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Living with Africanized Bees. Michael K. O’Malley , AFBEE Program Coordinator, omalleym@ufl.edu Jamie Ellis , UF Assistant Professor of Entomology, jdellis@ufl.edu Anita Neal , St. Lucie County Extension Director, asn@ufl.edu. Apis mellifera spp. Apis mellifera spp. 1950’s.

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living with africanized bees

Living with Africanized Bees

Michael K. O’Malley, AFBEE Program Coordinator, omalleym@ufl.edu

Jamie Ellis, UF Assistant Professor of Entomology, jdellis@ufl.edu

Anita Neal, St. Lucie County Extension Director, asn@ufl.edu

southern distribution of ahb
Southern Distribution of AHB

As of March 2008

USDA

slide10

More Bees (like the ‘good old days’)

Figures out of South America suggest 100-200 feral colonies per square mile in areas where AHB occur

UF/IFAS

why african bees are so successful
Why African bees are so successful:
  • Drone abundance
  • Nest usurpation and queen take-over
  • Dominance of African alleles
  • African bee swarming tendencies and reproductive superiority
  • Pest resistance

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: G.W. Hayes

Photo: HBREL

Photo: www.sxc.hu

slide12

African Bee

European Bee

Photo: Sean McCann

Despite this, the average person cannot tell a difference!

differences between ahb and ehb hive defense and stinging
Differences between AHB and EHB Hive Defense and Stinging
  • AHB responds quicker and in larger numbers when colony is threatened.
  • AHB remains agitated longer than EHB
  • Disturbing an AHB colony can result in 6-10 times more stings than EHB
  • Feral nests located near people are more dangerous if not removed
  • Improper removal is dangerous for neighbors and bystanders
slide18

Their behavior is extremely variable.

Photo: A. Ellis

Photo: USDA

Photo: A. Ellis

differences between ahb and ehb excessive swarming
Differences between AHB and EHBExcessive Swarming
  • Swarming involves honey bee reproduction at the colony level
    • About 60% of the bees leave colony with queen to establish new colony
    • Bees left behind rear new queen and remain a functioning colony
  • AHBs swarm more frequently than the EHBs
    • EHB colonies swarm 1-2 times/year
    • AHB colonies can swarm 10+ times/yr
  • AHB swarm is smaller than EHB swarm
    • Some aren't much larger than a coffee cup.
  • 300 AHB swarms per square mile in Central America
differences between ahb and ehb selection of nesting site
Differences between AHB and EHB Selection of Nesting Site
  • EHBs are discriminating in selecting nest sites.
    • Large hollow cavities (about 10 gallons in size)
    • Above ground, clean, and dry voids
    • protected
  • AHBs nest almost anywhere
    • Smaller, closer to the ground
    • Underground
    • Exposed nests in tree branches or elsewhere
  • Difficult to detect AHB in varied nesting locations until too late
slide22

A: Everywhere!

Photo: W. H. Kern, Jr.

Photo: J. D. Ellis

Photo: J.D. Ellis

Photo: J. D. Ellis

slide24

http://www.state.ok.us/~okag/agri-ahb.htm

Photo: W. H. Kern, Jr.

Photo: Insect IQ

Photo: Insect IQ

slide25

In summary, common nesting sites of AHB include:

  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Empty containers
  • Places & objects with holes
  • Fences
  • Lumber piles
  • Manholes
  • Water meters
  • Utility infrastructures
  • Old tires
  • Trees
  • Garages
  • Outbuildings
  • Sheds
  • Walls
  • Chimneys
  • Playground equipment, etc.

Florida Dept. Ag.

slide27

Beekeeper Considerations

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: UF / IFAS

single hive stands

Photo: HBREL

Jumbo smokers and copious amounts of smoke!

Genetic Selection

White faced veils

Education

slide28

Negative impacts on beekeeping

  • Frequent requeening with marked queens from non-Africanized areas
  • Loss of apiary locations
  • Resource competition
    • (less honey)
  • Loss of pollination contracts
  • Fewer hobbyists

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: www.sxc.hu

  • LIABILITY (from having and removing bees)
  • Lower profit margin
slide29

Other Agriculture Considerations:

Livestock

Photo: www.sxc.hu

slide32

At-Risk Groups

  • Animals at risk
    • Tethered or restrained animals.
    • Penned, caged, or corralled.
    • Horses and bees don’t mix.

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: www.sxc.hu

slide34

The elderly and youth tend to be most affected by AHB:

In both instances, education is the key to preventing dangerous situations.

precautions for the public
Precautions for the public
  • Use caution as for snakes/ants
  • Never approach hive equipment
  • Never disturb a swarm

Photo: www.sxc.hu

  • Tractor operators take care

Photo: M. K. O’Malley

Photo: W. H. Kern, Jr.

Photo: Sean McCann

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: www.sxc.hu

Photo: Insect IQ

  • Be aware of buzzing insect activity at all locations
  • Examine suspect areas before entering or disturbing
  • Be alert in all outdoor situations (hunting, hiking, working, picnicking, etc.)
  • Teach respect and caution of bees
bee proofing your schools public facilities homes tourist sites etc
‘Bee-proofing’ your schools, public facilities, homes, tourist sites, etc.
  • Remove all potential nesting sites (garbage, tires, and other debris)
  • From March-July (swarming season), inspect property weekly for the presence of unusual bee activity
  • Inspect outside walls and eves of your structures
  • Seal openings greater than 1/8-inch in walls, around chimneys, plumbing, and other openings by installing screens (1/8-inch hardware cloth) over such openings (rain spouts, vents, cavities of trees and fence posts, water meter/utility boxes, etc.)
during a stinging emergency
During a stinging emergency:
  • Do not stay in place and swat at bees (this always leads to more stings)
  • Do not hide in water or thick underbrush (it may take bees 30+ minutes to calm down or leave an area – remember their colony is likely close)
  • Do not attempt to remove swarm yourself
  • Seek shelter (building, vehicle, etc.)
  • Call 911
  • Do not attempt a rescue
the afbee program
The AFBEE Program
  • African honey Bee Extension & Education
  • Partnership between
    • University of Florida
    • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

“Educate every Florida citizen and visitor about the presence of and living with AHBs”

slide45

If you have any AHB-related questions,

call Jamie Ellis: UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology: 352-392-1901 ext: 130 – jdellis@ufl.edu

or

Jerry Hayes: Florida DPI: 352-372-3505 ext:128http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/plantinsp/ahb.html

or

Visit the AFBEE Program website http://www.AFBEE.com

slide46

© 2007 University of Florida

Michael K. O’Malley, AFBEE Program Coordinator (omalleym@ufl.edu)

Jamie Ellis, UF Assistant Professor of Entomology (jdellis@ufl.edu)

Anita Neal, St. Lucie County Extension Director (asn@ufl.edu )

Photos used by permission:

Insect IQ

William H. Kern, Jr.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Zach Huang

www.sxc.hu--stock photography

USDA

UF/IFAS

Michael K. O’Malley

Keith S. Delaplane

Amanda Ellis

Jamie Ellis

G. Kastberger

Sean McCann