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Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Africanized Honey Bees in Florida Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner Wayne N.

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Presentation on theme: "Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Africanized Honey Bees in Florida Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner Wayne N."— Presentation transcript:

1 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Africanized Honey Bees in Florida Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner Wayne N. Dixon, Division Director

2 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Bees evolved from wasps 80 million years ago Spanish brought over first honeybee colonies in the 16 th century Dubbed “white man’s flies” by Native American tribes History of Honey Bees

3 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Florida Beekeeping Florida beekeeping developed between 1872 and 1888 Reported in 1879 that most everyone in Daytona area kept several colonies Apiaries began to be established all over state after Florida held the world record for honey production

4 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Florida Beekeeping Apiary inspection was created by Legislative Act ,000 colonies maintained by registered beekeepers (last 3 years) 56,000 colonies inspected from 3,400 apiaries per year

5 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry First bred to create a honeybee better suited for tropical conditions African queen bees were accidentally released from breeding in Sao Paulo, Brazil AHB - History

6 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry How Africanized honeybees entered Florida

7 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Deep Water Ports of Florida Florida has 14 deep water ports

8 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Spread of Africanized Honey Bees from 1990 t0 2006

9 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Africanized honey bees have arrived! Now What?

10 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry

11 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry AHB Finds in Florida (estimate) Percent of Finds

12 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Maintaining 500 bait traps throughout the state to intercept introduction of AHBs Conducting analytical tests to determine AHBs genetics Working w/multiple entities to educate/train What is FDACS/DPI doing to prevent AHB’s from entering Florida?

13 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Cone style trap is made from recycled wood pulp Lures used to attract bees into swarm traps or hives Swarm trap Swarm lure

14 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Swarms Are Not Aggressive

15 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Facts About Swarms Swarms are a way colonies divide when they get too large for their current hive location The old queen and some of the workers leave the old colony to find a new colony at a new location. Bees in swarms are not defensive because they do not have resources (honey and babies) to defend.

16 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry AHB Planning Collaboration and Training in Florida Formed Africanized Bee Working Group Devoting research funds to AHB Providing funds to the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for a “Train the Trainer” curriculum Partnership with Florida State Beekeepers Association

17 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry The Truth About Africanized Honey Bees Africanized honey bees (AHB) are the same species as European honey bees (EHB). The sting of the AHB is not more dangerous or toxic than EHB. You cannot tell an AHB from a EHB by looking at them.

18 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Three to four times as many bees respond to threat 10 times more stings per encounter compared to European honey bees Defend wider area around nest compared to European honey bees Can chase victims for ¼ mile AHB - Behavior/Defensive Response

19 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Attacks can result in numerous stings. Notice the number of stingers on the glove to the left.

20 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry At-Risk Groups People likely to interact with bees  Outdoor workers Foresters and fire fighters Parks and recreation personnel Landscapers Utility workers Land clearing equipment operators  Military during training  Sports enthusiasts  Rescue personnel

21 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry At-Risk Groups These people are at greater risk from encounters with feral AHB colonies because they are less able to escape the situation. Small Children Elderly Handicapped

22 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry At-Risk Groups Animals at risk  Tethered or restrained animals.  Penned, caged, or corralled.  Horses and bees don’t mix.

23 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry AHB Interactions in Florida First human fatality resulting from AHB stings occurred in Okeechobee County Horse killed in LaBelle (Lee County) Dog killed in Fort Myers (Lee County) Dogs killed in Miami Gardens (Miami-Dade County) – dogs’ owners sent to hospital, firemen (first responders) injured City workers in Moore Haven (Glades County) sent to hospital Farm worker in Brevard County injured Four dogs killed (Palm Beach County), property owner injured Many more reports of stinging incidents throughout state, primary in South Florida 2008 interactions will only increase

24 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry What should you do to avoid being stung? What should you do if you are being attacked by stinging insects?

