Africanized Honey Bees in Arizona

I came across this video.




African honeybees have been in the States for a lot of years now. Each individual state has different rules n policies about raising “Killerbees”. These bees are very mite free n productive. Just not ones to keep in one our your neighborhood Flow-hive.

You would have to check each state for rules. Many states that have them I believe require the queen to be replaced at least once a year. Guessing Arizona isn’t in that category.

Not my bag of bees I know. I’ve worked a few times with aggressive colonies (not Africanized) but had attitudes. You do use a good bee suit n work with care.

Ta Ta n Buzz Buzz,

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Yeah, we should arrest them all and put little teeny tiny bee-cuffs on them!!! :joy:

I have had bees in the UK over 20 years ago which were seemingly far more aggressive than the ones in this video. They were not officially africanized, just aggressive. The sound on our veils was mostly like huge rain drops, from hundreds of bees “bumping” you simultaneously at 20 mph. It was sometimes hard to see through the veil because so many bees were trying to get through. There is no way that you could have worn normal pants and shoes - we had to wear a full bee suit and gum boots (wellingtons), and even then, you could expect several stings (5+) and many “scratches” through the suit.

“Allowed” is a difficult concept… :blush: Although most cities in the US discourage raising africanized bees, it is actually very hard to control them because they are so successful at surviving. In San Diego, we are meant to re-queen every 2 years from a known supplier (to reduce the africanized gene pool), but many of my beekeeping colleagues do not do that. There is a University of California project to analyze the DNA from commercial hives in San Diego county, to try to see how “africanized” the commercial hives might be. Participation is voluntary and largely anonymous (you would not be reported to the authorities). I don’t know what the results are showing so far, but I would guess in our “unincorporated” rural areas, there is more africanization than anyone really believes. David and I would never choose to raise such a hive, but I think they are pretty common.

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Oh my! It is 10:45pm here on the left coast. That means our poor @Cowgirl is losing a lot of sleep over this issue!! Don’t worry, hon, we can deal with it together! :heart_eyes:

I think the camera guy got to 6 stings, but I really don’t like being stung. I would requeen or donate the hive to somebody out of town… :blush:


Thanks @JeffH
I really enjoyed that, I have one colony of bees like that, It made me feel right at home :smile:

I take them apart during the day when they are flying and I don’t use anywhere near that amount of smoke. I find smoke really riles them
If they get too bad I just put a super on the hive floor and take the brood box away, leave for half an hour and all the flying bees are either out or at the super. Nurse bees aren’t so defensive


Hi Dee, thank you. I have also had some bees like that. I’m loathed to persevere with them. I made an observation about those bees in the video. If I have an angry European Honeybee hive, the bees will try to get you in lots of places, whereas in this video, it seemed that most of the bees were just going for his face & head. He has a similar suit & gloves to me. If I had an angry hive as bad as his bees looked, I would have been copping it around my feet, through the gloves & anywhere the suit hugged my body. They certainly would have found gaps under my veil. Having his bees on the ground would make it harder to work bees with the attitude they have. With all the bending over that’s required, the bees seem to get you more while bending over.

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Maybe it’s a macho thing?
Maybe he was fettling the bees when he knew they would be at their most defensive, for the camera ? :wink:

My bees with attitude are very good at coping with varroa so I keep them. My apiary is not in my back yard but in a field a little walk away so they don’t bother anybody.
If they ever get to a two suit job I will re-queen.
Strangely enough none of the neighbouring colonies have taken on their behaviour so maybe the drones are not passing it on. Who knows?


Wow, what an insight to the difference of our docile Italians I have with viewing that. Although I had them at a near similar point once.
Near similar meaning up to about 40% of that, for about 5 minutes.
If it means breeding Varroa resistance via Africanized and then calming the bees down over generations, it will be worth the copping. Maybe they will be the sole survivors of the world wide varroa attack.
Looks like there are a lot of colonies lost all over the world due to varroa or related issues.
Even though it’s not a problem right now where I live, it’s a world wide multifaceted issue, extending… You know all that.

My bees are bred to defend SHB, and observed they carry out moth larva far away. Not sure if that kind of Africanized aggressiveness is needed for varroa. It could become normal hygiene behavior for our bees to eliminate the buggars.
We simply observed those Africanized aggressors clean them up. But who is to say we can’t breed that into our docile bees. Just give them a chance in a milder non harsh winter environment.

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I work with Africanized bees all the time, the easiest way to calm them down is use a bee vacuum. There’s a point after you suck up about half the bees, they settle down and make it easy to manage the hive.

I had a removal I did last year that the colony was docile until a second box was added, then they became quite defensive. I’ll add a link to a video I made of the hive, which has since been re-queened. Today the hive is in 2 8-frame deeps with the FlowHive super on top, did an inspection last week and barely needed to smoke them.


That’s what isolating the aggressive flying bees into their own box does for me. Without the vacuum.

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Yea, working with them you have to take it slow and easy, smoking them doesn’t work, it just stirs them up more.