Later these AHBs were found in Arizona, California and Southern parts of United States.
AHBs are more adaptable to tropical regions where the abundance of flora is dependent on unpredictable rainfall. As an adaptability to this factor AHBs they frequently swarm to new habitats, reproduce rapidly with shorter developmental life cycles and survive even on sparse supplies of pollen and nectar.
Economic threat: Essential need for honey bees to pollinate crops as well as honey production is the matter of great economic concern. Americans are known to consume about 275 million pounds of honey every year. In this context AHBs produce less honey and wax when compared to EHBs. They also produce less wax affecting the manufacture of candles, polish and floor wax. Due to frequent swarming and extensive hive abandoning nature they are less preferred in managed beekeeping industry.
Ecological threat: i) They compete and displace local EHBs and other pollinators for nectar and pollen. ii) AHBs invade EHB hive and are capable of upsurging the hive and replacing the EHB queen. In a single generation the EHB matriline is eliminated and the entire EHB hive being Africanized (DeGrandi-Hoffman 2006). iii) Studies of DeGrandi-Hoffman (USDA 2004) have shown that when EHB queens were inseminated with equal proportions of African and European drone sperms, the EHB queen preferred African sperms, producing on an average of about 70% AHB offspring.
These factors may eventually decrease the abundance of other bee species which affects pollen harvest and reduce EHB progeny.
Social threat: AHBs are more aggressive and sting in greater number on less provocation and respond to any disturbances such as loud noises, strong odors around the hive. They are able to sense threat within 100ft and track upto 1/4th a mile. A sting of a single
bee releases a pheromone which stimulates other bees to agitate and attack. The sting of AHBs is know to cause anaphylactic shock. The venom of the bee triggers the release of histamine which can lead to vasodilation and loss of blood pressure. If the condition is not reversed within short time it may lead to death of the person due to shock.
Methods of control
AHBs are better pollinators when compared to EHBs as they emphasize on brood rearing and growth of the colony rather than honey production. Hence their complete elimination is not a wise option. Agricultural Research Service scientists along with groups like the American Beekeeping Federation, the American Honey Producers Association and the Apiary Inspectors of America have been entrusted with the job of finding the solution to the problem of AHBs in US. Two popular basic methods of control are
i) Drone flooding: By limiting the possibility of Africanized drones mating with Europeans queens where commercial reared queen bee has a chance to mate with common honey bees.
ii) Requeening: replacing queen of