more honey for the beehive state

Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2009 10:22 am
SALT LAKE CITY " Africanized honey bees have been found for the first time in the Beehive State. The bees, long the subject of lore as "killer bees," were recently discovered in Utah's Washington and Kane counties, the state Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that seven hives " three in the wild and four managed by private beekeepers " contained Africanized bees. The hives have since been destroyed.

The bees in Utah do not appear to be widespread and no injuries to people or animals have been reported.

State and local officials have been anticipating the bees' arrival since they showed up in Mesquite, Nev., in 1999, just a few miles from the Utah line.

"We've been saying not if but when for a long time," said Larry Lewis, a spokesman for the state agriculture department.

The bees are the result of interbreeding between European honey bees and bees from Africa. They were inadvertently released in Brazil in the 1950s. They were first spotted in Texas in 1990 and have since been found in several other states, including California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

Although Africanized bees look like European honey bees, they tend to get irritated faster, respond with more firepower and stay mad longer than other bees, said Kirk Visscher, a professor at the University of California at Riverside, who has studied Africanized bees since 1985.
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