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Author Topic: Africanized bees - tips on how to tell  (Read 7377 times)
Paull
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« on: December 02, 2009, 10:05:07 PM »

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knew of any different type of behavior found in Africanized bees. I live in Los Angeles, CA, and see there are some recent reports in 2009 in my area. Last week I was unaware of all of this, but one day while out in the yard I saw a small looking honey bee just hovering in the air for the longest time, where about ... oh 5 to 10 seconds it would rapidly dart a few feet . It's been there for the last week, just hovering about 4 to 6 feet in the air like it's guarding something. Nearby is a large tree with a lot of blossoms with a lot of other bees, but these bees are about maybe 20% larger. Do you people think this smaller bee is an Africanized bee? If you would like I can take a video of it hovering and post it at youtube. Would you be able to tell from the video if I can get a close enough?

Thanks,
Paul
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2009, 12:46:34 PM »

Paul, can't tell simply by looking, there are two tests that are done in a lab. One is a DNA test other measures wing length and maybe something else, I forget exactly with the second test.

Honeybees (Europeans & Africanized) will differ in size so a visual comparison is not conclusive.

...JP
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lenape13
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2009, 12:57:15 PM »

Well, if you find a swarm or feral hive, you could disturb it, run like mad, and see what happens.  If you get tired of running, and they're still chasing and stinging you, I would say they are Africanized.   evil  Then again, I wouldn't recommend that course of action.
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Paull
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2009, 01:12:37 PM »

It might be difficult to measure the wing span while it's flying. Oh well. BTW, does anyone know what that bee is doing all day hovering over the ground?

Regards,
Paul
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2009, 01:13:11 PM »

I find that the only clues that I can tell if they are Africanized is the little circle of huts and the loincloths.

 grin
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Rick
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2009, 01:15:04 PM »

does anyone know what that bee is doing all day hovering over the ground?

Regards,
Paul

My bees spend time on the ground collecting water, sometimes it is in the moist soil, sometimes dew in the morning.  Could be collecting some minerals too.
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Rick
John Lee Pettimore
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2009, 02:49:17 PM »

I find that the only clues that I can tell if they are Africanized is the little circle of huts and the loincloths.

 grin

You could also ask for a birth certificate...
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BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2009, 03:07:10 PM »

Paul,
There are a couple thousand types of bees in the U.S.

Many are carnivorous from the sense they catch other insects to feed larvae. The bumblebee is one example of a type of bee that will hover and collect small flies and insects, then take them back to their nest.

It may not be a bumblebee, but from what you describe in behavior, closely resembles the actions exhibited by bumblebees as they hover and wait for a passing meal.

You may be watching any number of like minded bee types that are doing exactly that. Hovering in one place and then darting off trying to catch something, then returning to the same spot, and repeating it over and over.

What type bee you have, I have no clue. But my money is it NOT being a honey bee.
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Paull
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2009, 05:19:00 PM »

You may be watching any number of like minded bee types that are doing exactly that. Hovering in one place and then darting off trying to catch something, then returning to the same spot, and repeating it over and over.

That makes sense.

What type bee you have, I have no clue. But my money is it NOT being a honey bee.

It looked just like a normal honey bee except that it was about %20 smaller. It didn't seem afraid of me at all. I had my face about 10 inches away from it.

BTW, could this have been a new born bee that was practicing flying or something?

Regards,
Paul
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2009, 06:43:46 PM »

Newly emerged bees are smaller, but they usually don't practice fly until they are larger and older, but still fuzzy.

The only behavior difference I know of for AFB as far as you observing a bee, is the aggressiveness.  I know some bees from a Texas queen I had a few years ago would hunt you down 100 yards from the hive days after you worked them and sting you for no reason.  Not just one or two, but about one a minute.
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wd
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 08:16:00 PM »

As I understand it, The AHB doesn't forage much different then other honey bees. Unless I knew of or found a hive that has the aggressive nature in the numbers defending their home, it would be hard to tell the difference. As mentioned, the euorpean and africanized are very close in size and color.

I had the European honey bee, they are a gentle bee in my eyes. Yet, some eurepean honey bees made headlines on the news by attacking a Lama and killing it. The rancher where the out yard was located said he tried contacting the bee keeper for 2 weeks prior to the attack. There were signs that something was going on with the hive. They were going after animals but not killing them. Nothing was going on with the hives around it. To me, any honey bee can be aggressive just not like the AHB.

Seems we all should be alert and aware of the possibility but I would ask myself if there might be some paranoia creeping in?









