5/4/10

On "Africanized" bees

Backwards Beekeeper Mike in Texas wrote a couple of posts to our Yahoo group recently about the widespread notion that all wild bees are "Africanized" and must be destroyed. His gist:

There are docile Africanized bees and there are European bees that are aggressive and will kill a horse. Apis Mellifera—same species. Stung 30 times? I was tagged perhaps 15 times on just one hand doing a cutout last weekend and didn't run around screaming like a child and got no media attention—you disturb any hive and the bees are going to be less than happy, Africanized or not. That's just a fact of life. I'm in supposedly Africanized hot Texas. Frankly, I couldn't care less—ferals is what I do and bees are bees. No, it does not make sense [that anyone] killing valuable survivor genetics under the guise of "eradicating dem bad ol' killer bees"...

"Africanized" doesn't mean much anymore except to describe mean bees—even tho there have been mean bees since we've been keeping bees and well before the Africanized thing. There are grumpy bees and docile'ish bees (all bees are defensive—we're not keeping sheep here). Reward docile colonies with multiplication and manage grumpy colonies as you grow your apiary and don't worry about this Africanized thing.

I've read them Italians can be quite grumpy. And the black German bees. Wonder if we should test for them too and eradicate their colonies. :)

Mike blogs at Natural Bee Farm.

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