Final ARP Essay
Word Count: 1,267
Arguing Position Form
Should we fear the “Killer Bee”?
The Africanized Honey Bee, also known as the “Killer Bee”, w
as developed in
Brazil by scientists who hoped to create a more productive honey bee. To accomplish
this, the scientists traveled to Africa and brought back 63 of the more aggressive African
bees to breed with the more docile, but less productive, European
some of the queen and worker bees escaped from the laboratory. This new breed of bee
quickly spread throughout South America and moved into the southern United States
(Wall, 1). These bees are much more adept than the European honeybe
e at self
and swarming, and have killed people in the past.
the average American
should not fear the Africanized Honey Bee. The “Killer Bee” only attacks out of self
ost people do not encounter them regularly
and in case of
an attack, one
can survive with a few tips
. We should
be more cautious when using the
process of genetic engineering that created them.
According to Anita Collins, chief bee scientist at the USDA bee research center in
he Africanized be
es have caused
problems in Mexico
Most certainly, the death
figures from bee stings have changed dramatically there since the arrival of the
). But in the United States, the Africanized bee has not
turned out to be as muc
h of a threat as was originally anticipated and reported on
television. During the first two summers when the Africanized bees arrived i
no one died (McClain
). The “Killer Bee” never quite lived up to the initial hype about the
hybrid species. Pa
rt of the fear of “Killer Bees”, besides the catchy title, has to do with
the fact that these bees are more aggressive than the European bees we are used to, and
they are known to be relentless in pursuit. According to a
vival Kit”, Africanized bees have been known to chase people as far as 500
feet. Also, they have been known to wait above the surface of the water for the person
they are pursuing if he or she should decide to dive under the water. It has also been
d that a swarm of the Africanized bees will sting a victim repeatedly, sometimes
stinging a person over a thousand
times during an attack (Dingus
horror stories of encounters with “Killer Bees”, although very powerful, are
very rare. The stories of
these bees killing people are, for the most part, quite similar.
Take for example this case in Parker County, Texas:
A Parker County man died this week after being stung more than 200
times by what officials say was a colony of crossbred honeybees and
icanized bees. Mike Kavanaugh, 56, was stung while mowing a pasture
with his tractor along White Settlement Road in eastern Parker County,
He was covered from head to toe with bees,
Ashley Kavanaugh, 19, of Azle, said Thursd
ay. Mike Kavanaugh, a
former excavation worker, had been partially paralyzed in a horseback
riding accident years ago and had apparently struggled during the attack to
return to his wheelchair. He died at home Monday, a week after the attack
and after bein
g hospitalized twice, officials
This story illustrates how terrifying an Africanized bee attack can be. Mr. Kavanaugh’s
main problem, however, was that he was not able to get back into his wheelchair and
r cases where people or livestock have died from
Africanized bee attacks involve some reason why the victim could not escape, such as
being tied up or people seeking shelter in the water.
however, are not looking to “hunt” peop
le. They only attack in
defense or to protect the hive, and they can be outrun if you accidentally startle some
of them. They are very territorial
so if you enter their territory they can be very
dangerous, but most Americans do not live in Africaniz
ed bees’ territories; currently
limited to remote areas in Texas, Arizona, Southern California and New Mexico. “Killer
Bees” have also not turned out to be as dangerous as people thought because they have
been confined to certain climate zones and do not a
ppear to be moving north beyond the
extreme southern part of the United States. Originally, reporters had said that they feared
the bees would spread north, moving at a rate of two to three hundred miles a day. The
bees have slowed down quite a bit, and th
ere are many theories why. Among the theories
most often proposed are those su
gesting that the bees do not store enough food for harsh
winter months, fire ants and other pests have begun to prey on them, and that the “Killer
Bee” gene pool has been dilute
d because the Africanized bee queen can mate with
Overall, the only people who should really fear the “Killer Bees” are beekeepers
and the honey industry, because the Africanized Bees can take over normal honeybee’s
general public, the real concern that the Africanized Honey Bee raises
is the appropriate fear of possible unintended consequences of genetic engineering
or modification of species.
eace has this to say about genetic engineering:
enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro
organisms by manipulating genes in a way that does not occur naturally.
These genetically modified organisms (GMO) can spread through nature
and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminatin
g non 'GE'
environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and
Say no to…
These bees, much like a non
native species, were able to take over their new
environment that they escaped into.
A related concern is the reduction o
f the world’s
biological diversity. This can lead to extinction of a variety of plant an animal species,
and therefore, can negatively affect human nutrition (Hildyard, 32)
Another fear is the
uncertainty of how cross
breading will turn out, and what the
side affects may be. The
case scenario that the “Killer Bee” could have created may become a reality if we
are not extremely careful when taking risks with genetic engineering and species
Africanized Bees have not turned out to be the
“Killer Bees” that the news media
warned about. They are dangerous, but people do not encounter them very often, and they
appear to be limited to a certain climate range. The real fear that the example of the
Africanized bee raises is the unpredictability
and possible dangers of genetic engineering.
ee, or what was originally expected to become the “Killer Bee”, is a
powerful example of the possible down side to genetic engineering and tampering with
PARKER MAN DIES AFTER BEE ATTACK
”. 27 September, 2006.
Fort Worth Star
. 26 July, 2006. <
Dingus, Anne. “A TEXAS SURVIVAL KIT”. Texas Monthly. 32.10 October, 2004:
132. Proquest. Anoka
ommunity Coll. Lib., Coon Rapids, MN. 13
July, 2006. < http://proquest.umi.com>
, Nicholas. “Genetic Engineering in Agriculture Whose Risks? Whose Gains?”
The Corner House.
19 July, 2006.
Koerner, Brandon. “
Why Are Killer Bees So Slow?
” 24 August, 2004.
26 July, 2006.
, Clara. “
Some beekeepers believe 'killer bees' are fraud
” June, 1993.
26 July, 2006.
Say no to genetic engineering
. 26 July, 2006.
Lessons From Nature Episode 1
October, 2005: 54
Ramsey Community Coll. Lib., Coon
13 July, 2006. < http://proquest.umi.com>