Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

African Honey Bee

Bee Aware ... Look, Listen, Run

The African honey bee (AHB) population has grown and will continue to grow in Florida due to its numerous pathways into the state and the lack of effective eradication products or techniques.

AHBs were brought to Brazil in the 1950’s for testing as possible alternative pollinators and honey producers because of their reputation of being hardy in tropical environments. At the time, their defensive nature and ability to reproduce in greater numbers were not well understood. Some were accidentally released and have spread throughout South and Central America, Mexico and the southern U.S.

The department monitors 500 bait hives placed throughout the state, primarily in port areas, along Interstate 10 and on the Florida-Alabama border. The bait hives are checked on a three-week cycle based on the reproduction habits of the AHB.

To prevent stinging incidents, Look for bees and Listen for buzzing when working or playing outdoors and always be aware of your surroundings and potential hive locations. If attacked, Run away with your face covered, –get inside a car or building–, and call a licensed pest control company to remove the hive; don’t attempt to remove it yourself. Seek medical attention if needed.

It is important to note, managed honey bee colonies (bee boxes often seen in agricultural fields) are an important part of Florida agriculture because they pollinate foods we eat, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. For more information, call the Division of Plant Industry's toll-free helpline number at 1-888-397-1517.

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