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Africanized Honey Bees Do we need to be concerned! Unknown artist’s Scary vision of AfHB Dewey M. Caron.

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Presentation on theme: "Africanized Honey Bees Do we need to be concerned! Unknown artist’s Scary vision of AfHB Dewey M. Caron."— Presentation transcript:

1 Africanized Honey Bees Do we need to be concerned! Unknown artist’s Scary vision of AfHB Dewey M. Caron

2 Origin Out of East Africa Swarming into wild in Brazil Changing American Beekeepers & Beekeeping Native (Masai) harvest of rustic colony In tree – nightime w/ smoke & fire Beekeeper contemplating AHB swarm capture Beekeeper inspection of AHB colony in Panama Note: using jumbo smoker

3 Africanized bee spread in Americas following introduction into Brazil (1957) Pacific coast of Peru/Ecuador due to beekeeper colony movement Numerous importations into Eastern ports - eliminated X Isolated introductions X by truck/rail/beekeeper - eliminated X Maine blueberry pollination sampling shows increase of AHB X X X X X 2005 Fl considered colonized X AR X LA X OK X AL X 2005

4 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 for compilation of media stories

5 What is an Africanized Bee (AHB)? A Honey Bee Population w/ slight biological changes 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). Workers ‘running’ off comb AHB prefer smaller nest cavities & build exposed nests more often Than temperate (European) bees AHB

6 The Africanized bee is a Pollinator papaya But it is a more difficult bee to manage in planned pollination due to higher swarming /absconding/defensiveness Melon pollination in Costa Rica

7 The AHB is a better honey producer in tropical climates (compared to EHB) Tropical Honey Production Higher elevation (less tropical) conditions in Bolivia

8 BUT Honey is a valuable medicine in 3 rd world rather than food Honey for sale In a Guatamalan Market Note: you buy bottle or piece of comb In wax paper

9 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

10 Tropical vs Temperate honey bees Temperate EHB in tropics Selection factor – winter -- so raise more workers and store more honey to survive, swarming/ abandoning the nest less ● store more honey for winter ● nest in well-insulated cavities ● rear lg worker populations ● only 1-3 swarms/year ● rarely abandon nest

11 Tropical vs Temperate honey bees Tropical AHB 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

12 Challenges w/ AHB It can be unpredictable! It can sting a lot – humans & animals have died Exploding from colony as it is opened

13 Challenges w/ AHB Need new locations Need to plan for defensiveness Must now isolate or conceal colonies w/ vegetative corral and move them away from people & animals

14 Challenges w/ AHB Need to modify management + Keeping them home – must control swarming & absconding They raise lots of brood – store less honey They run off combs when inspected

15 The major challenge Raising manageable stock Not possible to keep AHB & EHB in same apiary (EHB not competitive) Queen finding & rearing is very difficult with AHB Where AHB colonize: IN U.S. Do we have a better chance of keeping gentle European stock?

16 So where has it colonized in US? XXX Source: ars.usda.gov/AHBmap

17 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.

18 What needs to be done? Inform beekeepers, 1 st responders, public Inform beekeepers, 1 st responders, public Establish press relations (it will “hit” the press) Establish press relations (it will “hit” the press) Survey for its presence Survey for its presence Revise bee laws Revise bee laws Requeen colony if Requeen colony if defensive defensive Keep on beekeeping beekeeping Beekeepers are part of “solution” – not part of “problem” Beekeepers are part of “solution” – not part of “problem”

19 So in summary.... AHB Honey Bee population has changed AHB Honey Bee population has changed the face of American beekeeping the face of American beekeeping

20 It is an excellent tropical/semi-tropical bee WHERE 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

21 GOOD NEWS!! In South American higher elevations AHB is more manageable! They CAN adapt to severe winters...but do better in the south! Bolivian apiary at 8500 ft

22 AND they are now a ready resource for rural campesinos USDA photo A trapped AHB swarm/ abscond - can be transferred to a hive or honey harvested from wild

23 So.... Will where will they be a factor in US Beekeeping??? Primarily they are a TROPICAL/SEMI-TROPICAL ADAPTED BEE

24 So the answer is.... YET


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