Africanized Killer Bees & Native Bees Can Coexist Better Than Initially Thought

PANAMA CITY, Panama, Oct. 2 (UPI) — Africanized “killer bees” may be less of a problem for native bees than weather changes, scientists in Panama say.

The aggressive bees have spread northward after accidentally being released in Brazil in 1957, prompting fears they would compete with native bees, said David Roubik, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City.

A 17-year study of the aggressive bees’ invasion of the Yucatan Peninsula, however, showed African bees existed with native bees in areas with diverse plant life, Roubik said in a release Thursday.

During the study, a severe drought and three hurricanes devastated native bees, but their populations rebounded each time. Africanized bees took over pollination of cashews and splurge — two plant families that had been important food sources for native bees.

However, one of the plants preferred by native bees, pouteria, became more common, Roubik said, cautioning that native bee populations in less diverse areas might be less resilient to invasion.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Drought, Other
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