Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas

Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas

Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas

Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas

Synopsis

es have acquired a reputation among the general public that's straight out of a sci-fi movie. Here Winston seeks to restore balance to this picture by examining the biology of the Africanized honey bee and tracing its predicted impact on North American agriculture and beekeeping.

Excerpt

My objective in this book is to chronicle the biology and impact of a fascinating insect, the Africanized—or "killer"— bee. The appearance of this bee in South America has resulted in an entomological phenomenon unparalleled in the history of exotic pests. Countless insects, both beneficial and detrimental, have been introduced to locations throughout the world; but the Africanized honey bee (as it is commonly referred to in the United States) stands out because of the rapidity of its spread and the economic devastation it has wrought. The enormous amount of media attention to this insect has strongly influenced the way entomologists practice their normally meticulous and detail-oriented craft. Uncharacteristic media battles take place between scientists who are well prepared for academic disagreements but not for airing disputes in public. Research into the biology and management of these bees is set against a background of controversial policy decisions, action plans, government programs, and highly charged competition for funding between government and university researchers.

Indeed, the politics of the Africanized honey bee, and the media attention to it, have caused us to lose sight of the unprecedented success story of an introduced species that is elegantly preadapted to its new environment. The bee is so well suited to tropical life that we have not been able to devise a . . .

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