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Pests, Plagues & Politics Lecture 10 INVASION OF THE KILLER BEES.

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Presentation on theme: "Pests, Plagues & Politics Lecture 10 INVASION OF THE KILLER BEES."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pests, Plagues & Politics Lecture 10 INVASION OF THE KILLER BEES

2 Key Points Bee Taxonomy – Where do Africanized honey bees (AHB) fit in? What differentiates AHB from other honey bees? Problems with AHB Current distribution of AHB

3 Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) Order Order – HYMENOPTERA Family Family – Apidae Genus & species Genus & species – Apis mellifera L.

4 Africanized Honey Bees Apoidea (BEES) Apoidea (BEES) – ca. 20,000 species worldwide – ca. 10% of which are social – seven major families Family Apidae Family Apidae – the Bumble Bees – the Stingless Bees – the HONEY BEES

5 Africanized Honey Bees Family Apidae Family Apidae – Genus Apis Nine species: Nine species: – Apis dorsata & Apis laboriosa the giant honey bees the giant honey bees – Apis florea & Apis andreniformis the small or dwarf honey bees the small or dwarf honey bees – Apis cerana, Apis koschenikovi, et alia the eastern honey bees the eastern honey bees AND AND

6 Apis mellifera Many biotypes-races-subspecies Many biotypes-races-subspecies – ca. 25 in the world Largest geographical range of any honey bee species Largest geographical range of any honey bee species – why? – ANTHROPOGENIC NOT “ domesticated ” NOT “ domesticated ”

7 11 races of honey bees

8 Apis dorsata F. The Giant Honey Bee

9 Apis florea F. The dwarf honey bee

10 Apis cerana F. The eastern honey bee

11 A. mellifera to the “ New ” World North America North America – 1622 from Europe South America South America – ca. early 19 th century from Europe a temperate animal to largely a tropical environment a temperate animal to largely a tropical environment [ note: No honey bees in the western hemisphere prior to 1622 ]

12 African Honey Bees to Brasil – A govt. program to improve the productivity of honey bees – Headed by Dr. Warwick Kerr – Honey bee stocks selected in Africa A.m. scutellata A.m. scutellata – 1957 swarms escaped into the wilds. swarms escaped into the wilds. And thus began the reign of

13 Research Efforts - AHB Caveat: prior to mid-1950 ties, 95% of honey bee research had been conducted on Apis mellifera - European biotypes!! Caveat: prior to mid-1950 ties, 95% of honey bee research had been conducted on Apis mellifera - European biotypes!! Brasil Brasil – Enormous research effort on AHB largely ignored by N. American research community. largely ignored by N. American research community. USDA USDA – from mid-1970 ties onward French Guyana - Venezuela - Panama - Mexico - Argentina (belatedly) French Guyana - Venezuela - Panama - Mexico - Argentina (belatedly)

14 The Notoriety of “ Killer ” Bees A Killer?? A Killer?? – If YES, then all bees are killers – If NO, then no bees are killers “ Killer ”“ Killer ” – an anthropomorphic term totally inappropriate – created by TIME magazine in the mid ties

15 Envenomation (stinging) A DEFENSIVE response A DEFENSIVE response to colony disturbance! Note: LD 50 for stings is about 1,000

16 Stinging Mediated by: Mediated by: – Weather; temperature & relative humidity – Light; day vs. night – Odors; alarm & CO 2 (your breath) – Color; dark targeted preferentially – Movement; visual disruption – Colony size – Genetics AHB react to colony disturbance with an increased quantitative response AHB react to colony disturbance with an increased quantitative response

17 The Problems with AHB Swarm production Swarm production Opportunistic selection of nesting sites Opportunistic selection of nesting sites Facultative swarm amalgamation Facultative swarm amalgamation Superior competitive ability Superior competitive ability – in foraging – in sex!! Heightened & persistent defensive response Heightened & persistent defensive response

18 AHB Today!!! 50,000,000 colonies of Ahb now found in their New World range 50,000,000 colonies of Ahb now found in their New World range – compared to perhaps 3,000,000 Ehb colonies in the white boxes in the U.S. First Arrival In U.S. First Arrival In U.S. – October – Hidalgo, Texas

19 Migration and Distribution as of 2010

20

21 Ahb – California 2007

22 Majorqueenproducer

23 AHB – Florida 2006

24 Potential “ Range ” of Ahb in the U.S.

25 AHB in the U.S. Ahb is a tropical creature Ahb is a tropical creature Ehb is a temperate creature Ehb is a temperate creature Each in their respective ecosystems is superior Each in their respective ecosystems is superior – ergo: Pure Ahb will not establish in much of the U.S. Pure Ahb will not establish in much of the U.S. HOWEVER, Hybrids will!!! HOWEVER, Hybrids will!!! – So what ’ s a hybrid ???

26 Ahb/Ehb Hybrids Apis mellifera queen Apis mellifera queen mates with males – 1 Ahb & 19 Ehb males 5% 5% of the workers are 50/50 African-European – 10 Ahb & 10 Ehb males 50% 50% of the workers are 50/50 African-European African queen African queen – 1 Ahb & 19 Ehb males 5% 5% of the workers are pure African – 10 Ahb & 10 Ehb males 50% 50% of the workers are pure African

27 Belize: The Ahb Paradigm!!! Totally tropical; totally Ahb

28 “ A small proud nation ” 30° S. Lat. 35º S. Lat. A mixture of Pure Ahb, Hybridized Ahb, & Pure Ehb

29 Problems to date!! Public Health Public Health – minor with ca. 10 human deaths in 10 years – compared to 500 human fatalities due to Ehb Beekeeping Beekeeping – Lost markets – Disruption of normal migratory bee movement – Increased input costs – Potential loss of pollination efficacy

30 Key Points Bee Taxonomy – Where do Africanized honey bees (AHB) fit in What differentiates AHB from other honey bees? Problems with AHB Current distribution of AHB


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