History of Africanized Honey Bees
In 1956, researchers imported honey bees from Africa into Brazil in an effort to improve beekeeping in the New World tropics. These African bees were well suited to conditions in Brazil, and they began colonizing South America, hybridizing with European honey bees (hence the name "Africanized" honey bees) and displacing the European bees. Compared to docile European bees, Africanized honey bees are extremely defensive. Large numbers of them may sting people and livestock with little provocation. They also "take over" European colonies by entering them and killing the resident queen. Because of these bees' noxious behaviors, many beekeepers abandoned beekeeping and the media widely publicized these so-called "killer bees." The bees spread northward at a rate of 186 to 310 miles per year, and today every country in South and Central America has established populations of Africanized honey bees.
Parts of this page were extracted from a compilation by Keith S. Delaplane,
An Extension Entomologist-© The Monitor, McAllen, Texas
Updated January 6, 2016
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