What are Killer Bees?
"Killer bees" should be called by their correct name of "Africanized Honey Bees". In the 1950's, a scientist brought African honey bees to Brazil to cross with European honey bees. The African bees were much more prolific honey producers than the Europeans. He hoped to get a bee that produced the amount of honey the African bees did and had the gentleness of the European bees. Unfortunately, he got the increased honey production, but also the extreme aggressiveness of the African bee. Some of these new hybrids escaped. Their aggressiveness allowed them to overwhelm European hives, and take them over. They began spreading both south and north from Brazil. As they spread into Argentina, they eventually reached a latitude which is approximately the same as the Carolinas in the Northern Hemisphere, and they stopped. The winters were too cold, and they couldn't survive. So far, they have spread into Texas, and west from there in to Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California, and are also now in the Southeast United States. Experts expect that they will eventually spread up the West Coast, all the way into Washington State because of the mild winters they have there. Eventually, they are expected to spread up to the Carolina's. They will never become established in the Northeast because of the severity of our winters. An occasional hive may occur if a beekeeper in the Northeast mistakenly receives an Africanized Queen to requeen a hive, or an Africanized package of bees to start a new hive. These hives will die the next winter so the problem will only exist for one summer, but with the precautions that bee breeders in the south are taking this will be a very rare occurrence, if it happens at all. Each Africanized bee is the same as a European bee. Their stings are identical and they are the same size. The difference is that the Africanized bees are more easily disturbed, attack in much larger numbers, and are much more persistent in their attack. A person disturbing an Africanized hive is going to be stung many more times than someone who runs afoul of a European hive. As far as killer bees in the Northeast goes, the best advice is don't worry about them and forget it.