Monday, March 21, 2011

Oxford Fl., Africanized (?) Honey Bees in pole on Ground

This year we've had a spike in bee removal calls from near Oxford Fl., just west of The Villages, in Central Florida. What's disconcerting to me, is the proportion of these bees that exhibit Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) behaviors.

AHB, as many folks know, are a hybrid of a European subspecies of Honey Bee, and an African Honey Bee, Apis mellifera scuttelata, and has been present in Florida for probably about 10 years. These bees are moving north throughout the peninsula, and often exhibit a more defensive posture. ( in other words, they can sting the fire outta you, family and pets!).

One of the other cool behaviours, is their propensity to live near or in the ground, a place few self-respecting European Honey Bees would even consider! So, water meters are often the first in ground nesting locations that we find, and then voids, such as these poles have, are soon filled with a nest of very feisty bees!
Oxford, FL Honey Bee Nest in Pole

These were moderately defensive, and readily hassled neighbors that insisted on getting too close to the removal process. They quickly (and loudly) ran away!

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist

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