rarely sting. However, you should treat them like any other wild animal...leave them alone! Do NOT spray them with water or poison. Do NOT throw anything at them. Go to our Products and Services page and see if you can find a beekeeper in your area that may come and get them. If you can't find a beekeeper then do nothing. A swarm is looking for a new home, and will generally leave the area in less than 24 hours.

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