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Africanized honeybees found in LaSalle Parish

June 24, 2008

Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M. said a new report of Africanized honeybees was confirmed near Tullos in LaSalle Parish.
“A sample taken from one of our traps about two miles southeast of the intersection of U.S. 165 and U.S. 84 tested positive for Africanized honeybees,” Strain said. “We’ll continue to monitor for the bees and move our trap line further east of the find.”
Strain said the sample was collected on May 7 by Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) inspectors and confirmed Wednesday, June 17 by the USDA bee lab in Tucson, Ariz.
“Since there is always a lag time between the initial report and confirmation we suggest everyone should simply leave any feral bee colony they come across alone,” Strain said. “There is a possibility the bees may be Africanized.
“Our duty is to notify the public and beekeepers in the area that Africanized bees have been confirmed. People who spend time outside need to be aware that Africanized bees are in Louisiana.”
The Africanized honeybee is smaller than the European honeybee commonly raised for honey production but the size differential can only be measured under magnification.
Though the venom in Africanized bees is the same as that in European bees, Africanized bees will sting in greater masses leading to a toxic reaction in some cases. Seeking cover immediately helps to reduce the number of stings in a confrontation with Africanized bees.
Africanized honeybees were first confirmed in Louisiana in July 2005 from a sample taken from a trap near the town of Rodessa in north Caddo Parish. It was the first case of Africanized bees moving into the state through natural range expansion.
LDAF maintains a line of traps running north and south through the state in order to detect the progression of the Africanized honeybees. The traps are placed roughly two miles apart and contain a queen bee pheromone that attracts swarms of bees.