Killer Bees

Book: Killer Bees
Author: Marcia Hines
Publisher: Franklin Watts, 1997
ISBN-13: 978-1560656180 (Library binding)
ISBN-10: 1560656182 (Library binding)
ISBN-13: 978-0531114704 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0531114708 (Hardcover)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
Disclosure: Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library. No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.
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Hines, Marcia. Killer Bees (published in 1997 by Franklin Watts, a division of Capstone Press). Have you heard about the so-called “killer bees”? Many people have, but much of what has been passed around is inaccurate as a result of sensationalist movies such as The Swarm. Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as “killer bees,” are some hybrid varieties of the Western honey bee species produced originally by cross-breeding the Tanganyikan honey bee with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee and the Iberian bee. They were accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 at Rio Claro near São Paulo in the southeast of Brazil.

Since then, the bees have spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina and north to Central America, Trinidad (West Indies), Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, southern California, southern Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, southern Utah, south Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. The sting of the Africanized honey bee is no more potent than another variety of honey bee, and they have a similar appearance. What makes Africanized honey bees more dangerous is that they are more easily provoked, quick to swarm, attack in greater numbers, and pursue their victims for greater distances. An Africanized bee colony can remain agitated longer and may attack up to a quarter of a mile away from the hive.

Because of all the reports of “killer bees,” when our older son Mark was studying insects in his second grad homeschool science, we checked this book in the “Dangerous Animals” series out of the library for him to read. It details the characteristics, habitat, and life cycle of the Africanized honey bee, sometimes referred to as the killer bee. Stings from African bees may kill one or two people per year in the United States, but most human incidents with African bees occur within two or three years of the bees’ arrival in an area and then subside as they mix with less aggressive varieties. Furthermore, due to their subtropical origin, it is thought that the climate will keep them from migrating too much farther north.

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