* 1,000 deaths in Brazil alone!?!? Maybe it is not reported elsewhere, i.e. is this info being suppressed?
A race of African bees was introduced into Brazil in 1956 in an effort to breed a bee that
would produce more honey in the tropics. Swarms escaped and multiplied, and dispersed
through South American and into Central America. From there, swarms spread naturally into
Mexico and then into the United States by 1990.
Spread and Distribution in West
An Africanized honey bee swarm was first confirmed in the United States at Hidalgo, Texas
in 1990. The first confirmed attack in the United States occurred in 1991 at Brownsville,
Texas. The first fatality attributed to Africanized honey bees in the United States occurred in
1993, also in Texas.
Africanized honey bees can be aroused to attack by disturbances caused by lawn mowers,
weed eaters, tractors, power tools, or other sources that create loud sound or vibrations.
People unknowingly approaching a nest too closely may be attacked without any other
Besides their stinging tendencies, Africanized honey bees have several other traits that make
them undesirable to beekeepers. They often swarm, absconding with the whole colony. They
will rob other colonies, spreading diseases and parasites. They can interbreed with European
varieties, transmitting these undesirable traits.
Africanized honey bees spend more effort on colony reproduction, while European bees
spend more effort on the collection and storage of food. If Africanized traits were to
dominate European traits in this country, the major effect might be reduced pollination of
fruit, vegetable, seed, and fiber crops.
(Alwyn interjects) I think the keyword here is MIGHT. At this point it is all speculation. According to the previously posted article, in Arizona the bees are integrating, mellowing, and producing honey. This is on the ground, practical OBJECTIVE data about bees, by FARMERS who work with them every day.
University of Utah, cont.
The fact is that any honey bee can be a "killer bee". More deaths are caused by stinging
members of the Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, hornets, and ants) than by any other insect or
arthropod group. The estimates of the lethal number of bee stings vary widely depending on
the source. These estimates range from 300 to 1500 stings in non-allergic healthy adults. Far
fewer stings can cause death by anaphylactic shock in allergic individuals. Children and the
elderly can generally tolerate fewer stings. In actual sting incidents by Africanized honey
bees, deaths have occurred with as few as 40 stings (an 82-year-old Texas man). On the other
hand, a 77-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada woman recently received over 500 stings and
If you are stung by Africanized (or even European) bees more than 15 times or are suffering
symptoms other than localized pain and swelling, you should seek medical attention
immediately. Don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 if that is your only option or you feel you may
become incapacitated. Symptoms of allergic reactions to bee stings include swelling of the
tongue or throat, hives, dizziness, breathing difficulty, and unconsciousness. Onset of such
symptoms will generally occur within twenty minutes following the attack.
Awareness of bees and their potential nesting sites will lessen your chances of being stung.
Knowing what to do when bees attack will lessen your chances of being seriously injured by
bees. Bees fly fast, but a healthy adult can outrun them. Do not flail or swipe at any
bees that might chase you as this will only agitate them more. Do not try to escape by
jumping into water; the bees will wait around until you resurface. Escape to the nearest
enclosed shelter you can find, such as a vehicle, tent, house, or other structure.
Additional information about Africanized honey bees and the Utah Africanized Honey Bee
Survey can be obtained from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food web site:
Numerous other references can be found by using one of the web search engines and the key
words "Africanized honey bee". However, you should consider the source of information
you review, as there is probably much misinformation available on this subject as well.
Oregon State University bee specialist Mike Burgett says honey bees are being trucked from Oregon to California... where they will mate with African bees. The result is a hybrid that has some of the aggressive traits of killer bees. Burgett expects the hybrid to be a problem for people in Oregon... but less so than in warmer climates. (States News Service, 8/7/98)
Ok... so they want "fix the problem with EHB disappearance" by creating E/A-HB hybrids that
inherits AHB traits (EM/GM/disease resistance) with the that of EHB traits (hoarding(winter survival/doctility)
which is a better bee? If they had known about this "problem" for some time(1998 or more?), why the panic
now? Did the fail to create this hybrid or is it something else?
Where is your data for "they want to fix the problem with EHB disappearance" by creating E/A-HB hybrids?" This seems more like a leap of logic based upon a rather paranoid assumption. (I think the major problem of a society run by pathological types is that the paranoia bleeds into and contaminates ordinary thought. This doesn't mean we don't need to be paranoid, but certainly, don't let it take over!) The thing that some scholarly types fail to see from their ivory tower is that the earth native flora and fauna have a certain intelligence, and will 'evolve' to suit the habitat in which they arise. Farmers have always exploited an ability to mix and interbreed species, to maximize crop potential. So,(Occam's razor, and all) they could just have been trying to introduce a bee that would make better honey in the tropics, by importing a bee from a hotter clime. And, yeah, sometimes the effort gets out of hand, and, lacking predators, an introduced species will kind of take over. So, at first the 'african-ness' holds true, and they agressively seek out new food. That is their nature. And sometimes they will breed with the gentler, northern honeybee, making the domestic kind more agressive. That is one way this can play out. And certainly, in evolutionary times, 50-60 years is nothing.
And yet, there are reports "on the ground" as it were, of the hybrids being a little less violent, and more honey producing...
This is a 'statistics' sort of argument. One can use statistics to argue just about any point there is. The initial thread of the argument is that our pollinator bees are disappearing. The anecdotal evidence in from the field states that it is the commercial and trucked hives which are disappearing in great numbers. So, I think the solution would be to create less dependence on imported bees, and more habitat for native bees.
My son and I were driving up from AZ on our spring vacation, and passed up I-5 through the Almond orchards. There was a crop-duster, doing what they do best, spraying the crops, diving through the air, taking out any number of flying creatures. This is not rocket science. Quit poisoning the habitat, quit stressing the bees. If you don't kill the native bees with insecticides, GMO's, etc., ya don't have to cart in bees on trucks. If you don't have to keep carting bees around in trucks, they won't get stressed out from all the pollution on the road and die. Very simple logic.