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Killer Bees

During the mid-1950s, a hybrid African honey bee was accidentally released in Brazil. This bee was more aggressive than the European honey bee and by the mid- 1960s had gained the name of "killer bee." The African bee was introduced by Warwick Kerr in Brazil in an attempt to find a bee that was more suitable to the climate. This bee was found to be more productive than other bees and many beekeepers in South America use them for the production of honey. Because these bees are more aggressive, beekeepers must wear more protective clothing. By the late 1980s, the "killer bees" had migrated across the Rio Grande. While some entomologists fear that the killer bees will replace the European honey bee and upset honey production in the United States, others feel this will not happen.



Arnett, Ross H. American Insects. New York: CRC Publishing, 2000.

Hubbell, Sue. Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs. New York: Random House, 1993.

Imes, Rick. The Practical Entomologist. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Morse, Roger. The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture. Medina, Ohio: A.I. Root Co., 1990.

Style, Sue. Honey: From Hive to Honeypot. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992.

Winston, Mark L. Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Vita Richman


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Bee space

—The amount of room needed between the frames of a man-made hive for bees to move around freely.

Caste system

—A system among social bees where a hierarchy of activity exists, with members of a caste assigned to specific tasks within the social structure.


—Asexual reproduction without the fertilization of eggs.


—Alarm chemicals produced as a response to an attack by predators.

Social bees

—Bees that organize themselves into colonies where they maintain a cooperative social structure with a caste system.

Solitary bees

—Bees that do not colonize, but engage in individual nesting.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ballistic galvanometer to Big–bang theoryBees - Bee Families, Solitary Bees, Social Bees, Honey Bees, Beekeeping, Killer Bees