How can you tell a European honey bee from an Africanized honey bee?
European Honey Bee –
The European honey bee is found living in nests of 5,000 to 15,000 members per hive. Honey bees live year around and stay dormant in the winter. You may see a giant swarm migrating or 5 to 20 bees buzzing around a structural opening.
Africanized Honey Bee –
The Africanized honey bee looks like the European honey bee. Though un-noticeably smaller in size, the Africanized honey bees are very protective of their home and can attack to defend it in great numbers. They may stay aggressive for days after being disturbed. They become aggravated by loud noises, and vibrations and are provoked by certain smells such as fresh cut grass, bananas and the breath of mammals.
View our Bee Identification
page to learn about the most prevalent species found in Southern California.
If a swarm of bees is spotted in a bush, tree or on the side of your house and the hive is visible, keep the area clear and do not approach the swarm. The bees may be Africanized Honey Bees, which are very aggressive and will respond to intrusion or loud noises. Chances are the swarm is just resting and will move on in a matter of hours. Make sure you make your neighbors aware of the bee hive so they will keep children and pets away.
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