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Honey Bee Swarm - Apis mellifera - male - female

Honey Bee Swarm - Apis mellifera - Male Female
Skull Valley, (WSW of Prescott 10 miles), Yavapai County, Arizona, USA
September 8, 2007
Size: ca 6" x 18" maybe
Found on an eldeberry. Called local Beeman & watched him transfer them into a beehive box. He say's he can't differentiate the African Bee....or is it an Africianized bee ? Apparently they invade and take over other existing hives.

Probably Africanized bees.
Most of the Arizona honeybee colonies are now Africanized. "Africanized" is at term applied to a variety or "strain" of Apis mellifera, as I understand it. There are apparently slight differences in body proportion between the Africanized specimens and "regular" A. mellifera, but no, you can't readily tell the difference in the field. Swarms of either kind are not a hazard. Disturb a NEST of Africanized bees, and you are in serious trouble. Keep your ears open. You may hear a hive entrance before you see it.

Body Proportions
Yes, I've read where the Africanized bees are slightly smaller than the regular Apis melliferas. And swarming bees are indeed no threat.

Not just smaller
The ratio of certain measurements to each other is different. As I understand it, one takes various measurements of various anatomical features, plugs them into various mathematical formulas, and finally the results of one's statistical calculations indicate whether one has an Africanized bee or not.

A little hard to illustrate in a field guide...

Thanks Chuck
I think I'll let others do the measuring & calculation!

Thanks Eric & Ken
My experience with bees makes me very caucious. I usually have an alergic reaction when stung near the face. I don't trust bees. Had a swarm fly over the top of me a couple years ago as they moved thru the area. I crouched down and didn't move until they were past. I don't take much chances whit them. PS My ears are usually plugged with hearing "Aids".

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