Near the Indian ruins, we found this honey bee hive located about twenty feet above the ground under a rock outcrop. In Arizona, we have two types of honey bees, European and African. Because both types of bees have only minor differences, it is difficult to identify which variety you are dealing with, so it is wise to keep a safe distance.
In general, European honey bees prefer to build their nests in protected environments that are dry and above ground, typically inside hollowed out trees or cactus. They tend to stay in one location for a while and build large nests.
African bees move around a lot, splitting into new groups. They are not as picky and will build hives underground or in exposed areas like tree branches or cliffs, like the hive in this photo.
When it comes to defence, this is probably the most notable difference between the two sub-species.
European bees send 10 to 20 guard bees when there is a perceived threat within 20 feet of the nest.
African bees will send out 100 or more guard bees if they feel threatened by anything within 120 feet of their hive. This is why they have such a fierce reputation.
The moral of this story, respect bees, and keep an eye out for indications of a nearby hive. Most people get attacked because they accidentally disturb a nest. ---------------------------------
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