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Africanized Bees in Florida Print E-mail

Did you know that Florida is now officially listed as having Africanized bees established in the state? Image Bees with Africanized genetics have been identified from specimens turned in all the way from Miami up the state to Live Oak, and across the panhandle to Pensacola. Most Africanized bees have been identified close to ports, and the majority of Africanized bees have been found established in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  Now that Africanized bees are established, the pest control industry will be expected to play an important role in handling bee complaints.  Is your pest control professional trained to handle grumpy and aggressive bees? Keep in mind that Africanized honey bees look just like regular European honey bees. The differences cannot be seen just by looking at them. Without proper precautions, pest control personnel and bystanders are at risk of attack and injury from the agitated Africanized bees .  A-Key Pest Control has the expertise and training to safely remove this threat from you home or business.

Now that Africanized bees are established, a lot will change in the handling of stinging complaints. Beekeepers used to collect wild bees, colonize them in their hives, and use them for pollination of crops and honey production. Because wild bees now have Africanized genes, beekeepers are not able to take the chance of using bees with unknown genetics in their hives. A beekeeper from Ft. Lauderdale told me he had collected wild bees, set them up in a hive, and they attacked everyone in the area. He sent them to DACS for identification and they had genes for Africanized honey bees. Beekeepers now should only use queens whose genetics have been carefully managed. That means most beekeepers will refuse to harvest wild bees. Consequently, the pest control industry will be called on to kill wild bee swarms. What is your company's procedure for collecting and killing bee swarms? Do you have one*. You will need one.


Why would you want to control Africanized bees differently than European bees~. European bees are domesticated bees that have been bred to be docile, have large colonies, and produce lots of honey. Africanized bees are completely different. Africanized honey bee colonies have smaller numbers of bees that build small nests and store smaller amounts of honey. To keep their nests small Africanized bees will swarm 444Jmes.per year. European bees only swarm every 1-2 years establishing nests in areas where there is a small opening leading to about a 10 gallon void. Africanized bee swarms are small and may only be the size of a coffee cup. Their nests are usually more exposed and utilize smaller voids close to the ground. A favored place would be a water meter box or an electric box.

The real problem with Africanized bees is their aggressiveness. Africanized hives respond faster and in larger numbers when they are agitated. Just mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, or making noise will agitate a colony. Because of their nature and numbers, people receive 64010 times more stings from an Africanized colony than a European honey bee colony. This translates into real danger for outdoor workers, children, and the elderly. Anyone who cannot defend themselves from honey bees could receive hundreds to thousands of stings. Even livestock and pets can be injured or killed. Animals that are tied up, penned, or caged can be in real danger. As part of their attack, bees will often crawl into openings of clothing or even body openings. For instance, a horse was killed this year in Labelle, FL by Africanized bees. The veterinarian estimated that about 3 pounds of bees were found in the horse’s lungs and stomach. Africanized bees could do the same to people if given a chance.

Africanized bees provide an opportunity for pest management companies to expand their businesses. Stinging insect control can be very profitable and is a necessary service in Florida. A recent survey indicated that 95% of pest management companies do not offer stinging insect control. They don't have professionally trained staff and they don't have the necessary equipment, and safety gear.

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