Fun Africanized Bees Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Africanized Bees Facts For Kids

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Africanized bees are also known as 'killer bees' due to the infamous reputation of their deadly bee sting. The Africanized Honey bee is not a natural creation but was scientifically and genetically engineered in bee colonies for increasing honey production. A hybrid of the European honey bee, the Africanized bee was produced by cross-breeding the East African lowland bee with European Honey Bees like the Iberian honey bee and Italian honey bee. This crossbreeding had happened accidentally due to a scientist who used to research in the field of entomology - the study of insects. Warwick Kerr, a Brazilian scientist, had gone to Africa to see some native honey bees. He brought the African bees back to bee colonies in Brazil where he attempted to make them gentle honey-producing bees but some of the African bees accidentally left the colony and interacted with the native bees. This led to the creation of the hybrid Africanized Honey bee. These bees soon spread from South America to North America through the shipping of various products which had colonies hidden in them. These Africanized Honey Bees are studied by people who engage in entomology due to their unique characteristics. Read on to learn all about these fascinating bees.

To discover more interesting animals, check out cicada killer wasp and mud dauber wasp facts too.

Fun Africanized Bees Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

0.8-0.8 in (1.9-2 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Golden yellow with dark brown bands

Skin Type

Hard, outer shell

What were their main threats?

Humans, Anteaters, Armadillos, Ants

What is their conservation status?

Data Deficient

Where you'll find them?

Humid Midlands


Southern Africa, Mexico, Central And North America









Africanized Bees Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Africanized Bee?

The Africanized Honey bee is a subspecies of the insect bee.

What class of animal does an Africanized Bee belong to?

The Africanized Honey bee belongs to the class Insecta.

How many Africanized Bees are there in the world?

There is not any proper or accurate data on the number of Africanized Bees in the world. Rather, scientists and beekeepers try and keep track of the populations of the Africanized Honey bee by looking at the bee colonies which have steadily increased and expanded over continents in recent years.

Where does an Africanized Bee live?

The Africanized Bees map would reveal that the killer bees are found in Eastern and Southern Africa, Southern America, and also in the South-Western parts of the United States of America. The Africanized Honey bee can be found in the states of Texas, California, and Arizona in the United States of America.

What is an Africanized Bee's habitat?

The Africanized killer bees are mostly found in humid, moist environments such as the midlands. They prefer smaller spaces with lots of water to build their nest so they can set up colonies in abandoned, enclosed spaces as well. They prefer regions in the South because of the warm climate.

Who do Africanized Bees live with?

Africanized Honey bees live with each other in huge hives as is usual for bees to do. They create safe nests to situate their hives whose populations can be as many as 80,000 killer bees.

How long does an Africanized Bee live?

The length of an Africanized Bee's life actually depends upon its role in the hive. The queens of the nests have the longest lives which vary between one to three years. The worker bees live for a month and the drone bees live no longer than 5-10 weeks.

How do they reproduce?

The queen bee of the hive is fertilized by the drone bees and she lays down eggs or larva in each of the cells of the hive for further growing.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN states that there is not enough data about the Africanized Honey bees so it is listed under the Deficient Data category. However, there is no immediate danger of extinction or endangerment for these honey bees.

Africanized Bees Fun Facts

What do Africanized Bees look like?

The Africanized Honey bees look a lot like the usual European honey bees as they share similar physical characteristics. They have six legs, four wings, and a hard outer shell exoskeleton which is golden yellow and brown in color. The exoskeleton is covered in black stripes.

Africanized Bees

How cute are they?

Africanized Honey bees are not cute at all! They have a stinger or the proboscis which contains venom. In addition to that, they are also small buzzing insects that do not present a cute picture.

How do they communicate?

If we compare Africanized Bees vs Honeybees from Europe, we will not see much difference. Africanized Honey bees have two ways to communicate, just like the European Honey bees. Like the European honey bee, an Africanized bee also uses movement and smell to communicate with each other in the colony.

How big is an Africanized Bee?

The length of an Africanized Honey bee is usually between 0.8 in (1.9-2 cm).

How fast can Africanized Bees move?

Africanized Honey bees have four pairs of wings but they cannot fly very expertly. Hence, they cannot move very fast.

How much does an Africanized Bee weigh?

An Africanized bee is quite small and its exact weight is currently still unknown.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Bees follow a strict hierarchy or behavior in their swarms. The male bees are called drones and they do not have any task to do except to fertilize the queen bee. Each swarm has only one queen bee who reproduces new bees. The worker bee is also a female bee and they look after the maintenance of the swarm.

What would you call a baby Africanized Bee?

The offspring or babies of Africanized Honey bees are called larva as all subspecies of bees reproduce in the form of the larva.

What do they eat?

Africanized Honey bees gather pollen and nectar from surrounding flowers and they drink the nectar which is their only source of nutrition.

Are they harmful?

An Africanized bee stings when the bees may feel that they are in danger. The bees become pretty dangerous at that time. One bee sends the information to the rest of the colony about the attack and all of them swarm in together in a unique behavior to turn the attacker away. They come in huge numbers and each bee stings the attacker in a fast motion. The sheer numbers of the stings are enough to kill a small predatory animal and badly bruise a human being if stung. But usually, these bees die after they sting you. There have been many incidents in South Texas where people have been harmed by these invasive bees.

Would they make a good pet?

The Africanized Honey bees would not make a good pet at all because of their invasive stinging that is full of venom. The impact of the sting can be quite harmful. Only a beekeeper can expertly manage the bees in colonies where a honeybee is usually kept for honey production. Otherwise, these bees may not be domesticated peacefully, and the chances of an attack full of venom remain.

Did you know...

Once the Africanized Honey bees face a threat, they sting their prey. After stinging, it releases a chemical that smells like a ripe banana. This smell spreads the information of the threat to the other members in the hive. Then, the entire colony gets together to sting the prey.

Warwick Kerr initially wanted to create this hybrid of bees in order to produce more honey but ultimately, the Africanized Honey bees produce five times less honey!

The only way to differentiate between a general honey bee and Africanized honey bee or the killer bee is the size of their bodies.

Why are they called Africanized Bees?

This subspecies of bees are called Africanized Honey bees because of how they came into existence. The impact of the accidental breeding of the European Honey bees with East African bees led to the creation of the Africanized Honey Bee swarms - a hybrid of the species. As they are hybrids, they also got the aggressive nature of the African bee.

How to get rid of Africanized Bees?

It is best to call people who are in the business of beekeeping to exterminate Africanized Honey bees. You can also use pesticides or spray. In case of an infestation where the bees are flying in numbers, people also use soapy water to disorient the bees temporarily.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant African millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Africanized bees coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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