Colombian bees, Africanized
The traditional and naturally docile Colombian Apis mellifera bee originally from Europe was kept pure until the 70’s until it was Africanized.Bogotá D. C., 29 de marzo de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
Apis mellifera species includes more than 24 subspecies, classified in 5 genetically divergent classified linages.
With the arrival of African bees from Brazil in the 70’s there was a natural crossbreeding with European bees used in Colombia.
A research project performed by Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Zootechnicians and Veterinarians claims Colombian bees became Africanized due to natural crossbreeds occurred amongst them.
This was the conclusion of a research project carried out by Microbiology master’s candidate and Veterinarian Víctor Manuel Tibatá, whom using DNA sequencing techniques determined that 99% of the beehives sampled were compatible with Africanized bee linages.
In the same manner they included paternity results using DNA nucleotide sequencing of Colombian bees with an almost 100% mitochondrial DNA correspondence to Africanized bees.
The project included beehives from the Provinces of Sucre, Cundinamarca, Huila, Magdalena and Boyacá, the latter the greatest producer of pollen in Colombia.
After scientifically determining that Colombian bees were Africanized, authorities such as the Colombian Agricultural and Livestock Institute (ICA, for its Spanish acronym) are now summoned to work on protocols for treating this species, which although aggressive, produce greater amount of honey.
Sensible to noise and heat
Africanized bees produce 70% more honey than common bees. However the species is sensible to stress conditions such as heat, chemical distress and inclusively noise. In fact close to a year and half ago a group of firemen had to evacuate a block in the Bogotá neighborhood of Puente Aranda, after a resident sprayed insecticide on a beehive.
This microbiology bee expert says how infectious agents which impact bees could also impact the crops bees pollinate and therefore impact food safety. “What people ignore is that 40% of the food consumed by humans is linked to bee activity,” he said.
In Colombia the apiculture industry is more associated to honey production (estimated at 100,000 beehives and each producing 30 kilos of honey a year), which in any case is less than other neighboring countries such as Argentina, Mexico or Chile. In other countries, USA for instance, the agricultural authorities are on high alert due to the low amount of bees because the pollinating action speeds up the productive development of several crops.
According to Tibatá, everything indicates that Africanized bees are more resistant to diseases. However in industrialized countries loss of bee numbers is produced by several viruses, bacteria and a fungus, therefore they are working on a project to establish which pathogens can have a bearing on the reproduction of these natural ecosystem balancing agents; they are looking into exactly four virus: deformed wing virus, acute paralysis, sacbrood virus and the Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV).
“The idea is that agencies such as ICA and the Ministry of Agriculture can take action and establish monitoring and control programs and avoid what happened in America and Europe” said Tibatá.(Por: Fin/HEVC/DMH/APBL