agriculture officials are reporting that Africanized honeybees have moved
closer to the Louisiana border with the recent discovery of Africanized bee
colonies in two northeast Texas counties.
researcher discovered the bees in Gregg and Harrison counties in northeast
Texas,” Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom says. “The location
is about 35 to 40 miles west of Caddo Parish.”
bees were found in traps set by a bee researcher working near Longview and
Marshall, Texas. Out of six feral, or wild, honeybee colonies collected, three
were confirmed Africanized honeybees by the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Both counties were quarantined and made part of the Texas Africanized Honey Bee
LDAF apiary inspectors have been monitoring the Louisiana/Texas border with
traps from the Gulf of Mexico to north of Shreveport for several years so that
we will know when we have Africanized honeybees here,” Odom explains. “It’s no
longer a situation of ‘if we get them’,
now it’s ‘when we get them,’ and it’s only a matter of time before Africanized
honeybees arrive here.”
Africanized honeybees are detected in Louisiana, the department will alert the
public and the state’s beekeepers immediately.
no Africanized bees have been in the state from natural movement, Jimmy
Dunkley, state apiarist for LDAF, says the USDA has intercepted several
Africanized bee colonies entering New Orleans on ships.
boats were docked, inspectors destroyed the bees eliminating the possibility
for their spread to local European honeybee colonies, which is a major concern
for beekeepers in Louisiana.
honeybees are a big threat to the public perception of beekeepers, many of whom
have colonies of European honeybees in their own backyards. The department is
constantly working with them so that when the Africanized bees arrive in our
state, beekeepers can take measures to assure their neighbors that their hives
are safe,” Dunkley remarks.
points out that Africanized honeybees are smaller, more aggressive bees than
the European honeybees commonly raised for honey production. It is their
aggressive nature that scares many outdoor enthusiasts.
Africanized bees have been labeled ‘killer bees’ for years, there’s an idea
around that they are bigger than European honeybees,” Odom adds. “The truth is,
they’re actually smaller but a lot more fierce.”
venom in Africanized bees is the same as that in European bees, but Africanized
bees will sting in greater masses leading to a toxic reaction in some cases.
Dunkley recommends seeking cover immediately to reduce the number of stings in
a confrontation with Africanized bees.
says that once an Africanized honeybee colony is discovered in Louisiana, the
department will move from a trap-monitoring program to a hive certification
program for beekeepers that sell queens and packaged bees.
order for our beekeepers to continue to sell their queens and packages, they
will have to show proof that their colonies are free of Africanized honeybees.
The department’s duty will be inspecting those operations and certifying the
colonies that don’t contain any Africanized honeybees,” Odom notes.
report an unprovoked, mass stinging, please call LDAF at 225-952-8100.