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The Origin Of The Killer Bee

Animal Kingdom

In December 1956 Professor Warrik Kerr of Brazil succeeded in bringing 54 living queen bees from Africa to Sal Palo Brazil in hopes of increasing the honey production of Brazil (Brazil was 27th in the world for honey production). When it was found that the African bees were too fierce to be handled safely he began a breeding program with European bees to hopefully bread out the fierce aggressiveness but keep the large honey production.

During the program a number of African queens were mistakenly released in October 1957. The African bees began to take over in Brazil. In 1967 an attack in Rio brought the bees to the attention of the world. Over the next twenty years the bees spread over Southern and Central America and reached the United States by the late eighties.

These Africanized or 'Killer' bees are most famous for the ferocity with which they protect their hives. When they sting they leave a sent on the victim which causes the rest of a swarm to begin stinging. In the worst attack the victim received about 8000 stings. In an attack the bees can deliver enough venom to kill a horse.

Although it is possible to outrun an attack, when caught in an enclosed area they bees can be lethal. Since they were released in 1957 more than 600 people have been killed by the bees.

Since the introduction of the African bees to Brazil bee keepers have adapted to handling the more aggressive bees. The larger honey production of the African bee has moved Brazil to fourth in the world in honey production

Source: The Learning Channel

Posted:  2002-03-04  7:01:06 PM

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