Honey Bees

African bees first entered the United States in 1990 by way of South Texas. Since that time, they have spread continually throughout the southwestern United States.  They were unexpectedly found in Florida in 2001 near the Port of Tampa. Since 2001, African bees have spread rapidly throughout the southern half of Florida, and they are expected to expand their range into additional southeastern states in the future. African honey bees are the same species of the honey bee as the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) but they are a different subspecies or race (A. mellifera scutellata). Because they are the same species, African honey bees and European honey bees can breed and hybridize, thus producing “Africanized” bees. African bees also are referred to as “killer bees” although this is a misnomer.image002

Human fatalities caused by African bees are actually less than those from European honey bees.

It is not possible to distinguish colonies of African or Africanized bees from those of European bees. Nor is it possible to distinguish individual bees without using proper laboratory techniques. The primary difference between the two bees is behavioral. Because of the defensive behavior of the African bee, and the inability to distinguish between the two races with the naked eye, the recommendation in Florida is that all feral honey bee colonies, located in close proximity to humans be eradicated from private and public properties by trained pest control operators. Statistics from Texas suggest that 50 percent of African bee attacks on humans originate from colonies that the victims were aware existed, but did nothing about.

There are a number of reasons home and property owners are hesitant to have a colony eradicated.

First, many suggest that the bees have been nesting on their property for some time and that they “seem calm.” Even if the bees are calm now, there is always a chance that those honey bees can hybridize with African bees and become Africanized in the future. Suddenly, a colony that has been nesting in a tree for years could turn very defensive without any prior warning signs. Consequently, it is important to remove the colony as soon as possible.

Many home and property owners want the bees identified, so that they can leave a European nest or eradicate an African nest. However, it is important to remember that no one can tell the difference between the bees with the naked eye. In order to identify them, a sample of the bees has to be collected, placed into alcohol, and sent to a laboratory at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Fact

Protocols Include:

  • Inspection: high-temperature sting dust (lasts for a while) spray and monitor.
  • Endor services include inspections residual insect growth regulator (AGR)
  • Our services include power spraying in the whole yard.