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Africanized Honeybees in the Florida Everglades


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A Bee Alert about Africanized honeybees (a.k.a. "killer bees") has been published by the Animal Control Division of the Public Works Administration of Pompano Beach, Florida. The 4-page article (88.2 KB PDF) by Animal Control Officer David Aycock is posted here or can also be downloaded from Pompano Beach's Web site at URL http://www.mypompanobeach.org/directory/publicworks/animal/bee_alert.pdf.

Why am I directing you to this article?

In November 2008, while conducting fieldwork in a sawgrass marsh near the Harney River in Everglades National Park, my team got attacked by a swarm of bees that had several characteristics suggesting that they are Africanized. The bees were highly aggressive and followed us for some 80 m or so away from the initial point of contact. We subsequently discovered that the hive was very exposed, also characteristic of these bees. The hive was attached to the underside of a plankway—just like the plankways many of us use to access our study sites and hydro platforms (stations that house hydrologic-sampling equipment).

The attack resulted in a visit to the emergency room, where the team member who had been stung the most got treatment. So bee careful out there!

Aggressive bees nesting on underside of plank hive underneath the plank
Above left: Aggressive bees nesting on underside of plank in a sawgrass marsh near the Harney River in Everglades National Park, Florida. [larger version]

Above right: The hive underneath the plank. [larger version]

Gordon Anderson Ginger Tiling and Karen Balentine
Above left: Hydrologic technician Gordon Anderson, a member of Smith's team, repairs a rain gage at the USGS hydrologic-sampling station (a.k.a. "hydro platform") near the Harney River. Note planks laid over sawgrass marsh to facilitate access to platform. [larger version]

Above right: Ginger Tiling (left) and Karen Balentine, members of Smith's team, conduct routine maintenance on platform instruments. [larger version]

A final note: On December 5, Everglades National Park ranger and amateur beekeeper Dave Fowler successfully removed the hive. Samples have been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s laboratory in Gainesville, Florida, for DNA testing, which will determine the degree of Africanization in the bees. Thank you, Dave!


Related Web Sites
Bee Alert - 88 KB PDF
Pompano Beach Web site
Killer Bees Move to Florida - 2.2 MB PDF
on page 9 of FACA TRAX, Florida Animal Control Association
Africanized Honeybee
U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Research
cover story:
Prehistoric Climate Can Help Forecast Future Changes

Escalating Endangerment for North American Freshwater and Diadromous Fish

Outreach USGS Celebrates 10th Annual Open House in Florida

FISC Scientists Out and About Sharing Science

Meetings Northeast Florida Environmental Law Summit

Awards Amy Draut Wins SEPM 2009 James Lee Wilson Award

Staff Africanized Honeybees in the Florida Everglades

Publications Reversing Coral Reef Decline in Hawai‘i

Jan. / Feb. 2009 Publications List


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