Known as the "Killer Bee," the Africanized honey bee (AHB) is a subspecie of the common European honey bee/EHB (Apis mellifera) and to me, it seems to represent an extremely contrasting icon next to the "bumble bee".
The bees origin is Africa where they were brought to Brazil in the 1950s to introduce genetic material from the tropically adapted African bees into the resident European bees and thereby make better honey producers. In the process of this, some of the introduced bees were released and their descendants quickly established a large wild population in the different parts of the Americas.
The Africanized honey bee does not seek out victims but it is highly aggressive and will attack any living thing that comes near its hive. The bees respond in large number and allow time for many hundreds of bees to sting. When such a bee stings, both the stinger and the venom sack are ripped from its body, killing it instantly. The chemical deposited in the victim transmits and communicates a message to other bees to sting. When more bees sting, more chemical is released, resulting in even more bees sting. Hence, although the venom of the AFH is less potent than that of the EHB, it is capable of killing a grown adult. The best thing to do is to cover your face and upper body and run away fast and seek cover in a house or car. A domestic bee may chase you for 50 yards, but an AHB may pursue you three times farther.
Like carpenter bees, the Africanised honey bee can be found in many man-made objects, including holes or cracks in buildings; in drainage pipes; flower pots; trash cans, rock piles and rotted logs. However, the Africanised honey bee produces less honey than EHB. The two bee species compete with each other for food and nesting areas.
If you are located at Singapore, check out the Killer Bees' Honey and get a taste of the adventure at Bee Healthy!