25 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Bee Alert Check the environment around your homes regularly for possible bee nesting sites – plug holes Look for bees in work areas before using power equipment – noise excites bees

26 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Hive in an Old Gas Tank

27 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Surprise AHB Nesting Site

28 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Bee Proofing Africanized honey bees nest in a wide variety of locations  Need openings >1/8 inch, cavity behind the opening for a nest Eliminate shelter  Caulk cracks in walls, foundation, and roof  Fill or screen holes >1/8-inch in trees, structures, or block walls  Screen attic vents, irrigation boxes, and water meter box holes  Remove trash or debris that might shelter honey bees  Fill or cover animal burrows  Secure window screens to fit tightly  Close shed doors tightly and keep in good repair Hole leading to cavity

29 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Colony Removal Disturbing a defensive colony by untrained personnel could endanger people and pets up to 150 yards away from colony. Only experienced persons with protective equipment should attempt to remove or eliminate bee colonies.  Improper removal can cause bees to attack bystanders.  Numerous insecticides are approved for use on bees.  Use foam. Soapy water doesn't work effectively on a colony because honey comb prevents adequate coverage.

30 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry If attacked, cover your mouth and nose and run inside a building, vehicle or other enclosure Don’t swat at bees – only makes them more defensive Don’t jump in a pool – they’ll wait for you If stung, scrape off the stinger with a fingernail or credit card Call a pest control company to remove the hive Seek medical attention if necessary Stinger in arm

31 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Putting AHB Into Perspective AHB are more aggressive than EHB. AHB swarm more and produce more feral colonies. AHB nest in more and smaller spaces than EHB. In terms of aggressive defense of the colony and potential number of stings, AHB are comparable to our native yellow jackets or bald-faced hornets.

32 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Bee Aware... Public Awareness Program Challenge: Educate the public about potential dangers of AHB, while at the same time stressing the importance of managed honey bee colonies to Florida agriculture

33 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Interface/Educate/ Train Established Inter- Agency Working Group Make presentations/ attend statewide conferences Develop/distribute brochures, fact sheets, videos, PSAs, school curriculums

34 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry AHB Inter-Agency Working Group State agencies (public health, emergency management, tourism, environmental services, Ag law, Forestry), industry representatives, University of Florida IFAS, ag officials from Georgia and Alabama Mission: to share information and speak with one voice

35 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry AHB Inter-Agency Working Group Create/maintain Intranet Web site to share information Develop easy-to-remember slogan for responding to potential AHB attacks Conduct statewide presentations to stakeholder groups

36 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Managed colonies dilute AHB populations. Prevent AHB takeover of European honeybee hives. AHB are less likely attracted to areas where other foragers exist. Importance of Managed Colonies in Mitigating AHB

37 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Beekeepers are Valuable European honey bees are the first and best deterrent against an area becoming Africanized.

38 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Public Outreach Efforts: What works/what doesn’t Clear message works: AHB’s are here and they are potentially dangerous...

39 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Public Outreach Efforts: What works/what doesn’t Present concise information on what to do if attacked by stinging insects such as AHBs:  Be aware of your surroundings (look for bees, listen for buzzing)  If attacked, run, seek shelter inside  Scrape off stingers  Contact PCO to remove hive  Seek medical attention if necessary

40 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Public Outreach Efforts: What works/what doesn’t People are interested in AHBs – getting their attention should be easy Use existing communication tools to educate your audiences (newsletters, utility bill inserts, Web site links, etc.) Encourage the public to be knowledgeable and prepared, not to panic We can learn to live with AHBs as we have yellow jackets, fire ants, etc.

41 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Public Outreach Efforts: What works/what doesn’t Greatest challenges:  Getting the word out – interfacing w/other entities  Explaining the importance of managed colonies (food does not originate at Publix)

42 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Summary Africanized Honey Bees do not intentionally try to hurt people. They are simply defending their territory. If people disturb the hive, or if a hive is accidentally disturbed, the bees are likely to react adversely. Generally, the chances of being injured by any stinging insect are slim.

43 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Summary Being aware of your surroundings and taking simple precautions is the best defense against Africanized honey bees. With that in mind you still have to be aware of this potential threat and know how to react if you encounter Africanized Bees as you would with any other natural threat such as lightning, snakes or other biting/stinging insects.

44 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry FDACS/DPI Apiary Trivia FDACS/DPI staff served as technical consultants on Ulee’s Gold (Peter Fonda’s Oscar-winning film)

45 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry FDACS/DPI Helpline Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry

46 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Thank you. Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry


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