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Commercial Traps Control Wayward Bees / April 17, 1997 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Hanging bee trap on tree branch

Commercial Traps Control Wayward Bees

By Dennis Senft
April 17, 1997

Commercial companies now use inexpensive traps to capture errant honey bee swarms that might take up residence too near homes, schools, playgrounds and other areas. The traps and lure were developed by scientists with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

ARS scientists say the traps are especially useful against Africanized honeybees, highly defensive bees now found in parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Bee Masters, a company in Tucson, Ariz., uses the traps to protect areas such as the Desert Museum, Tucson International Airport and resort golf courses. However, it would be inadvisable for homeowners to try to use the traps themselves because of the risks involved with handling large numbers of potentially angry bees.

Africanized bees, descendants of bees imported from Africa to Brazil, first entered the U.S. in 1990. To the untrained eye, they are physically indistinguishable from the gentler European honey bees that have been in the U.S. since the 18th century. The European bee annually pollinates about $10 billion worth of U.S. crops.

A story about the new traps appears in the March issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the monthly publication of the Agricultural Research Service. The story can be found on the World Wide Web in html format at:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar97/beetrap0497.htm

Scientific contact: Justin O. Schmidt, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Laboratory, Tucson, Ariz., phone (520) 670-6380, fax (520) 670-6493, e-mail jschmidt@ccit.arizona.edu.

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