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Africanized Honey Bees

From SolutionsForYourLife.com

Africanized honey bees (AHB) have made their way into the state of Florida. AHBs breed and compete with the European strains of honey bees that normally inhabit our state. Because Florida's AHB population is increasing, it is important to become familiar with AHBs and their behavior.

Although they are often referred to as killer bees, the correct term is Africanized honey bees. Another common mistake is describing them as aggressive. Their behavior is actually defensive - they react to human invasion of their environment and defend themselves when necessary. Attacks occur when people are too close to a nesting colony of AHBs. The AHBs do not sit around and plot attacks on humans.   [read more...]

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The African Honey Bee

From Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services - Division of Plant Industry website

Why is the African bee called the "killer" bee?

Although all honey bees will sting when their nest is threatened by invaders, African bees defend their nests with less provocation, in greater numbers and for longer distances than their cousins, the docile European honey bees that we have in the U.S.

How else is the African bee different from our domestic European bee?

The African bee is slightly smaller than our domestic bee, but it takes a laboratory test to measure the difference. A single African bee sting is no more venomous than a single European bee sting. The most important difference is in their behavior. African bees produce more offspring, defend their nests much more fiercely and in greater numbers and are more likely to abandon the nest (abscond) when threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions.   [read more...]

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The Differences Between African & European Honey Bees

In the video below, UF Assistant Professor, Dr. Jamie Ellis of the AFBEE Program, talks about the differences between African and European honey bees.

ellis

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Africanized Honey Bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)

From UF/IFAS Featured Creatures

The African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier, is a subspecies (or race) of the western honey bee, A. mellifera Linnaeus, that occurs naturally in sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced into the Americas. More than 10 subspecies of western honey bees exist in Africa and all justifiably are called "African" honey bees. However, the term "African (Africanized) honey bee" refers exclusively to A.m. scutellata in the bee's introduced range.

Subspecies of western honey bees are native to Europe and Africa but have been spread widely outside their native range due to their economic importance as pollinators and producers of honey.

Initially, only European subspecies of honey bees (hereafter referred to as European bees) were introduced into the Americas, where they were found to be productive in temperate North America, but less so in Central and South America where tropical/subtropical climates dominate. In response to the poor performance of European bees in Brazil, Warwick Kerr, a Brazilian scientist, traveled to southern Africa to screen African honey bee subspecies for productivity and viability. His visit resulted in the importation of A.m. scutellata into Brazil in the late 1950's.   [read more...]

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Africanized Bees: Coping with the Challenge

From Florida-Agriculture.com

This extremely informative video discusses honey bee biology, the difference between European honey bees and African honey bees, the effects of the African honey bee on the beekeeping and agriculture industries in Florida, what Florida residents can do to be informed, and many other topics!   [watch video...]

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Africanized Bee

From Wikipedia

Africanized honey bees (AHB), known colloquially as "killer bees", are hybrids of the African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata (not A.m. adansonii; see Collet et al., 2006), with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee A.m. ligustica and A.m. iberiensis.

History

The Africanized bee in the western hemisphere descended from 26 Tanzanian queen bees (A.m. scutellata) accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 near Rio Claro, São Paulo State in the southeast of Brazil from hives operated by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, who had interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. Hives containing these particular queens were noted to be especially defensive. Kerr was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would be better adapted to tropical conditions (i.e., more productive) than the European bees used in North America and southern South America. The hives from which the bees were released had special excluder grates which were in place to prevent the larger queen bees from getting out but to allow the drones free access to mate with the queen. Unfortunately, following the accidental release, the African queens eventually mated with local drones, and their descendants have since spread throughout the Americas.   [read more...]

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The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas: A Biological Revolution with Human Cultural Implications

From the APIS Information Resource Center
by Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford

Too much it seems cannot be said about the Africanized honey bee in the Americas, especially when it is referred to by its more sensationalized names, "abeja asesina" in Spanish or "killer bee" in English. Unfortunately, these names conjure up an insect that exists on planet earth for one purpose, to kill. And not only can it kill but in a most horrible and gruesome way via a barbed sting filled with life-destroying venom. This killer bee image, like that of sharks, tigers and other species known to harm humans, continues to be perpetuated in the mind of the average citizen, who knows little about insects in general and honey bees in particular. Perhaps the most concrete example of this is the large fiber glass and steel statue of the bee constructed by the citizens of the City of Hidalgo, Texas, where the Africanized bee was first observed to have crossed the border into the United States of America. This statue was originally mounted on a cart and continues to be trotted out during festivals and other occasions as a way to provide publicity for the town of Hidalgo but, in a real way, continues the myth that somehow the Africanized honey bee is larger than life.   [read more...]

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A Brief History of the African honey Bee

Dr.Bill Kern speaking at a first-responder training event

Kern

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Apis mellifera scutellata LEPELETIER (HYMENOPTERA: APIDAE)

Article from the Encyclopedia of Entomology

The African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier) is a subspecies (or race) of western honey bee (A. mellifera L.) that occurs naturally in sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced into the Americas. More than 10 subspecies of western honey bees exist in Africa and all justifiably are called 'African' honey bees. However, the term “African (or Africanized) honey bee” refers exclusively to A.m. scutellata in the bee’s introduced range. [read more...]

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Africanized honey bee page: National Agriculture Pest Information System

from the National Agriculture Pest Information System

This website publishes distribution maps for pests of agricultural and forest commodities and provides links to pest news and information. [read more...]

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