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Hybrid Bees

November 4, 2009

How aggressive an Africanized bee is depends on its parents.


Hybrid honeybees…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Africanized honeybees, sometimes known as killer bees, are hybrids of African and European bees. They tend to sting more than European bees and frequently form swarms. Now scientists have discovered that the aggressiveness of Africanized bees depends on which parent was the African bee. Entomologist Greg Hunt of Purdue University explains.

GREG HUNT (Purdue University):
And if you make hybrids, you can cross a European queen to an African father and vice versa. If the hybrid has an African dad, they sting just as much as the African type, but if the hybrid has a European dad, they don’t sting quite as much.

He adds that while Africanized bees are aggressive, yellowjackets are actually more dangerous. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.