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Africanized Honeybees (AHB)

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About Killer Bees
I am listed with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Apiary Inspection Section, to serve the public with killer bee control in south Florida. 
Another one bites the dust.....
Wellington, Florida
An Africanized honey bee (left) and a European honeybee on honeycomb. 
Despite color differences between these two bees, normally they can't be identified by eye.

Photographer:  Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service

24 Apr 06 Sun-Sentinel article on this attack; click HERE

Africanized "Killer" Bee on insect pin. 
Photos by Nicholas R. Von Staden
I took this photo. You might be able to see me holding the camera if you look at the refection on my glasses.
After collecting about 200 bees with a mesh net, I put them into 85% ethanol for preservation. I took out a few that looked the best and pinned them with insect pins. Then I placed them on Styrofoam blocks and used very small insect pins, called minutens, to pin out the legs and other body parts so that the insect would dry in a natural-looking position. 
This USDA photo shows Africanized honeybees (AHBs) surrounding a queen domestic honey bee (she has a red mark painted on her thorax).  

To be 100% certain of an identification, you will need to send your bees to a laboratory for statistical, cuticular hydrocarbon, and DNA determinations.
Killer Bee control classes are available for pest control operators and First Responders. Call  561-477-8664  for scheduling.
Have bees? Call me at 561-477-8664
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12 October 2006
Honeybees in Boca Raton, FL
Call me to get rid of bees BEFORE someone is stung!
Shalom Pest Control, Inc.
Honeybee Control Service
These photos were taken from behind the sliding glass doors of the kitchen. No one was injured at this property.
bee removal Boca Raton, bee control florida Boca Raton Broward County Coral Springs Pompano, Ft. Lauderdale killer bees, bee removal, honeybee removal, honey bee removal
There have been many news articles about these bees, but there are a few important points that need clarification:

1.removal of bee stings
Don’t bother using a credit card or knife to scrap off stings because the important thing is to remove the sting quickly. How it is removed is not important. Research by Visscher  (1996) at UC Riverside states that:

"The method of removal is irrelevant, but even slight delays in
removal caused by concerns over performing it correctly (or getting out a knife blade or credit card) are likely to increase the dose of venom received. The advice should be changed to simply emphasize that the sting should be removed, and as quickly as possible."

2. For south Florida: treat all feral honeybee nests as Africanized
In Texas, the entire state is considered “Africanized” (Pankiw undated). It is not possible to determine with certainty if honeybees are domestic (European) or Africanized by just looking at them, so we must take precautions and consider all bee nests found, with the exception of commercial honey production areas, as Africanized honeybees (until tests determine otherwise). Africanized honeybees have been in Florida for about 5 years now and are continually being found in many locations around the state and the genetic traits associated with these invaders have proven to be dominant traits. Compared to the domestic honeybees, these Africanized honeybee traits include 

3.removal of honeybee hives
Often when people call me about a honeybee nest they have found on their property, they ask me to come and remove the bees and give them to a beekeeper for honey production. Although the practice of “saving the bees” was common in the past, now with the Africanized bees around, it can no longer be done. When bees are found, you can not know if they are Africanized by looking at them, and waiting a few days or weeks for laboratory test results determining whether they are or are not Africanized, is simply not an option. Moving the nest into quarantine until test results come back is not a practical solution. The only thing that can be done is to destroy the nest. If Africanized bees were moved to a commercial honey production property, the Africanized bees would mix with the domestic bees and the offspring would carry Africanized traits (see above). 

4.It is said that as the Africanized bees mate with domestic bees that they encounter as they move through Florida (and other states), the African traits will be diluted

This statement is probably not true. In 1957, 26 African bees (not Africanized bees, but actual honeybee queens brought over from Africa) were mistakenly released in Brazil and have been mating with domestic and feral bees ever since. It took the descendants of these bees about 33 years to move up to the USA, where they entered Texas in 1990, and then Florida around 2002. How many times have the bees mated with domestic bees and produced offspring that show the Africanized bee traits mentioned above? This is clear evidence that these traits are dominant. Most likely, these bees will continue the process of Africanization thoughout the southern United States. We will need to adapt. 

5.Adapting to Africanized honeybees
What needs to be done by the public to adapt to Africanized honeybees as they continue to conquer the state of Florida (and beyond)?

Dr. John Warner, Ph.D. entomology
[email protected]

Dr. John Warner, Ph.D. entomology
Service available for southern Palm Beach County and northern Broward County. 

For other areas, please call.

  speed matters, method doesn't.  University of California at Riverside,          Department of Entomology. 
Latest News (click HERE)
Latest News
14 March 2007:
I just got a message from Jerry Hayes at the FL Department of Agriculture, Apiary Service, saying that the bees at the Boca Raton City Hall (24Feb07) and another spot I did in Cooper City (4Mar07) were the highest levels of Africanized Honeybees (AHB) that they had seen in a quite a while. He said "so be aware, be cautious!" 

In 2006, 89% of the samples that I sent to the Apiary Service came back as AHB.  In 2007, so far, 100% of the samples I have sent in have come back AHB. Yes, “bee careful!”

To listen to the message that Jerry Hayes left for me about these bees, press the PLAY button on the sound control below. (That's the > button. The button on the far left controls the volume)
This sound file is 8.2 MB, so it might take a few minutes to download.
A follow-up email (14Mar07) from Jerry said:


       My concern like yours is at some point there will be a more stinging incidents simply because there will be more higher percentage AHB in greater quantities. Honey Bees nesting in the open may be a clue to AHB introgression. Thanks Jerry
See: Sun-Sentinel, 15Mar 2007, pages 1A and 12A 
this link to the article may work for a limited time:

(I did it this way because it is very difficult to add things in the center on this website)
Boca Raton News 25March07 article: with corrections
I was interviewed about Killer Bees found in Boca Raton by reporter Lindsay Cohen on Fox29 and News12 (WPEC) in Palm Beach County last night (30Mar07). 
Letter to the Sun-Sentinel Editor, 2April07 
The letter that was published was very much altered by the Editor. The origional:  HERE
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