Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Africanized Honey Bees Found in Lowcountry

Africanized Honey Bee photo
courtesy USDA
The news creating the most buzz last week came on May 23 when a colony of Africanized bees was confirmed in the Lowcountry. Charleston County was the official location given for the colony, with unconfirmed reports centering on the West Ashley area. The Department of Plant Industry discovered the rogue colony during a routine survey, while monitoring for disease and parasites that can harm commercial beekeepers.

Area of concern in West Ashley for Africanized Bees,
Shared by the Chas. Area Beekeepers Assoc.
One local organization involved in the conversation is the CABA, or the Charleston Area Beekeepers Association. One of their licensed beekeepers within a two-mile radius shared that his hive is now under quarantine by Clemson officials. It will take about two weeks for test results to reveal if any of the Africanized bees affected the hive that he tends in order to pollinate flowers and a garden.

Detecting and then dealing with any Africanized bees in the familiar bee hive boxes that beekeepers tend, is likely the best possible scenario for any encounter. Conventional thinking is that queen bees won’t fly more than about 2-miles in order to look for fertilization. If any other bee hives test positive for Africanized bees, then the two-mile zone area of concern can be expanded and inspectors can contact other licensed beekeepers.
To read this feature story in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries click on Honey Bees in Lowcountry.

To view past blog entries about pollinators click on Sweet Blues Blueberries - Soil and Water District

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