Researcher: 'Killer Bees' May Spread Throughout Fla.
Local 6 | June 20, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- African honeybees -- also known as killer bees -- have entered Florida, and a University of Florida researcher says the aggressive insects may eventually spread throughout the state and move into other areas of the southeastern United States.
Glenn Hall said African honeybees have been found and stopped at ports in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa since 1987.
"However, new finds in the Tampa area suggest that African bees are spreading and becoming established in the state, and they are being found farther inland from the ports," Hall said in a University of Florida press release. "We did not believe that enough bees could arrive on ships to form an established population, but they did so in Puerto Rico, and now appear to be doing the same in Florida."
But Hall noted that the bees are here to stay due to the warm climate and could affect the beekeeping industry and the pollination of many crops. That's not to mention the problems they could cause to public safety, recreation and tourism.
The bee specialist said the Tampa area is seeing a small spread of them and the African bees are also being found farther inland from the ports.
There have been 14 fatalities in the United States, and hundreds of nonfatal stinging incidents have been reported, according to the report.