Friday, August 10, 2012

africanized honey bee

africanized honey bee, A lot of information is available online regarding the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) their migration, and our unsuccessful attempts to limit their spread throughout the Americas. The following AHB insight is based on my own studies of Africanized honeybees and more especially my observations while removing bees for many years across the lower half of the US (where Africanized honeybees co-exist with, intermingle
crossbreed, and appear to outperform the European honeybee). Together these studies along with my own experience have helped me gain unique insight with wild local honey bees and Africanized honey bees.
From a casual perspective, Africanized honeybees are virtually the same as European honeybees in many characteristics. However Africanized honeybees though unnoticeably smaller, are more agile, and have stronger immune systems. AHB's defend their home more aggressively with greater numbers, and are more effective foragers.
Unlike the European honeybee, Africanized honeybees traditionally have difficulty surviving colder climates. This appears to be due to the AHB's focus on brood raising and keeping their hives small, as such AHB's typically do not store enough honey to make it through a long winter.

Read this article or view by topic below, to learn about the Africanized Honey Bee and there successful development across the Americas. Honeybees are very cool; we still have much to learn from them.The Africanized honeybee aka "killer bee" is a cross between a European honeybee (the Italian honeybee) and a honeybee from Africa. Unlike other areas of the world, there are no records of ancient beekeeping practices in Africa; the historical practice of beekeeping in Africa is relatively new compared to Europe. Formerly, "bee robbing" (the process of extracting honey from a beehive) in Africa was fundamentally a smash-and-grab approach by humans, as well as animals, the Ratel aka "honey badger", among other predators, destroying the hive to get the honey. Perhaps this, along with other extreme conditions, caused the more feral aggressive beehives to survive; the fiercer the honeybees in their ability to protect their home and to abscond or relocate to livable or safe areas, the more likely a chance they would survive. This may have caused the African honey bee to develop differently over time than their domesticated sister European honey bees.

So why did people in South America cross breed African honey bees and European honey bees? At the time European honeybees were the preferred bee for beekeeping and had been bred in many corners of the world. However, unlike African honey bees, European bees cannot adapt very well in the tropical regions of the world. Because of this, in the 1950's beekeeping organizations and the government of Brazil began projects in hopes to create a more productive honeybee species for the tropical environment of South America. In 1956, a scientist from Brazil brought what was known as a select stock of domesticated "African" bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) from Central South Africa in Pretoria, for cross breeding with the European honeybee. The scientist leading the project was Dr. Warwick Estevam Kerr, once defamed by those governing in Brazil, Dr Kerr is today an admired social activist.The "Africanized" honeybee appears to have originated from Sao Paulo, Brazil at the Rio Claro Apiary, where Dr Kerr began working to make a more productive honeybee. During this project in 1957, it is said that 26 of Dr. Kerr's first generation hybrid bees were accidentally released by a visiting beekeeper who removed the queen excluders at the entrance of the hives (which keep the queen bee from leaving the hive). These bees spread and mated with the local European honey bees of Brazil. It is since understood that other beekeepers were also experimenting with African honeybees in Brazil. It's calculated that 26 years later in 1982 these bees spread up through Panama, then within 4 years spread through most of Mexico despite government programs set in place to stop the spread of this Africanized or hybrid honeybee.

