African Bee's in the UK

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New Bee
Feb 22, 2010
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Lordswood, Kent
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Hi everyone,

Apologies if this topic has been started/finished already.

Apart from the aggressive nature of the African Bee, what would the implications using African bee’s in the UK?

I watched a document recently about a scientist who brought 15 colonies of African bee’s from South Africa to South America as he was trying to make a hybrid of the local and African bee, they were let free by accident and now apparently they are spreading into lower North America, the big downside being that they are taking over existing local colonies and are aggressive.

The upside to the African bee is that they are a lot hardier, produce a lot of honey and don’t seem to be affected as much by the varroa mite.

I dont mean to start cause an ill feelings on this topic, im new to Beekeeping and was interested in your thoughts on the matter.

Kind Regards,

It would be very bad news. You don't have to be a beekeeper to understand how bad that would be. We're lucky that the foreign bees we have here now hasn't been more damaging than it has. If you introduce any more dominent species they will conquer just like the grey squirrel and the American crayfish.
The bees you refer to are called Africanised Bees. They are also known as "Killer Bees" because of the response of the colony to any threat - they turn up in their thousands rather than just the odd few as happens with "normal" bees.

They are a hybrid between the african bee which was imported and the bees which were already there in South America. The aim was to create a bee which was more productive than the establish South American species.

I am sure I have seen reports that the african bee (not africanised) is less susceptable to varroa but whether this trait can be used here in the cold north is perhaps less certain.

You will taken outside and shot if you introduced Africanised Bees to the UK.
Just to clear things up, I dont and would not want to introduce them AT ALL... Just a more out of interest topic...
Don't worry, no ones going to shoot you - just my sense of humour.

Different races of bee show different tolerence to varroa and there are serious attempts going on now to breed tolerent strains though selective breeding.

It is also the Africanised bee that is less susceptable, very large ferral populations in some of the southern U.S States. Also able to cope with SHB. One or 2 very large NATIONAL queen producers in these areas as well:patriot:

Regards Ian
Another link to a very interesting article on 'killer' Africansed bees:

Interesting images of the variation in bee sting body parts and the comment around the fact that an Africanised will remain agitated for several hours rather than minutes.

I have seen a video on Africanised bees attacking a fully protected man and instead of a few stings on the glove there were literally thousands in a minute.

So my desire would be to avoid Africanised bees,

All the best,
as someone that has handleed ahb, there are several ideas you have here so lets see what i can do to answer a few,

african honey bees come from the shara area of africa there are two sorts of bees out there easiest way to say is big and small, the smaller are our africian ised bee base colony they were transported over to the americas because they are excellent collectors of honey , easly out classing any thing you can think of, the down side is the cross breeding exaggerated its aggresive, protective streak which is why its called a killer be becuase it starts to mob any thing that the first bee has stung causeing a snow ball of other stings, but that siad i have stood working with a guy inside a trailer of a lorry with 100 hives of this type of bee and apart from them going completly nuts when i tried an english brood box examination ( he never did) they were not to bad, I have worked with bees that are alot more aggressive to work with in england than this lorry set up , but anyway lets talk of other things

can we keep them in england , simple answer no they cant do our winters else wise they would have worked up from africa to us over the last milloin years so we are safe???????

has samples been kept in the uk at research stations proberly but i dont know, as for getting them passed customs i doubt it very very much, the standard school of thought is that one of the best known bee collecters ever known. introduced varroa so they do get a little twitchy about were they come from and what they are like so a little hard to do

what effect has it had on the yanks is simpley that in the 60 and 70s they were single type bees but are know interbreeding with the locals and it is these bees that are doing the majority of the traveling northwards in the states

we are finding that as bee keepers are getting to know and work with the inter breeds that they are finding that some are great to work with and some are monsters but the same could be said about a poor croosed brred queen in the uk some of which i personaly would and have thrown a petrol bomb at rather than try to deal with again
, dont worry i was not harmed at all when i did it!!!! lol as for the bees they were soon replaced with a much better set

so thats hedges ideas and i am sure many others will add there ten pence

hope it helps
I have seen a video on Africanised bees attacking a fully protected man and instead of a few stings on the glove there were literally thousands in a minute.

So my desire would be to avoid Africanised bees,

Small colonies of "africanised" bees aren't that aggressive. I've come across worse tempered european bees than the AHB bees I've seen. Also I think Dewey Caron mentions in his book on AHB bees that they become less aggressive in cooler climates/higher altitudes.

I think the worst thing about them is their tendency to abscond. In the area that I know them from the beekeepers have to feed them pollen substitute etc to stop them absconding at certain times of the year when there isn't much food around for them.

They also don't tend to share information as much - ie where sources of food are - which is possibly better suited mix sources, but probably not that good at pollinating monocrops.

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