European Honey Bee | A Round Rock Garden
Two subspecies (European and Africanized honey bees; EHB and AHB respectively) Symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and their hosts are. Start studying Symbiosis Connor. A relationship between two organisms of different species where one . Africanized Honey Bees & European Honey Bees. Interaction #12 Africanized Honey Bees & European Honey Bees Interaction #13 More Symbiotic Relationship examples (Mutualism, commensalism and.
All subspecies of Apis mellifera can interbreed or hybridize.How to identify Africanized bees
Consequently, African bee hybridization with European bees became frequent as African bees moved into areas previously occupied by European bees. It is this hybridization with European honey bees that earned them the name 'Africanized' honey bees. Traditionally, 'African' and 'Africanized' have been used interchangeably although the former really refers to the pure race and the latter to the hybrid.
Distribution Back to Top The spread of African bees throughout South and Central America - fueled by rapid hybridization with European subspecies and the dominance of many African alleles over European ones - occurred at a rate of to miles per year. Because their movement through South and Central America was rapid and largely unassisted by humans, African bees earned the reputation of being one of the most successful biologically invasive species of all time.
As ofAfrican honey bees had been found in the southernmost USA: The spread of African bees in the U. This slowed rate of territory expansion appears due to climatic limitations, among other factors. African bees do not survive in temperate climates as well as European bees do. Native distribution of Apis mellifera scutelatta in Africa.
Illustrations by Jane Medley, University of Florida. Distribution of Apis mellifera scutelatta in the Americas as of left and in the United States as of right. Description Back to Top African honey bees cannot be distinguished from European honey bees easily, although they are slightly smaller than the various European races.
Laboratory personnel use morphometric analyses to determine the likelihood that a given colony is Africanized or fully African. With honey bees, the measurement of wing venation patterns and the size and coloration of various body parts morphometry are important determinants of identification at the subspecific level.
Morphometry has been used to differentiate honey bee races since the s and remains the first round of identification when suspect colonies are discovered. Morphometric analyses were first used to differentiate Africanized and European honey bees in South America in A more rigorous identification is achieved by genetic analysis and often is necessary when the suspect bees are a hybrid between African bees and the European subspecies.
Other differences between African and European bees manifest themselves behaviorally. To the casual bystander, the primary identifying behavioral characteristic of Africanized bees is their heightened defensiveness compared to that of European subspecies.
Selection pressures induced by man may be, in part, responsible for this increased defensiveness. In contrast, 'honey hunting' near-complete destruction of hive to harvest contents is more common in Africa, resulting in a bee that is more defensive of its nest. Other selection pressures that might have led to a heightened defensiveness in African bees include climatic stresses, resource availability, and predation by birds, mammals, and various reptiles.
These selection pressures resulted in an African race of bee that can be many times more defensive than most of the various European races of bee.
All honey bees readily defend their nests, and an attack usually means that the victim is too close to the nest.
Native bees prove resilient in competition with invasive African honey bees | Smithsonian Insider
While European races of bees may attack a nest intruder with a few bees usually no more than beesAfrican bees may attack the same intruder with hundreds of bees. Further, African bees generally defend a larger radius around their nest and usually require lower levels of stimuli to initiate an attack.
Because of these characteristics, African bees are capable of killing large mammals, including man. This defensiveness has earned them the nickname 'killer' bee.
It is important to note that their ability to kill humans has nothing to do with their size or the potency of their venom. African bees are smaller than European bees and probably deliver a comparatively smaller dose of venom to their victim than do European bees. Because both bees use the same type of venom, human deaths usually are a result of the number of stings received rather than an increased potency of African bee venom, unless the victim is allergic to bees in which case a single sting can cause death.
Another behavioral difference between African and European bees concerns colony level reproduction and nest abandonment. African honey bees swarm and abscond in greater frequencies than their European counterparts. Swarming, bee reproduction at the colony level, occurs when a single colony splits into two colonies, thus helping to ensuring survival of the species. European colonies commonly swarm one to three times per year.
African colonies may swarm more than 10 times per year. African swarms tend to be smaller than European ones, but the swarming bees are docile in both races. Regardless, African colonies reproduce in greater numbers than European colonies, quickly saturating an area with African bees.
Further, African bees abscond frequently completely abandon the nest during times of dearth or repeated nest disturbance while this behavior is atypical in European bees. African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutelatta Lepeletier, swarm in tree. Photograph by Michael K. O'Malley, University of Florida. African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutelatta Lepeletier, swarm on palm fronds.
