“Killer” Bees Moving Into the Southwest, Living Up To Their Name

Africanized Bees Move North With Global Warming
Killer bees

Destroying an Africanized bee hive following the swarming death of a hog

In April, a mosque in Arizona was swarmed by killer bees, stinging over twenty worshippers and causing the entire street to be closed down.

In late May, a park in Arizona was closed after aggressive bee activity killed a vacationing hiker. He was reported to have been stung over 1,000 times. The bee swarm followed the ambulance. In June, a Texas man was hospitalized after a similar attack. Both of his dogs were killed by the swarming bees.

While the Africanized strain of bees is no more toxic than domestic strains, the bees are far more aggressive. Swarms are able to kill large animals, and operate as a single intelligent being.

Like most science fiction stories, the little monsters are the result of humans messing around with nature (eg Godzilla). They were originally imported by Brazilian biologists with the intention of breeding a honey be that was more suited to the tropics. In a way, it worked.

The species has migrated north from Brazil as the planet warms, and is now entering the American Southwest in a serious way. On the way, they killed 700 people in Mexico. Are the attacks a form of revenge for the plague of pesticides that is killing of honey bees in North America. Probably not.

For a global view of invasive species and extinction patterns, visit the Extinction Map.

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