What is an Africanized (killer) Bee?

Killer Bees


Africanized "killer" bees look a lot like regular honeybees, but they have different wing measurements. Africanized bees lives in South America and the Western and Southern United States. They have been known to chase people for over a quarter of a mile once they get excited and aggressive.

Even though they are called "killer" bees, their venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees. However, these bees tend to attack in larger numbers, which poses a greater danger to humans, especially those who are allergic to bee stings.

Africanized bees can only sting once because their stingers are barbed and tear off when they try to get away.


  • Size: 1/2"
  • Shape: Oval, bee shape
  • Color: Golden yellow with darker bands of brown
  • Legs: 6
  • Wings: Yes
  • Antenna: Yes
  • Common Name: Africanized honey bees
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Apidae
  • Species: Apis



Worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony.



Africanized bees have small colonies, so they can build nests in unique places. They have been known to live in tires, crates, boxes and empty cars.



Africanized bee venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees - they just tend to attack in greater numbers, dramatically increasing the odds of having an allergic reaction to the venom.

If you are chased by Africanized bees, run in a zigzag pattern and seek shelter in a house or car. Do not jump in the water! The bees will just wait around until you come up for air.



  • Use caution when handling items on your property that could contain an Africanized bee nest.
  • Because of the aggressive nature of these pests, a pest management professional or beekeeper should be called in to help.

Find information on killer bee pest control at the official NPMA website.