|Spread of Africanized Honey Bees in the United
What this map layer shows:
The distribution of Africanized honey bees, by county, as of 2009.
Research Service (ARS) of the United
States Department of Agriculture conducts research on agricultural problems
affecting both farmers and consumers in the United States and works to develop
and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority.
ARS researchers look for ways to protect crops and livestock from pests
and disease, improve the quality and safety of agricultural products, determine
the nutritional requirements of Americans, and keep costs down for consumers.
They also work to sustain the nation's soil and other natural resources
and ensure profitability for farmers and agricultural processors. In addition,
ARS provides research support to other Federal agencies.
ARS research includes studies of beneficial insects such as honey bees.
Honey bees are the chief insect pollinator for more than 90 crops in the
United States. They are vitally important to the farm economy of the nation
and are also valued for the beeswax, honey, and other products they produce.
Most honey bees in the United States are European bees, which were originally
brought to this country by European colonists in the 1600s and 1700s.
Africanized honey bees are the result of honey bees brought from Africa
to Brazil in the 1950s in hopes of breeding a bee better adapted to the
South American tropical climate. These African honey bees reached the
Brazilian wild in 1957 and then spread south and north until they officially
reached the United States on October 19, 1990. They have since interbred
with European honey bees, and because hybrid bees tend to exhibit many
African honey bee traits while still retaining some European honey bee
genes, the hybrid bees are referred to as Africanized honey bees. Honey
bees, whether they are European, African, or Africanized, only sting
defensively. However, Africanized honey bees are a concern to farmers
and beekeepers because they are extremely protective of their hive and
tend to be much more aggressive than European honey bees. This map layer
was compiled by the National Atlas of the United States® from
information provided by the Agricultural Research Service.
The Spread of Africanized Bees in the United States map layer shows the
distribution of Africanized bees as of 2009. The data are mapped by county
and include an indication of when the Africanized bees were first observed
in each county. Counties where Africanized bees have not been observed
are also indicated.
Further general information on honey bees is available from The University
of Georgia, Department of Entomology Honey
Bee Program page, and from the Texas A&M University Honey
Bee Information site. Additional information on Africanized honey
bees can be found in the Ohio
State University Extension Fact Sheet on the Africanized Honey Bee and
on the ARS Carl
Hayden Bee Research Center page.