'Killer' Bees May Do More Saving Than Killing!

August 19, 2014 10:09 PM

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Yes, it's true. Bees can sometimes be scary, especially the more defensive species like the Africanized honey bee, or "killer" bee, that many of us in Arizona have heard about. And after coming across a hive of over a thousand of them in my attic, I personally understand that fear. But since that encounter, I've been spending some time really thinking about this hybrid species and what implications they have in my life and in my surrounding environment. How has the introduction of this species shaped our relationship with bees, our perceptions of the honey bee, and our ecology? What might future bee populations look like, and how might that affect agriculture? But why, really, are we so afraid of them? Are these bees really all that bad?

Before we dig deeper into these issues, let's go over what exactly the Africanized honey bee is. This is a hybrid species that first emerged in 1956 when a Brazilian geneticist, Dr. Warwick Kerr, was asked to genetically engineer a honey bee that could survive the tropical climate of Brazil by breed...

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