Africanized Honey Bee

Actual Size: ¾”

Characteristics: Covered in fuzz; brownish in color with black stripes that aren’t as distinct as those on wasps or hornets.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Prefer to nest in large nesting sites such as hollow tree cavities or chimneys


  • Readily nests in cavities and voids near ground level
  • Fly directly into entry holes, unlike European honey bees that rest at the threshold of their hive before walking in
  • Demonstrate agitation and increased flight activity when a person approaches within 50 feet of their nesting area
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Africanized Honey Bees In Las Vegas or Nevada

The Africanized Honey Bee  was made notorious from press releases as the “killer bee,” and is a result of matings between the African bee subspecies and European honey bees. Africanized honey bees swarm frequently in search of new homes and while their primary purpose is to produce honey and pollinate crops, they will aggressively defend any perceived threat to their nest when in the process of home building or raising young bees. Africanized honey bees also closely resemble their distant relatives, the European honey bees, which makes identification of new bees in your environment that much more critical. While all bees actively protect their nest when disturbed, the ferocity and tenacity exhibited by Africanized honey bees in defense mode are what separates them from the more docile domestic honey bee.

Africanized Honey Bee Habitat

Africanized honey bees are found in garages, sheds, empty boxes, old cars and tires, holes in fences, buckets, lumber piles, spaces under buildings, trees, and a favorite locale, irrigation valve boxes. Africanized honey bees nest in places common to human activity and as is the case in an ever-growing number of neighborhoods in the western U.S. Humans inadvertently provide multiple nesting sites for these bees, which is the primary reason why they are frequently encountered by humans.

Africanized Honey Bee Behavior & Dangers

Africanized honey bees can be a public health concern because they are more likely to sting than typical honey bees. Although they are more unpredictable and defensive than domestic honey bees, they generally react only when their nests are threatened. These honey bees are provoked to attack sources of loud noise and vibrations, as well as, large, dark-colored moving objects that occur within 50-150 feet from the colony. Africanized honey bees have also been known to pursue their victims for more than 500 feet. Children, the elderly, and handicapped individuals are at the highest risk of an attack due to their inability or hampered ability to escape an attack.

Africanized honey bees can pose problems for homeowners as they establish their nests on or around your property. If you notice them in or near your property, always contact your local bee control experts.