Africanized honey bees vs. European honey bees


Image of Africanized honey bee from Beekeeping Success (


Image of European honey bee from Wikimedia (

When we hear Africanized honey bee, we think killer bee, yikes, that sounds scary! But what this really means, is they are more aggressive and more sensitive to potential threats against their colony and hive.  They aren’t on a mission to kill, but rather on the lookout for danger and they take action when a threat is perceived.

This week I will give you some information about Africanized honey bees, which, I hope, will give you a better understanding of the insect and maybe a respect for its place on this planet.  

Today I have a simple list of differences between the Africanized honey bee and the European honey bee, which I found on Wikipedia. I feel this is a good starting point to then follow up with more detailed information as the week goes on.

Enjoy learning and thank you for joining the movement!

The major differences between Africanized and other Western bee types are:

  1. Tends to swarm more frequently and go farther than other types of honey bees.
  2. Is more likely to migrate as part of a seasonal response to lowered food supply.
  3. Is more likely to “abscond”—the entire colony leaves the hive and relocates—in response to stress.
  4. Has greater defensiveness when in a resting swarm, compared to other honey bee types.
  5. Lives more often in ground cavities than the European types.
  6. Guards the hive aggressively, with a larger alarm zone around the hive.
  7. Has a higher proportion of “guard” bees within the hive.
  8. Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distances from the hive.
  9. Cannot survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing introduction into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers.