Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

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					Living with the Africanized
        Honey Bee

    Phil Mulder – Extension Entomologist
         Oklahoma State University
  Contributions from Honey Bees
• Produce about 250 million pounds of honey per
  – Value = $200 million.
• Produce about 4 million pounds of Beeswax.
• Produce bee pollen, bee venom, royal jelly, etc.
• Pollinate > 90 cultivated crops.
  – Estimated value = $20 billion.
• Contribution from pollination effects every third
  bite of food consumed.
 History of the Africanized Honey
• Started as an attempt to improve honey
  production in Brazil, Warwick Kerr (1956).
  – European strains were not adapting to South
    American conditions.
  – Captured several colonies in Africa and
    selected out 27 highly productive queens.
• When shipping large colonies by rail
  (1957), queens were accidentally released
  from the excluders.
History of the Africanized Honey

• African honey bees crossed with
  European stock = Hybrid strain known
  as the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB).
  – Moved slowly in all directions with gentler
    stock but retained African traits.
• October 15, 1990 – First natural swarm
  captured in the U.S. in Hidalgo, Texas.
  – Swarm destroyed out of a baited trap.
   History of the Africanized
          Honey Bee
• 1993 First report of natural swarms in
  Arizona and New Mexico.
• 1994 First report in California.
  – Within 1 year, nearly 8,000 square miles colonized
    by AHB.
• Today over 100 counties in Texas, 10 in New
  Mexico, 14 in Arizona, 1 in Nevada and over
  10 counties in California.
• 36 confirmed county captures in Oklahoma.
Living with the Africanized Honey
        Bee (Movement)
Africanized Honey Bee in the US
Africanized Honey Bee in Oklahoma

Current Status as of 11/2008
   Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

  The Problem in Perspective: Camazine (1988).
    - 20 deaths per year from honey bees in the U.S.
    - 0.08 deaths per year per 1 million people.

    - 80 deaths per year from lightning.
    - 0.32 deaths per year per 1 million people.
 No consolation if you loose someone from such an attack.
    Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

 The problem (continued)
  - LD50 equals 8 - 10 stings per pound of body weight.
  - 200 pound person = 1,725 - 2,000 stings.
  - Sounds ridiculous!! AHB 6-10X more defensive.
  - Approximately ½ - 4% of population is hypersensitive.
  Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

 Personal protection ideally with a complete bee suit.
  - Formulations of repellents containing Deet as the
   active ingredient can also provide protection.
   - Also wear gloves and boots with pants of suit taped
   inside of boots.
       Living with the Africanized Honey Bee
            (Differences and Similarities)

       Africanized Honey Bee                         European Honey Bee
→ Tropically adapted, less winter hardy   → Adapted to temperate climates

→ Very defensive (6-10 times)             → Gentle

→ Forage in marginal areas                → Will not forage in marginal areas

→ More likely to swarm when nectar and    → Not likely to swarm when conditions
  pollen flow are good (6-12 times/yr).    are strong (1swarm/5colonies/yr).

→ Devote ½ time to forage for pollen      → Store more honey. Rarely use > 25 -
  (protein source) store less honey.        30% of workers for pollen collection

→ Absconding common when threatened → Absconding rare.

→ About 27% smaller than EHB.             → Slightly larger but can’t tell.
        Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

        Africanized Honey Bee                          European Honey Bee
→ Prefer large nest cavities, but less      → Prefer larger nest site (40 liters)
  discriminating (pots, tires, bird house).   Above ground, clean and dry.

→ Shorter development time (70-71 hrs.).      → Longer development time (72-76 hrs).
  Hatch 14.5 days (Queen)                       Hatch 15 days (Queen).

→ Mating flights are slightly later in day.   → Mating flights earlier and longer.

→ Reaction time about 3 seconds.              → Reaction time about 19 seconds.

→ Cool-off time about ½ hr. to 1 hr.          → Cool-off time 2-3 minutes.

→ Pursuit distance about 187 yards.           → Pursuit distance about 27.5 yards.
    Living with the Africanized Honey Bee

                Don’t confuse the issue!!

Yellowjacket, European paper wasp, Honey bee, Bumble bee
        Sweat Bee          Cuckoo Wasp

Bald Faced Hornet & Nest   Syrphid Fly
          Eliminate Colony Sites

Ditch Culvert           Cemetery Pillar - Hollow

Junkyard Debris                  Trailer Houses
Bird Houses   Flower Pots and Barrels

 Tire piles   House walls with holes
House eaves and gables      Water meters

Abandoned houses or      Tree Holes or depressions
Bee Removal – NOT a One-Man Job!!
Preparation for removal

 Everyone involved should
have a complete bee suit,
including gloves, veil, and

 Designate each person in
the team a specific job
(smoker, substrate, remover,

 Map out an attack plan
before going into the area.

