“As an area becomes colonized, the Africanized bees will show their true colors—they will exhibit their intense defensive behavior,” says Mussen, an Extension apiculturist since 1976, 

Mussen recommends that anyone working or relaxing in areas known to be colonized by Africanized bees “take precautions” by avoiding nesting areas. If the bees start to sting, cover your face with a shirt as you run for a building, vehicle or other shelter, he says. You can also carry an Army surplus gnat/mosquito veil with you to protect your face.

The honey bees’ pheromone, resembling the scent of a banana, sounds the alarm, alerting other bees to attack.

Beekeepers who collect swarms in colonized counties have a “high probability” of hiving an Africanized honey bee colony, Mussen points out, and should always look for unacceptable defensive behavior.

His advice: "It still is not a good idea to collect swarms in southern California and hive them in high human population areas."

“Africanized honey bees are not something to be feared,” Mussen said, “but they are to be respected.”

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