Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lab Tests Needed to Differentiate Africanized, European Bees

Know Your Honey Bees - Are they Africanized or European?
News-Citizen (USA), 5/13/2009

Africanized honey bees are well established in the wild population of honey bees in Texas. The Africanized bee is a hybrid (mixture) of African and European honey bee subspecies. Both are not native to the Americas. As a hybrid the Africanized bee appears identical to European honey bees. Individual foraging European and Africanized bees are highly unlikely to sting. A swarm rarely stings people when in flight or temporarily at rest.

However, established Africanized colonies are more highly defensive toward perceived predators than European colonies.

It is sometimes important to know if a bee colony contains Africanized members…

Because Africanized honey bees are nearly identical in appearance to our more docile, domesticated (European) honey bees, the only way to make a positive identification is with the use of sophisticated optical and computer equipment. In addition, at least 10-20 worker bees must be submitted to accurately test whether the colony is Africanized. Bees collected away from their nest or swarm-for instance, at feeding or watering sites-cannot be reliable identified.

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