December 1, 2007
- Apis mellifera scutellata,
- Fast Africanized Bee Identifi cation System
Africanized honey bees (AHB) first spread to the United States through the southern tip of Texas in 1990. Since then, eight more states-New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida-have identified nests of this honey bee. AHB are believed to have entered Florida through a human-assisted transport system-ships docking at our major ports. Many of our western states have learned to live with these new, more defensive bees. For most people here in Florida this means taking some extra precautions when partaking in outdoor activities. Some of these are being aware of possible nesting sites, inspecting your property during swarming season, listening for buzzing, and looking for bees entering or leaving the same area. The second step is to bee-proof the home or school by sealing all gaps larger than 1/8 inch in walls and chimneys, and plugging or covering holes greater than 1/8 inch with hardware cloth. Through these steps an informed and educated public with an action plan can make the best decisions. We can learn to live with AHB and their cousins, which are essential to Florida and U.S. agriculture.