 Tape around gloves, pant
legs and any openings.
                 Bee Suits
• Bee suit
• Completely
• enclosed to
• prevent
• from getting
• in.
• Cost $115-
• You can do a “Google” search for bee
• Bee Gloves $12-$16
Bee Care                      Dadant & Sons, Inc.
Box 1070, Leander, TX 78646   1169 Bonham Street
   1070                       P.O. Box 146
(512) 379-4301
                              Paris, Tx 75460
Fax (253) 648-6251               877-632-3268
8 Meader Road                 Mann Lake Ltd.
Greenwich, New York 12834
                              501 S. 1st St.
800-632-3379             Hackensack, MN 56452-2001
Glorybee Foods Inc. 
120 N.Seneca
P. O. Box 2744
                              Omega Pest Control
Eugene, Oregon 97402
800-456-7923                  8255 W. Jefferson St.              Peoria, AZ
                              1-800-550-2990 (orders only
  Africanized Honey Bee Control
• You need to look and play the part of a bee control
• Rubber gloves to go over the bee gloves when
  handling the comb or pesticides.
• Any Pesticide label Personal Protective
   – Respirator
   – Dust mask
   – Protective glasses
• Duct Tape
• Anti-histamine such as benadryl*
• General construction tools, ladders,
  hammers,caulking gun, wrecking bar, saws etc.
       Laying Out The land
• Approach every feral bee swarm or colony
  as if it is Africanized.
• Park vehicle away from property- 50 yards.
• Speak with home owner to find out about
  the colony.
   – Swarm or established colony
   – How long there.
   – Where located, wall, ground, tree, etc.
   – When approaching bees always wear
     your protective bee equipment.
       Laying Out The land
• Notify neighbors.
• Determine if you are going to remove
  the colony or just kill it.
• Use buddy system, any time you use a
  ladder, work at night, or if the bees are
  very defensive.
• Better to live safely than die
• Proper bee suit       •   Caulking gun
• Duct Tape             •   Pry bar
• Saw                   •   Stapler
• Drill                 •   Stud finder
• Flashlight            •   Ladders
• Large heavy duty      •   Lt. Weight tool bag
  plastic bags          •   1-2 gal sprayer
• Hammers               •   Dust applicator.
Insecticide Choices and Liability

• Odor of product –some pesticides will incite
  the bees to become aggressive. Use low odor
  pesticides if possible.
• Residual or Non-Residual – if you cannot kill
  the bees at one time use a residual pesticide
• Speed of Knockdown – If treating in the
  daytime use quick knockdown pesticides.
• Formulation – Liquids on swarms outside,
  dusts and aerosols in walls.
      Avoiding Honey Bee Stinging
 Stay away from honey bee colonies and hives.
 Remove any hives or swarms located in or near yards.
 Check work area carefully before using any heavy or noisy

 Do not tie or pen animals near honey bee colonies, no
matter how tame the bees may appear.
    Avoiding Honey bee stings

 Foraging honey bees are less defensive,
 especially when they are a great distance
 from any hive.
Bee Proof Your Property
      Inspect the site for signs of
              honey bees
 Look for numerous bees passing into or
 out of openings.
 Listen for the hum or buzz of active bees.
 Check for activity at all levels of any
 structure, particularly along eaves.
    If you locate a bee swarm or colony
 Keep everyone away.
 Have it removed immediately – don’t wait
 Contact a licensed pest control operator that has
 experience in eliminating high-risk colonies or swarms.
 Contact a beekeeper in low-risk situations (no AHB
 reported) so that they can remove the swarm.
 If a colony has set up home in an area that puts the
 general public at risk eliminate the hive.
 What to do if attacked by AHB
 Run quickly to the nearest shelter (house or car).
 Protect your head, neck and throat areas, with your
  shirt if necessary, but be careful running.
 Do not jump into water.
 Do not flail or swat at bees.
     Once you have escaped
 Remove stinger carefully using a credit card or real
  dull knife (do not squeeze the stinger to remove it).
 Seek medical attention if stung more than 15 times, if
  stung repeatedly around face or neck or if you have
  a history of problems associated with bee stings.
 Call 911 to report all serious stinging incidents.
           Bee Samples
• If you encounter a suspected AHB
  colony or swarm in counties other than
  the 29 listed on the map:

  – Call Garry Phillips 405-205-2699 to get a
    sample to send to OSU for DNA testing.
             Bee Sampling
• If you want a DNA test of a swarm or colony it
  must be frozen and sent over night delivery
• Cost of DNA about $50
• Call Dr. Grantham prior to sending any
          Dr. Richard A. Grantham
          Plant Disease & Insect Diagnostic Lab
          Entomology and Plant Pathology
          Oklahoma State University
          127 NRC
          Stillwater, OK 74078

          TEL: 405-744-9417
          FAX: 405-744-6039
 Living with Africanized Honey Bees

Phil Mulder – Extension Entomologist
      Oklahoma State University

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