The distribution and range expansion of Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the state of Yucatan, Mexico
José Javier G Quezada-Euán; Carlos M Echazarreta; Robert J Paxton
Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera) first arrived in the neotropical Mexican state of Yucatan in 1987. We documented the distribution and spread of Africanized honey bees at 15 localities across Yucatan by sampling worker honey bees from more than 280 managed colonies per year from 1990 to 1994, and from over 60 feral colonies per year at the same localities from 1992 to 1994. Colonies were classified morphometrically, using the criteria of Rinderer et al. (1993a) for managed colonies and using modified probablities for feral colonies. Africanized honey bees spread from the south, and by 1991 were found throughout Yucatan in managed colonies. By 1994, 52% of managed colonies were classified as pure Africanized and, assuming linearity in the rate of Africanization, all managed colonies are projected to be Africanized by mid-1997. Feral colonies showed evidence of Europeanization in 1992 but, by 1994, they were classified as Africanized. The slower pace of Africanization of managed colonies than that predicted for Yucatan may have arisen from extensive hybridization between the incoming Africanized honey bees and the large resident European honey bee population of the state, which contained among the highest densities of managed European colonies in the world before 1987. As yet, there is no evidence of a reduction in honey production in Yucatan.
Africanized honey bees, European honey bees, Apis mellifera, distribution, range expansion, hybridization, morphometrics, taxonomy, Yucatan, Mexico