Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Africanized Killer Bees | Bumblebees | Honey Bees

Africanized Bee.

Africanized honey bees "Killer Bees" in the Western Hemisphere are of mixed descent from 26 Tanganyikan queen bees of A. m. scutellata, accidentally released by a replacement bee-keeper in 1957 near Rio Claro, São Paulo, in the southeast of Brazil.

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The hives were operated by biologist Warwick E. Kerr, who had interbred honey bees from Europe and southern Africa. Hives containing these particular queens were noted to be especially defensive. Kerr was attempting to breed a strain of bees that would produce more honey and be better adapted to tropical conditions (i.e., more productive) than the European subspecies of honey bee used in South America and southern North America. The hives where the bees were released had special excluder grates to prevent the larger queen bees and drones from getting out and mating with local queens and drones of European descent. However, following the accidental release, the African queens and drones mated with domesticated local non-African queens and drones, and their descendants have since spread throughout the Americas.

Africanized Bees Compared to European Honey Bees 

Tends to swarm more frequently and go farther than other types of honey bees.

Is more likely to migrate as part of a seasonal response to lowered food supply.

Is more likely to "abscond"—the entire colony leaves the hive and relocates—in response to stress.

Has greater defensiveness when in a resting swarm, compared to other honey bee types.

Lives more often in ground cavities than the European types.

Guards the hive aggressively, with a larger alarm zone around the hive.

Has a higher proportion of "guard" bees within the hive.

Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distances from the hive.

Cannot survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing introduction into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers.

See also ...
Africanized Honey Bee eol.org/pages/10455995/overview