In August, Apiary Inspector Rob Horsburgh, traveled to the island of Bonaire in the southern Caribbean with PhD student Caroline Efstathion, from the University of Florida. Their goal was to assist the Echo Parrot Project with Africanized bee problems. Bees are taking over nest cavities of the critically endangered Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot and are endangering the safety of biologists who check on their nests. In some cases the bees are actually stinging the baby parrots to death to take over the nest cavity. The pair built and installed swarm trap boxes along cliff edges throughout parrot nesting areas. They also experimented with using paintballs filled with a fast degrading insecticide to shoot into bee occupied nest cavities to reclaim them for the parrots. In addition to this, they obtained samples of Africanized bees for DNA testing and pest and disease analyses. While on the island, they also presented two workshops to the local Junior Ranger students and local beekeepers to educate them on beekeeping management practices. The plan is that captured swarms from the parrot nesting areas will be placed into managed apiaries and honey can then be gathered and sold. The proceeds would go to help fund protection efforts for the parrots. This trip was funded by an emergency grant from the Walt Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQdEvtZLwoY