Almost all the bees in Maricopa County are now classified as Africanized honey bees or killer bees. These bees look just like the European honey bees that we have known for so long. The venom injected by the stinger is no different. What is different, however, is the aggressiveness they display in defending their hive or colony, which they change several times each year. Do not try to clear out the bees yourself, but instead call the local fire department or beekeeper. Once an attack begins it can last for days. A single sting is no more powerful or painful than a European honey bee. They can sting only once before dying, but it is the number of stings that can be inflicted because of their massive swarms that can cause illness or even death. It takes over 10 stings per pound of body weigh to cause serious illness.

If attacked, cover your head and run to the nearest place that will enable you to shut out the bees. A car, truck or home will work, but do not dive into water. Some bees will come with you, while the rest remain outside.

If you choose a car or truck, close the outside vents, and if you have air conditioning, turn it on to calm the bees.