At the time of the initial release of Dr. Kerr’s hybrid honeybee in 1957, Brazil ranked 27th in honey production. Three decades later, after the introduction of the Africanized bee by Dr Kerr, Brazil sky rocketed to 4th worldwide in honey production which also increased in pollination and food source. Though causing initial hardships, the Africanized honeybee (known as the Brazilian bee or the "brave bee" in Brazil), is now the preferred bee for beekeeping in South America, Central America, and some areas of Mexico. Below is a map of the original estimated spread of the Africanized honeybee from Sao Paulo Brazil in 1957 by the Harvard University Press, animated by Adkins Bee Removal in 2009.
Africanized honeybees first arrived in the US in 1990, where the first Africanized bee hive was reported in Rio Grande, Texas. Below is a map of Africanized honeybees in the US and their spread from Texas to much of the US. To see the large map, visit Adkins honeybee removal information page or click on map..Africanized honeybees are slowing their pace as they move northward into the United States. Existing European honeybee populations are becoming further mixed with the Africanized honeybee migration. This is believed to be aiding in the sharing of behaviors and traits from both the Africanized and European honeybee. Meaning the more docile European honeybees become slightly more aggressive while the more aggressive Africanized honeybees become more docile. There is said or claimed to be both desirable and undesirable outcomes. One benefit of the mingling of genes and traits is that the weaker populations of European honeybees are becoming healthier, thanks to their African cousins’ stronger immune systems. Another factor is that Africanized bees have trouble surviving cold weather. This is because they are traditionally used to warm weather and they keep their hives relatively small, not needing to store large amounts of honey to live on during the winter. Additionally smaller bee hives do not fair so well during the winter season in the more northern continental US, as the cold air gets to the core of the beehive much sooner than a larger hive with a greater mass, this plus a shortage of honey to make it through a longer winter causes Africanized bees to have difficulty surviving in cold weather.An Africanized honeybee sting is identical in severity to European honeybees, and like the European bee, it loses its stinger and dies shortly after it stings. Stingers are about an eighth of an inch long and a sixteenth of an inch across at the dislodged end (were the venom sac is). If stung by a honeybee the barbed stinger will typically get stuck in the skin as the bee pulls away, dislodging it from the bee's abdomen. The small muscle on the end of the dislodged stinger will continue to pump venom through the hollow needle-like stinger for up to a minute. The sooner the stinger is removed, the less swelling will occur. In relation to removing the stinger; many claim to scrape and not pull the stinger out, studies have shown one method of removing the stinger is generally as effective as the next. Whether you pull out the stinger out, or scrape it out appears to be irrelevant. The more important factor is how long the stinger is in the host, as well as how deep and how sensitive the affected area of the body is, and perhaps, in addition to how alarmed or panicked the individual is.
At a young age I grew up around beehives and when I would get stung by a bee, the calm confidence from my mom made me feel that it would be ok. Some ointment, along with some TLC, seemed the best remedy for the pain. According to past studies, researchers have found that more people think they are allergic to bees than actually are. In the US, about two million out of three hundred and five million people are allergic, that's about 0.55% of people that are allergic to some type of bee and wasp stings. If you get stung by a bee or wasp and you feel you're allergic, you should seek medical attention.
When people say they’re allergic to bees, they tend to categorize “bees” to meaning any insect that flies including all types of wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, bumble bees and other solitary bees, often not knowing the difference between a bite and a sting. The insects mentioned above are generally stinging insects with their abdomen, some (like honeybees) loose there stinger but most don’t. The composition of the toxin varies between these species, and if you’re allergic to one, it may not guarantee you’re allergic to others. In my case, when I get stung by a honeybee (apart from the initial scare) nothing of any great substance happens, perhaps a slight bit of unnoticeable redness and minimal if any swelling. Yet when I get stung by a hornet or yellow jacket I have a large amount of redness, a fair amount of swelling followed by a day or two of uncomfortable itching! Tthis is because the components or make up of the toxins of a yellow jacket sting are different than that of a honeybee, the latter to which my body has built up a tolerance. A good example of tolerance is Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) an area of apitherapy, (in which a patient is purposefully stung to assist in healing an ailment. Eventually the patient is able to be stung by more stings at one time as the body naturally builds up a tolerance to the toxin of the sting.
The elderly seem to have less tolerance for bee stings. Some time ago, I was speaking with the former owner of Knoor's Candle Shop, which started out as an apiary. His father owned the apiary before him, and he has since sold to his son. Well, he grew up around bees his entire life and worked with bees as an adult, but recently while doing some beekeeping he was stung (getting stung is a regular occurrence for beekeepers). He swelled up something good and was rushed to the hospital where a doctor told him he must be allergic. With age it seems his tolerance level weakened. This seems to be a common as people get older.
What Makes Africanized Bees Mad or Dangerous?
Not all Africanized honeybees today are 'killers' or demonstrate aggressive behavior. In addition, if you were to come across a large amount of Africanized honeybees foraging on flowers, you will find they are no more dangerous than any other honeybees in this situation. Bees are, however, very protective of their homes. It is estimated that feral Africanized bees hives can protect their home with up to 4 or 5 times the amount of honey bees and produce more alarm pheromone to excite and alarm the bees in the hive than European bees do. Africanized bees can become agitated more easily, and stay alert longer than European bees. Africanized honeybees have very similar characteristics to European honeybees; they can become agitated by any of the following near the beehive: loud or vibrating noises like lawn mowers or shrub trimmers, rapid or startling movements, dark colors, the smell of bananas, and exhaling or carbon dioxide. The following is more detailed on what makes bees mad, provokes bees, or make bees angry.
Lawn mowers: The smell of cut grass, and the vibration and noise of lawn mowers cause bees to become alarmed and feel that their home is being threatened. Note: The amount of shrubbery and flowers around your home does not attract any more or less beehives or swarms to move onto your property than if you had an all rock yard.
Bananas: Why the smell of bananas? This smell is very similar to the alarm pheromone given off by a distressed bee. The purpose of it is to alert the other bees in the hive of perceived danger. If you plan on working with bees don't bring bananas for a snack!
Moving targets, dark colors, and exhaling are all triggers engrained in the honeybees' alert systems. Bees have been conditioned to protect against these threats most likely because of recurring attacks from other predators that often destroy the beehive and raid the honey. Most animals that do this are dark in color and often hairy as well as exhale carbon dioxide. If you are within perhaps 10 feet or less of the beehive, light colors, a ball cap and a long sleeve shirt as well as calm movements and the absence of heavy breathing (if very close to the hive) all help to not trigger the bees impulses to feel threatened, or defensive.
When bees attack they typically will target your head. Bees also target your hands as they are often in motion. The danger proximity for an Africanized honeybee hive may be anything less than 20 to 40 feet. Once the hive is disturbed, their defensive area can grow much further in range. If the beehive is being removed, an even greater distance away is a good place to be.
Why Have My Honey Bees Become More Aggressive?
Have my bees become Africanized? How can you tell if your bees are Africanized? These are questions many beginner beekeepers ask. Though I'm not an expert on this topic, generally, a good rule of thumb is how consistently defensive they are. Also if you have neighbors that keep bees, consider asking them how their bees are behaving. If its wintertime, you may have nothing to worry about. Bees can be more aggressive or protective during the winter as opposed to summer. This is because the flowers are gone, and protecting the honey they stored is vital to their survival though winter. However in some cases docile bees can be taken over by more aggressive bees including Africanized bees.
Odds of Getting Killed By Africanized Bees
How many people die each year from Africanized bees? Since the arrival of the Africanized honey bee in 1990, Africanized honey bees have caused some 14 confirmed deaths. However, in most cases, though the bees were Africanized, the more accurate cause was that the victims were allergic to honey bee stings. Additionally of the people that died most have been the elderly who are unable to escape as quickly and due to age have more vulnerable immune systems. Below is a chart of Africanized bee stats though meant to be humorous, it compares Africanized honeybee death tolls per year vs. other causes of deaths in America.

africanized honey bee Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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