Another common difference between African and European honey bees is their choice of nest locations. African honey bees are less selective when considering a potential nesting site than are European bees. They will nest in a much smaller volume than European honey bees and have been found in water meter boxes, cement blocks, old tires, house eaves, barbecue grills, cavities in the ground, and hanging exposed from tree limbs, just to name a few places. One rarely finds European colonies in any of these locations because they prefer to nest in larger cavities like those provided by tree hollows, chimneys, etc.
As one can imagine, humans inadvertently provide multiple nesting sites for African bees. Therein lies the primary reason African bees are encountered frequently by humans. A final behavioral curiosity of African bees concerns nest usurpation or colony takeover of European colonies.
Native bees prove resilient in competition with invasive African honey bees
Small African swarms containing a queen often land on the outside infrastructure of a European colony a wall, beekeeper-managed hive, etc. This gradually ensures the adoption of the African bees into the European colony.
Somewhere during this process, the European queen is lost perhaps killed by the African bees — her fate remains uncertain at this point and the African queen is introduced into the colony, thus becoming the reigning matriarch. European bees do not display this behavior but often fall victim to it, thus creating an African colony from a preexisting European one.
Africanized honey bee - Apis mellifera scutellata Lepeletier
Other behavioral differences between African and European races exist and are worth discussing briefly. Workers use this same process to kill weak, old or dying queens. Surrounding the queen, they generate enough body heat that the queen is eventually killed. In addition to all of these tasks, workers also have the task of defending the colony.
Each is equipped with a barbed stinger, which is designed to remain intact in the victim after the sting is delivered. As workers sting, their stinger is literally ripped out of their bodies and they soon perish from the wound. Upon doing so, they release a pheromone which attracts other bees in the area and rallies them for attack. Larvae emerge a couple of days after the queen lays eggs. The workers keep the larvae in individual cells where they are fed royal jelly for at least the first couple of days before their diet is switched to nectar and honey.
When a new queen is desired, worker bees construct a different sort of cell and feed the developing larvae an exclusive diet of royal jelly, which contains a variety of proteins, amino acids and carbohydrates. This substance initiates a biological change in the developing larvae, and the larvae begins to grow into a queen instead of a worker.
Developing larvae and there are several hundred in a colony need to be fed many times a day! After larvae mature into adult worker bees, they are, at first, confined to work in the hive. For the first few weeks, their time is spent building and cleaning cells, feeding drones, developing larvae and the queen, as well as maintaining the colony temperature. After this period of time, they are allowed to venture out into the field to secure provisions and provide for the common defense. The most important benefits of the presence of honey bees is that of pollination of cultivated crops as well as reproduction of many flowering plants.
Many varieties of cultivated plants rely almost exclusively on the work done by bees to produce the fruits and veggies we consume. Without bees, many plants would be unable to reproduce. They also produce honey, an internationally-prized sweetener that never spoils.
Vials discovered in tombs in Egypt this past century contained preserved honey that was still unspoiled albeit crystallized. The biology of Africanized bees, including their higher level of aggressiveness, is thought to play a role in their successful invasion throughout the New World. Africanized bees appear to be limited from expanding to more northerly areas because of cold winters, but in general survive better in the wild than temperate honeybees.
These characteristics also make Africanized a potentially serious threat to native and managed pollinator communities in terms of competition for food sources and nest sites. According to a study conducted in Mexicothe pollination of agricultural crops there has not been seriously affected by the arrival of Africanized bees. However, there have been considerable effects on beekeepers including reduced honey yields because the bees produce less honey than European beesfewer colonies due to abscondingand higher worker wages aggressive bees are harder to deal with.
What should you do if you are attacked by Africanized honeybees? Run away in a straight line and through trees or foliage if possible the bees will have a harder time chasing you. Find shelter that bees cannot get into a car or house for example. Stay in the sheltered area even if a few bees come inside with you; Africanized bees like European bees will die after stinging once, and it is better to deal with a few bees than a whole swarm.
Do not allow yourself to become trapped in any area you can't get out of: Do not jump into water: Remove the stings as quickly as possible, because they continue to release venom after you are stung.
Wash areas where you have been stung and apply ice if swollen. If you have difficulty breathing, are allergic to bee stings, or have been stung more than a few times contact a doctor as soon as possible. If you met an Africanized honeybee on a flower far away from its nest, would it be more dangerous than a normal honeybee?
Africanized bees are aggressive only if they are being threatened, or if an intruder comes too close to their nest.