When you keep bees, the top questions tend to be: Do you get stung alot? Are your hives collapsing? Do you have honey for sale? and "What about killer bees?"

Africanized bees have been found officially in Georgia after a man was killed by a disturbed hive he knocked over accidentally with a bulldozer.

This is a big concern for beekeepers outside of Georgia because the south Georgia beekeepers supply most of the package bees in the southeast. This means that if beekeepers buy packages of bees they could potentially to very likely have Africanized strains. This is not good for beekeepers or for anyone else. These bees are extremely defensive and can be dangerous, especially in the places most beekeepers keep bees.

The Africanized bees have been spreading for sometime, check out this 2009 map of their progress (from the Georgia Beekeepers' site):

Africanized bees are so-called "killer bees." There is a lot of good information on the Georgia site (which hasn't been updated after this attack yet).

A beekeeper I know here in Virginia told me that when he was being certified to sell bees some of his hives had some Africanized strains which he had to eliminate before being certified. Generally the perception is that Virginia is too cold for them to last, but knowing how rapidly and successively the bees reproduce it is not surprisingly that some genetics have entered the stream here.

This is why there is such a strong emphasis on producing local queens and nucs. The key is strong local hives and no need to buy packages.

Another part of the equation which can't be overlooked is the bad press a death via Africanized bees produces. People already harbor unreasonable fear of bees, this will just make it worse.


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