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“Killer” Bees Moving in California

Bee Culture – May, 2002

UC Davis entomologist Dave Nielsen has identified two Africanized bees in Tulare County, the first time the highly defensive bees have been found in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Last Fall, Nielsen sampled about 150 bees from 30 different sites between Atwater to the north and Bakersfield (Oildale) to the south, in the region of Highway 99 and the Sierra foothills. The two Africanized bees were identified near the towns of Lindsay and Posey, using PCR-amplified mitochondrial DNA markers.

“There are a great number of bee colonies in the area,” Nielsen says. “If you don’t find Africanized bees, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Therefore, our results are a conservative estimate of their range expansion.”

“They’re moving up the San Joaquin Valley,” says Scott Kinnee of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Plant Pest Diagnostic Center. “They’re probably even further up than that, but the sampling hasn’t been done yet.”

Reprinted from California Agriculture