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The World’s Largest Killer Bee Can be Found in This Texas Town

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The first “killer bee” colony in Texas was discovered in Hidalgo, back in October 1990. This sent the U.S. media into a frenzy. However Hidalgo actually honored the discovery. Some of the townsfolk even embraced the title of “killer bee capital of the world.” The city’s Economic Development Department erected a 2K-lb statue of a bee to celebrate the town’s claim to fame as opposed to carrying on with bad press.

Entering the U.S. from Brazil, the Africanized bees are a product of some cross-breeding that a group of South American scientists worked on in the 1950s. In an effort to boost regional honey production, the scientists tried to cross African bees with European honeybees. Their goal was to create one that would be able to flourish in their climate, which was considered subtropical. The matter got out of hand, however, when some of the African queen bees made their escape from their Brazilian apiary. Following that, they started mating with local bees, and an unpredictable hybrid subspecies resulted. Their numbers spread north, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of animals and people in their path.

The World’s Largest Killer Bee Can be Found in This Texas Town

Photo: Wikimedia/Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Far less passive than the European bees, the Africanized honeybees, as individuals, aren’t considered deadly. However, as a group, they become considerably more aggressive after being provoked, when they’ll swarm and sting in multitudes. Something as simple as the noise from a lawnmower or a passing car or truck can trigger them into a defensive attack. Multiple stings from these insects can prove fatal to humans.

The World’s Largest Killer Bee Can be Found in This Texas Town

Photo: Facebook/Hal Rhoads

The swarm that was discovered in Hidalgo consisted of approximately 3K “killer bees.” It was located in a monitoring trap just outside of the city, proving they had officially made their way into the United States. The mayor of this South Texas city chose to celebrate its somewhat ominous connection with these dreaded bees, and the town took on the infamous title it now proudly carries. The 2,000-pound bee statue can still be seen if you’re traveling that way, and if you’re fascinated by the species, you can also purchase postcards and posters featuring the dreaded insect!