African Honey Bees: Economic Impact of an Invasive Species

In the early 1900″s, African honey bees were taken from South Africa and introduced to the European honey bee.  African honey bees are known for their aggressiveness but are great producers of honey.  Scientists believed that by interbreeding the two they would create the perfect honey bee that would produce more honey.  Unfortunately, these hybrid bees took on the aggressive gene as well, and these hybrid bees lacked in honey production.  Some of the imported African bee queens escaped and formed millions of colonies of hybrid African honey bees throughout South America and quickly making their way up to the United States.  I am looking at the impact these invasive species are having on us economically as well as ecologically.  People don’t realize the importance of honey bees.  Most of the foods we eat can easily be traced to bee pollination, and to the United States this means billions.  For farmers, this is their last chance at increasing production of crops.  It is the degree of pollination that decides the amount of fruit or nuts the crops will produce.  Bee pollination plays an important role in maintaining a profitable agriculture with very little disruptions to our environment.  We cannot alter bees to produce more honey without there being consequences.

~AG

Florida Bee Bill, ABC Coverage

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3 thoughts on “African Honey Bees: Economic Impact of an Invasive Species

  1. I like the saying, do not mess with a good thing. I believe experts were being greedy and wanted this perfect honeybee, but now they have a problem on their hands. I think when these hybrids are being through about before they are created the pros and cons need to be weighed so we do not continue to run into a problem such as this.

  2. I’ve always viewed bees as pest, dreading their appearance when outside on a picnic. I appreciate learning the value bees have in our agriculture. This will make me think twice and consider how intricately woven our ecosystems truly are. It is interesting to learn that there is a difference between the honey producing bee and the aggressive African honey bees. Chemicals to fix one problem has instead created another. This report has bought the problem to my attention and I will watch for information as it comes out on how this issue will be resolved.

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