Africanized honey bees
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Africanized Honey Bees. Do we need to be concerned!. Unknown artist’s Scary vision of AfHB. Dewey M. Caron. Origin. Out of East Africa. Swarming into wild in Brazil. Native (Masai) harvest of rustic colony In tree – nightime w/ smoke & fire. Beekeeper contemplating AHB swarm capture.

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Africanized Honey Bees

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Africanized honey bees

Africanized Honey Bees

Do we need to be concerned!

Unknown artist’s

Scary vision of AfHB

Dewey M. Caron


Origin

Origin

Out of East Africa

Swarming into wild in Brazil

Native (Masai) harvest of rustic colony

In tree – nightime w/ smoke & fire

Beekeeper contemplating AHB swarm capture

Changing American Beekeepers

& Beekeeping

Beekeeper inspection of AHB colony in Panama

Note: using jumbo smoker


Africanized bee spread in americas following introduction into brazil 1957

Africanized bee spread in Americasfollowing introduction into Brazil (1957)

Isolated introductions X by truck/rail/beekeeper - eliminated

X Maine blueberry pollination

sampling shows increase of AHB

X

X

X

X

X 2005

Numerous importations

into Eastern ports - eliminated

X

X OK

X AR

X LA

X AL

X

2005 Fl considered colonized

Pacific coast

of Peru/Ecuador

due to beekeeper

colony movement


Why is africanized bee ahb sometimes called killer bee

Why is Africanized Bee (AHB) sometimes called “killer bee”?

“Killer” Bee is a media (TIME) term –

Bee is highly defensive and stinging incidents

Increase when it colonizes an area

(newspaper account AZ & southern CA stinging increase)

Animal stinging “accidents” often preceed those with humans

see www.stingshield.com/ahb-index.htmfor compilation of media stories


What is an africanized bee ahb

What is an Africanized Bee (AHB)?

A Honey Bee Population

w/ slight biological changes

AHB

AHB prefer smaller nest cavities

& build exposed nests more often

Than temperate (European) bees

Workers ‘running’ off comb

AHB differences from EHB – swarm a lot, are frequently defensive,

run on combs, rear workers in 19 days, queens in 15 ½ days, are

slightly smaller bodied, early risers and not great dancers, - slight

variations in biology familiar in European (temperate) bees (EHB).


The africanized bee is a pollinator

The Africanized bee is a Pollinator

papaya

Melon pollination in

Costa Rica

But it is a more difficult bee to manage

in planned pollination due to higher

swarming /absconding/defensiveness


The ahb is a better honey producer in tropical climates compared to ehb

The AHB is a better honey producer in tropical climates (compared to EHB)

Tropical Honey Production

Higher elevation (less tropical)

conditions in Bolivia


But honey is a valuable medicine in 3 rd world rather than food

BUT Honey is a valuable medicinein 3rd world rather than food

Honey for sale

In a Guatamalan

Market

Note: you buy bottle

or piece of comb

In wax paper


The ahb is not a hybrid

The AHB is NOT a hybrid!

It is essentially pure African but not easy to ID in early stages of colonization

Shown is Tom Rinderer, USDA making morphometric measures of wings –

mt DNA is a more reliable (but costly) method to determine AHB or EHB


Tropical vs temperate honey bees

Tropical vs Temperate honey bees

Temperate EHB in tropics

● store more honey for winter

● nest in well-insulated cavities

● rear lg worker populations

● only 1-3 swarms/year

●rarely abandon nest

Selection factor – winter -- so raise more workers

and store more honey to survive, swarming/

abandoning the nest less


Tropical vs temperate honey bees1

Tropical vs Temperate honey bees

TropicalAHB in tropics

● smaller nests

● collect more pollen – less honey

● higher reproduction (swarming)

● abandon nests more

● more defensive

Selective factor – predation

-- so more quickly raise

brood and reproduce. Defend

more rapidly but also abandon

nest to reestablish elsewhere


Challenges w ahb it can be unpredictable

Challenges w/ AHBIt can be unpredictable!

It can sting a lot –

humans & animals have died

Exploding from colony as it is opened


Challenges w ahb need new locations

Challenges w/ AHBNeed new locations

Need to plan for defensiveness

Must now isolate or conceal colonies w/ vegetative corral

and move them away from people & animals


Challenges w ahb need to modify management

Challenges w/ AHBNeed to modify management

They raise lots

of brood – store

less honey

They run off combs

when inspected

+ Keeping them home – must control

swarming & absconding


The major challenge raising manageable stock

The major challengeRaising manageable stock

Queen finding &

rearing is very

difficult with AHB

Where AHB colonize:

Not possible

to keep AHB &

EHB in same

apiary

(EHB not competitive)

IN U.S.

Do we have a

better chance

of keeping gentle

European stock?


So where has it colonized in us

So where has it colonized in US?

XXX

Source: ars.usda.gov/AHBmap


Not here yet

Not here ....YET!!!

It is a tropical/sub-tropical bee, not a desirable bee for temperate conditions…

We do NOT know its eventual distribution within U.S.


What needs to be done

What needs to be done?

  • Inform beekeepers, 1st responders, public

  • Establish press relations (it will “hit” the press)

  • Survey for its presence

  • Revise bee laws

  • Requeen colony if

    defensive

  • Keep on

    beekeeping

    Beekeepers are part of “solution” – not part of “problem”


So in summary

So in summary....

AHB Honey Bee population has changed

the face of American beekeeping


It is an excellent tropical semi tropical bee where there is no alternative

It is an excellent tropical/semi-tropical beeWHERE there is NO alternative!

Pre-AHB apiary

Where they have colonized they are superior competitors –

you can’t successfully keep European bees side-by-side


Good news in south american higher elevations ahb is more manageable

GOOD NEWS!! In South American higher elevations AHB is more manageable!

Bolivian

apiary at

8500 ft

They CAN adapt to severe winters...but do better in the south!


And they are now a ready resource for rural campesinos

AND they are now a readyresource for rural campesinos

A trapped

AHB swarm/

abscond

- can be

transferred

to a hive or

honey

harvested

from wild

USDA photo


So will where will they be a factor in us beekeeping

So.... Will where will they be a factor in US Beekeeping???

Primarily they are a

TROPICAL/SEMI-TROPICAL

ADAPTED BEE


So the answer is

So the answer is....

YET


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