Santa Barbara County officials confirmed this week that a particularly aggressive hive of bees discovered earlier this spring in Goleta has the genetic markers of the Africanized honeybee, the type of bees infamously and, in most cases, erroneously labeled as “killer bees.” The hive, near the intersection of Glen Annie and Cathedral Oaks, was reportedly particularly aggressive, or as Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association’s Todd Bebb described them, “a spicy group.” Bebb & Co. relocated the hive to a private residence in Carpinteria. Africanized bees were first confirmed here in 2002 — and beekeepers believe most hives in the wilds of Southern California show some traces of “killer bee” ancestry — but Bebb pointed out there has never been a confirmed “aggressive attack” on people or animals in the county. The Beekeepers Association is currently researching “re-Queening” aggressive hives as a potential solution to the unfolding bee mortality problem.
Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Apis mellifera scutellata