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HELP! What does the Africanized bee look like?

I hope someone can help me... the bees are holding my lawnmower for ransom! Attacked by a small darker honey bee type swarm that was very aggressive... chased me for one city block and attacked again as I got within about 60' of my residence. Here's the kicker, no stinger left in the sting sites on my body. Any ideas? Don't want to kill the hive if it is a true honey bee hive. By the way, the hive is in a wall of my residence, approximately 30' above the ground.
Joe Delery
P.S. Dumb question catagory... what natural substance (vick's vapor rub, bounce, etc.) might be used to gently convince the little terrorists to find another abode?

Florida too
We have them in Florida as well, and have for several years.

Where do you live?
You don't mention where you live, which would immediately rule out (or in) Africanized honey bees. The only places Africanized colonies are common are in Texas, southern Arizona, and southern California (and probably New Mexico), as far as I know. Africanized bees are so nearly identical to 'regular' honey bees (they are in fact the same species, just different "strains"), that it takes careful, detailed measurements to tell the difference. Also, the absence of stingers suggests these are German yellowjackets, which frequently do nest in walls as you describe.

Sorry, no geographic info included
My geographic location is New Orleans (please don't hold it against me), Louisiana. A local exterminator checked out the hive and said that the vicious little insects were just some ill tempered honey bees. He, too, was perplexed by the absent stingers. Now, does an estimate of 40,000 bees sound reasonable for an area of about 6' X 2' X 10". This is the area he suspects based on temperature readings - approx. 4 degrees hotter than surrounding areas. Let me be honest here... I'm not a tree hugger or anything like that, but would taking out such a well established hive have that big a difference on the eco system in my area? I mean, live and let live, or not. I'm willing to try and move the hive to another area if possible. Any recommendations?
Joe Delery

Just For Interest's Sake...
I too was a little perplexed about the 'absent stingers' even though your latest description does point to honeybees being the culprits. Did a quick search and on the site found: 'The only insect that stings only once is the worker honeybee, of which there are several species, all in the genus Apis. Even then, the sting is generally suicidal only if the worker stings a vertebrate, as opposed to another insect, because the barbs on a worker's sting don't lodge unless it's embedded in muscular flesh. Sometimes the sting doesn't get stuck, so even honeybees can sometimes sting more than once. Queen honeybees have non-barbed stings...'

I did not know this myself and maybe it's why these insects appeared able to sting more than once...their stingers just weren't 'sticking' the day they nailed you! Someone from the bee-keeping industry (probably falls under your department of agriculture as it does here in Canada) could probably verify and advise further on your problem... If your nest is a feral hive of genuine honeybees, by the way, a bee-keeper may be willing to come over to try to recover the colony. One possible alternative to destroying the nest, if that bothers you...

Dark Bees
The German or black honeybees, Apis mellifera mellifera (or at least their hybridized descendants in the US), have a reputation for being aggressive- one of the reasons beekeepers have switched mostly to the golden Italian Honeybee, Apis mellifera ligustica in the last century and a half. The black honeybees were the ones brought by the first English colonists, so there are scattered wild populations throughout North America:

While it's nice to coexist with the natural world, it seems to me this is a safety issue: honeybees will protect their hive against any perceived threat, so hives and houses are a bad combination.

Aside from the possible liability issues of harboring a threat to passers-by, what happens if something antagonizes the bees at the same time a child or allergic adult happens to be within range?

Be careful, though. Many bee-sting deaths I've read about were the result of attempts to destroy or remove wild hives. If the exterminator is experienced with bees, that might be ok, but you also might consider looking for a beekeeper who does hive removals (not that I'd know how to find one).

I should mention that I'm not an expert on bees, so this is just my personal opinion.

Eric is right, your location
Eric is right, your location is an important bit of information lacking here. Keep in mind africanised bees are "true" honey bees and the behavior does sound right. Even if they are not AHB still no reason not to get them exterminated. However again these sound more like "yellow jackets than honey bees.

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