Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Feral Honey Bees in Southern Arizona, 10 Years after Varroa Infestation

Authors
item Loper, Garald - RETIRED ARS
item Sammataro, Diana
item Finley-Short, Jennifer
item Cole, Jerry - BEEKEEPER

Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 24, 2006
Publication Date: June 20, 2006
Citation: Loper, G.M., Sammataro, D., Finley, J., and Cole, J. Feral Honey Bees in Southern Arizona, 10 Years After Varroa Infestation. Am. Bee J. 2006. Vol. 146(6):521-524.

Interpretive Summary: The Carl Hayden Bee Research Center is located near the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert and has been studying feral bee colonies in rock cavities. Locating and documenting the local feral bees began in 1987 and by 1991 we were recording information on 241 nest sites. Two hundred and sixteen of these feral colonies were sampled and initially they were genetically identified as European although 3 colonies had mitochondrial DNA from a mother line that was from N. Africa. In 1995, 2 years after they were first found in Tucson, the Africanized honey bee began swarming into the study area. Beginning about 1990, tracheal mites and then in 1995, Varroa mites infested, and then decimated, colonies in our study area. In 1998 the feral populations were reduced to 5% of their original numbers. They are now, in a "good" year, back to 48-50% occupation. Low levels (~7%) of Varroa mites were still found in most colonies. In this report, we present the GPS data for one representative colony at each of the locations.

Technical Abstract: The Carl Hayden Bee Research Center is located near the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert and had been studying feral bee colonies in rock cavities. Locating and documenting the local feral bees began in 1987 and by 1991 we were recording information on 241 nest sites. Two hundred and sixteen of these feral colonies were sampled and initially they were genetically identified as European although 3 colonies had mitochondrial DNA from a mother line that was from N. Africa. In 1995, 2 years after they were first found in Tucson, the Africanized honey bee began swarming into the study area. Beginning about 1990, tracheal mites and then in 1995, Varroa mites infested, and then decimated, colonies in our study area. In 1998 the feral populations were reduced to 5% of their original numbers. They are now, in a "good" year, back to 48-50% occupation. Low levels (~7%) of Varroa mites were still found in most colonies. In this report, we present the GPS data for one representative colony at each of the locations.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page