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Africanized Honey Bees (Killer Bees)

The Africanized honey bee looks the same as the European honey bee, but is much more aggressive in defending its hives or colonies and can attack without warning. One or even hundreds of bees target the head in an attack. A single sting is no more powerful or painful than that of the European honey bee, but killer bee victims can be stung hundreds of times. If attacked, cover your head and run in a zigzag pattern and find shelter in a building or car or dark area as quickly as possible. Then quickly remove all stingers from the skin. Get emergency medical help immediately.

European Honey Bees

The European honey bee pollinates crops and flowers. It is about 1 inch long and is colored golden brown with black strips encircling its fuzzy abdomen. A honey bee's venom is just as dangerous as that of a rattlesnake, only there is less toxin involved in a single sting. So it is vital to remove the poison sac as soon as possible. After a sting, the barbed stinger remains in the skin with the venom sac attached. Do not attempt to pull out the stinger with your fingers because as you squeeze, you force more venom into your body. Instead, use a piece of hard plastic (credit card) or fingernail to scrape or flick the stinger out of the skin. Bees are more easily agitated on cloudy days, or by dark or bright clothing, or by vibrations or loud noises. Bees typically attack the head and ankles. 100 - 200 stings can be fatal to an average adult. The venom from a dozen stings can cause rapid onset of swelling, headache, muscle cramps and fever. If you have been stung multiple times or are experiencing any allergic reactions, e.g., swelling in other parts of the body, breathing problems, chest construction, abdominal cramps or shock, get emergency medical help immediately. If attacked, see above.


Many ants can sting or bite and use their venom to kill smaller creatures or to keep intruders away. Therefore, the best prevention is to avoid stepping on or sitting on all of their nests.


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