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mudlakee
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2009, 08:59:24 PM »

This happened a long time ago?? I was a kid in school(60's) and my dad had bees, this was when you could get queens from Sears in the mail. The hives were in the side yard and I could work them with just a hat t-shirt and shorts. I remember my dad got a queen in the mail made a split all was well, until I opened them up. I got stung a lot, enough so I got dizzy. This had never happened before. The next time I got suited up, still they got to me. It got so bad I could not get from the house to the school bus without getting stung more than once. Now that I have had bees for a few years and have read a lot it seems that was about the time we started importing africanized bees. Still not sure what my dad got for queens, not long after that my dad quit keeping bees.   Best of Luck  Tony     
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sarafina
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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2009, 02:09:40 PM »

My experience with Africanized bees was similar to Michael Bush's - being chased over 100 yards and not giving up even after half an hour.  Smoking them made them madder, not calmer.  Mine were hybrids and looked just like European honeybees.  I requeened with a queen from Kentucky as I do not trust Texas queens anymore, even though my original hive with a Texas queen is gentle as can be. 

I doubt if this was an Africanized bee - she would have lots of friends with her and be chasing you and stinging you.   evil
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HAB
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2009, 03:38:31 PM »

If your neighbors 1/2 mile away have pets dropping like flies from 1,000's of Bee stings. You might have AHB's. shocked
If you can't get within 1/8th mile of your Bee Yard with out being attacked by 1,000's of Bees.  You might have AHB's. Undecided
If after being attacked 1/8 mile from your yard they are still attacking when you race past the 1/2 mile marker.  You might have AHB's. Cry
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wd
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2009, 05:58:43 PM »

These towns aren't far from where I am and it's not quite how I remember it but I found the need to make corrections to my previous post.  my apologies.

Africanized Honey Bee Facts

The Classroom (by Jerry Hayes) Department of the American Bee Journal


Corning, CA - Bee Swarm Kills 400-Pound Llama

A swarm of bees attacked and killed a 400-pound llama standing in a pasture Tuesday, Tehama County officials said.

The attack was unusual but not unheard-of, according to Agricultural Commissioner Mark Black.

The llama's owner found the animal under attack Tuesday afternoon and called the County Agriculture Department and a veterinarian for help. The bees stung the vet several times as he tried to spray the bees to get them off the llama, according to neighbors at the scene.

Black said there are several reasons why bees may become aggressive, including death of the queen bee, lack of food, or the effect of certain pollens.

Tehama County Apiary Inspector David Stoffel investigated the scene and determined that the bees were ordinary honey bees, and not the more aggressive African killer bees.

The owner of the bees, Chico resident xxxxxxx xxxxx, had been informed several times over the past two weeks that his bees were becoming aggressive. (AP, 5/8/03.)

 



Red Bluff, CA - BEEKEEPERS DEFEND AGAINST AFRICANIZED BEES


When the Africanized bees were imported into Brazil, then escaped south to Venezuela, gentle queens were shipped to Venezuela to help fight the aggressiveness of the African bees.

"Beekeepers are the best defense against the Africanized bees," said Pat Heitkam, president of the American Beekeeping Federation.

A recent incident occurred in Corning where a swarm of honey bees killed a 400-pound llama. Tests by the Department of Agriculture proved negative for any Africanization.

"We just don't know," Heitkam said. "There could be other extenuating circumstances that we don't know about that could have caused this, but we just don't know."

In San Diego, beekeepers put out trap hives to catch the Africanized bees that like to swarm. Once they are caught, the bees are killed

"Managed hives are the primary defense against Africanized bees," Heitkam said.

Whenever there is any sign of a hive becoming aggressive, the queen is changed. She is changed every year, but more often if needed. Beekeepers are selling more queens to Southern California because of their gentle, controlled breeding.

"We know how important it is to not have aggressive bees," Heitkam said. "Aggressiveness has never been a problem for us because of the controlled breeding we do."

Beekeeping is a profession. "We are motivated to have gentle, healthy bees," Heitkam added. "I paid $500 for just one queen from Ohio State University. That shows how serious we are at working this industry. The whole business depends on raising queens that are gentle and productive." (Cheryl Brinkley, Rd Bluff Daily News, 5/22/03.)

source





 


As I understand it, The AHB doesn't forage much different then other honey bees. Unless I knew of or found a hive that has the aggressive nature in the numbers defending their home, it would be hard to tell the difference. As mentioned, the euorpean and africanized are very close in size and color.

I had the European honey bee, they are a gentle bee in my eyes. Yet, some european honey bees made headlines on the news by attacking a Lama and killing it. The rancher where the out yard was located said he tried contacting the bee keeper for 2 weeks prior to the attack. There were signs that something was going on with the hive. They were going after animals but not killing them. Nothing was going on with the hives around it. To me, any honey bee can be aggressive just not like the AHB.

Seems we all should be alert and aware of the possibility but I would ask myself if there might be some paranoia creeping in?
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