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Colony of Killer Bees That Prey on Humans Discovered in Charleston County

May 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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Apis Melifera africanized bees on comb
The hive filled with killer bees was found just outside Charleston City in a domestic bee-keeping operation. After observation of inspectors from Clemson University, the captured killer bees were determined as a hybrid between Africanized and European honeybees.

(Photo : Jonathan Wilkins/Wikimedia Commons)

Authorities have discovered a colony of killer bees in Charleston Country for the first time in 15 years since 2001.

According to WSPA, the hive filled with killer bees was found just outside Charleston City in a domestic bee-keeping operation. After observation of inspectors from Clemson University, the captured killer bees were determined as a hybrid between Africanized and European honeybees.

Different from friendly honeybees, these killer bees have a bigger tendency to attack and sting people, not only one, but a hundred of times. The said strain of African killer bees was imported to Brazil five decades ago for an experiment to create species that would yield more honey, as per Charlotte Observer.

Fifteen years ago, another set of killer bees were discovered in South Carolina inside an airplane wing. That was the last time that a wild population of killer bees was documented in the state, until now.

“This appears just to be a localized incident, but as a precaution we have depopulated the hive and are conducting a survey within a two-mile area to determine whether any Africanized honey bees remain,” said Clemson inspector Brad Cavin, adding that more action will be made depending on the results.

Clemson estimated that there were about 1,000 bees present in the newly discovered colony. However, what poses as a danger is the tendency of these Africanized killer bees to get out in swarms, mate with local bee species and establish their own colonies.

Southwestern U.S. and Florida have been known to house populations of killer bees, but recent reports say that these killer bees are spreading to other states. There were reports of two small dogs being attacked by a swarm of killer bees in northern California. Six years ago, an elderly man from Georgia died after an Africanized killer bee bit him.

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