Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2006
Publication Date: 4/20/2006
Citation: Schneider, S., DeGrandi-Hoffman, G., Smith, D., Tarpy, D. The African Honey Bee: A Case Study of a Biological Invasion. Bee Culture. 2006. Vol. 134, No. 4. 21-24.
Interpretive Summary: In the 50+ years since its introduction into Brazil, the African honey bee has migrated northward and replaced resident European honey bee populations in nearly every geographic location. The bee has changed beekeeping methods and the public's perception of honey bees. In this, the first of a three part series, we provide an overview of the biology of honey bees in the Old World where they originated. We discuss the different selection pressures that shaped Temperate Zone European bees and Tropical African bees. We also tell the story of how African bees were introduced into the New World, and the repercussions of that introduction.
Technical Abstract: The African honey bee has colonized much of the Americas in less than 50 years and has largely replaced European honey bees. In this, the first of a three-part series, we provide a synthesis of recent research on African bee biology, the history of its introduction and its displacement of European honey bees. Specifically, we discuss the different selection pressures that have shaped honey bee populations in their native environments in the Old World, how African bees were introduced in the New World and the genetic composition of the expanding population. We briefly discuss the symmetry of gene flow between African and European bees which is discussed from a mechanistic perspective in part-2 of the series.