Africanized honey bees, also known as “killer bees”, are a hybrid between European and African honeybees. They were originally created by biologist Warwick E. Kerr in Brazil when he was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would produce more honey and be better adapted to tropical climates.
Dubbed “killer bees” due to their highly defensive behavior and tendency to swarm, these bees were much more aggressive and competitive than their European counterparts, although their fierce reputation is mostly unfounded.
Unfortunately, in October 1957, 26 swarms of Kerr’s killer bees were accidentally released, and since then, they have spread rapidly. Branching out from Brazil, they have proliferated across South America, throughout Central America, and into the southern United States. Largely unassisted by humans, they are among the most successful invasive species.