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[nafex] FW: The African(ized) Queen

With the recent question on beekeeping, I thought some readers might find
this interesting.
From: "ARS News Service" <isnv@ars-grin.gov>
To: "ARS News List" <ars-news@ars-grin.gov>
Subject: The African(ized) Queen
Date: Tue, May 23, 2000, 6:30 AM

The African(ized) Queen: New Twist Found To Hive Drama


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Marcia Wood, (510) 559-6070, mwood@asrr.arsusda.gov
May 23, 2000

Africanized honey bees have an unexpected advantage in the battle to keep
beekeepers from replacing highly defensive Africanized queens with gentle,
easily managed European ones.

Within only one week after their queen dies or is removed by beekeepers,
Africanized worker bees--which are female--are capable of activating their
ovaries to produce viable female eggs for re-queening the hive. That's
according to preliminary findings by Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman of the ARS Carl
Hayden Bee Research Center, Tucson, Ariz., and Stanley S. Schneider of the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

European worker bees' ovaries can't start producing eggs until the queen has
been missing for at least three weeks. And, egg-laying worker bees that are
queenless typically produce male offspring. In contrast, the Africanized
workers' faster, one-week response to queenlessness, and ability to produce
a queen from their own female eggs, could explain why many beekeepers'
efforts to re-queen an Africanized hive with a docile European queen haven't
succeeded. Queens introduced into colonies that have egg-laying workers will
be attacked and killed.

Scientists already knew that some kinds of African honey bees, such as the
Cape bee of South Africa, can lay viable female eggs within one week of
becoming queenless, and nurture them to become their queen. But the ARS and
University researchers are apparently the first to observe this phenomenon
in Africanized worker bees in the northern hemisphere.

Migrating from Brazil, Africanized bees are today found in Arizona,
California, Texas, New Mexico and Nevada.

The scientists are developing new tactics to foil the Africanized workers'
ability to make their own Africanized queen. DeGrandi-Hoffman reported the
findings at the Second International Conference on Africanized Honey Bees
and Bee Mites, held recently in Tucson. ARS, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief research wing, was co-sponsor.


Scientific contact: Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research
Center, Tucson, Ariz., phone (520) 670-6380, ext. 105, fax (520) 670-5550,
This item is one of the news releases and story leads that ARS Information
distributes on weekdays to fax and e-mail subscribers. You can also get the
latest ARS news on the World Wide Web at
* Feedback and questions to ARS News Service via e-mail: isnv@ars-grin.gov.
* ARS Information Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD
20705-5128, (301) 504- 1617, fax 504-1648.

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