Entomological tests have confirmed that Africanized honeybees were responsible for the recent death of an elderly man in Dougherty County, Ga.

News reports say the man accidentally disturbed a feral colony of bees with his bulldozer and that he received more than 100 stings. "This is the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia," said Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.



Africanized honeybees are a hybrid of African and European honeybees. Because of their extremely defensive nature regarding their nest (also referred to as a colony or hive), they are sometimes called "killer bees." Large numbers of them sometimes sting people or livestock with little provocation.



The Africanized honeybee and the familiar European honeybee (Georgia's state insect) look the same and their behavior is similar in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee. However, Africanized honeybees are less predictable and more defensive than European honeybees. They are more likely to defend a wider area around their nest and respond faster and in greater numbers than European honeybees.