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Africanized Honey Bee Pest Profile

africanized_honeybee_01 africanized_honeybee_02Common Name:
Africanized Honey Bee, Brazilian Honeybee

Scientific Name:
Apis mellifera scutellata

Order and Family:
Hymenoptera, Apidae

Description:

It is very difficult to distinguish the Africanized Honey Bee from European Honey Bees. Behavioral differences which distinguish the Africanized from the European are general excitability, defensiveness, frequency of swarming, and nesting ability. When a swarm finds a suitable nesting site, it may nest there and construct combs. If a shortage of food, water, or space develops, a swarm will move to a more suitable location. As the number of bees in the nest increase, they produce additional reproductive swarms which seek new nesting sites. Reproductive swarming can occur every six weeks, especially during heavy nectar flow periods.

Life Cycle:
The following is a brief description of the complete metamorphosis:

  • Egg:
    The eggs are white and sausage shaped. The caudal (oval) end of the egg is attached to the base of the cell. A fertilized egg develops into a female bee (worker); a non-fertilized egg develops into a male bee (drone). Hatching occurs when the egg is approximately 60 hours old.
  • Larva:
    Larvae are fed glandular secretions originating in the head of young nurse bees. Larva destined to become queens are mass fed on royal jelly in a peanut-shaped cell. Eight days after the egg is laid, the cell containing the worker is capped, and on the ninth day the larva spins a cocoon. The pre-pupal stage is reached on the tenth day.
  • Pupa:
    On the eleventh day, the white and motionless pupal form is evident. From the thirteenth day to the twentieth day, the eye color develops. The twentieth day, the adult emerges from the cell.
  • Adult Bees:
    The worker has a normal life of about 30 days. The normal life span of drones is five to 10 weeks. The queen usually lives from one to three years.

Hosts and Damage:

Generally, most flowering plants are hosts for honeybees. However, some species seem to be more attractive than others to bees. In general terms, the herbaceous annual and perennial species in North America which are more than usually attractive include mints, milkweeds, clovers, and asters. Mountain mint and swamp milkweed seem to be the most attractive species documented at this time.

WARNING: This bee stings and is highly aggressive.

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