Honey Bees are not native to the U.S. Originally from Africa, they were brought to Europe where they were domesticated and bred to be gentle. In Europe, honey bees (also called the Italian bee) were kept as pets, hobbies and livestock.
We owe much of the food that we consume to bees through bee pollinated crops, and the animals that feed on these crops. Before breeding with Africanized bees, these domesticated honey bees were so docile that many bee keepers did not wear any protective equipment when handling them. If you were a child back then, you might remember catching bees in pop bottles off the honey suckle shrubs and playing with them. Many people handled bees, not knowing they were allergic because they had never been stung by these non-aggressive bees.