African Killer Bee Movement

African Killer Bees Map

U.S. Geographic Killer Bee Spread

As of 2002, Africanized honey bees have spread from Brazil south to northern Argentina and north to Central America, Trinidad, Mexico, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and now Southern California. The killer bee expansion stopped for a time at eastern Texas, possibly due to the large number of bee beekeepers in the area. However, discoveries of the killer bees in southern Louisiana indicate this species of bee range has penetrated across the Caribbean Sea, or has come as a swarm aboard a cruise or cargo ship. In June 2005, it was discovered that the killer bee had penetrated the border of the state of Texas and had spread their range into Southwest Arkansas. On September 11, 2007, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom y said that africanized honeybees established themselves in the New Orleans area.

At their peak rate of expansion, they spread north at a rate of almost one mile a day. In central tropical climates they compete effectively against the European bees. There had been talk about slowing the killer bee spread by placing large numbers of docile European-strain hives in strategic stopping locations, particularly at the narrow Isthmus of Panama, but they were unable to prevent the bees' range expansion. The genetics of these killer bees, however, suggest that such a strategy, had it been attempted, would not have been successful.

Curiously, their arrival in Central America is a threat to the ancient art of keeping friendly stingless bees in log gums. As honey productivity of the Africanized killer bees far exceeds the productivity of the native stingless bees.

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