Bug Blog

Killer Bee Populations Are Increasing In The Southwest

Killer Bee Populations Are Increasing In The SouthwestBees

Africanized honey bees, or killer bees as they are sometimes called, are quite numerous in the southwest United States. As their name suggests, Africanized honey bees are not native to North America. Despite originating from another region, Africanized honey bees are highly skilled at adapting to new environments. Africanized honey bees are not present in every region of the US, but they are very well represented in the state of Arizona. Experts estimate that more than ninety percent of all wild bees in Arizona are Africanized. It is for this reason, that all wild bees in Arizona are assumed to be Africanized. Researchers with the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson claim that all bees in Arizona possess Africanized genetics. Other bees in Arizona include Italian, Buckfast, Russian, and Carniolans varieties, but these bees are contained within controlled environments that are managed by professional beekeepers. Due to the danger that Africanized honey bees pose to the public, one beekeeper in southern Arizona wants to introduce Italian bees into the wild insect population.

Professional beekeeper, John Mathis, is planning to raise numerous Italian bees in Arizona in order to even out Africanized honey bee populations in the region. At the moment, Mathis has established ten hives, but his goal is one hundred. Mathis is ultimately hoping to manipulate Africanized honey bee populations by capturing and replacing queens and relocating their hives. As soon as Mathis succeeds at altering the constitution of the southwestern bee population, he intends to sell his Italian bees to local beekeepers. In addition to his environmental work, Mathis also teaches beekeeping classes which teaches people how to properly remove a beehive without killing any bees, and other bee related tasks. Mathis also stresses the importance of not killing bees due to their environmental and economic significance. When locating a beehive or a bee swarm, notify a local pest control professional immediately.

Do you think that Africanized honey bees would re-establish their dominance in Arizona by reproducing with the artificially introduced Italian bees?