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Acta Biológica Colombiana

Print version ISSN 0120-548X


ROUBIK, DAVID W. ECOLOGICAL IMPACT ON NATIVE BEES BY THE INVASIVE AFRICANIZED HONEY BEE. Acta biol.Colomb. [online]. 2009, vol.14, n.2, pp.115-124. ISSN 0120-548X.

Very little effort has been made to investigate bee population dynamics among intact wilderness areas. The presence of newly-arrived feral Africanized honey bee (AHB), Apis mellifera (Apidae), populations was studied for 10-17 years in areas previously with few or no escaped European apiary honey bees. Here I describe and interpret the major results from studies in three neotropical forests: French Guiana, Panama and Yucatan, Mexico (5° to 19° N. latitude). The exotic Africanized honey bees did not produce a negative effect on native bees, including species that were solitary or highly eusocial. Major differences over time were found in honey bee abundance on flowers near habitat experiencing the greatest degree of disturbance, compared to deep forest areas. At the population level, sampled at nest blocks, or at flower patches, or at light traps, there was no sudden decline in bees after AHB arrival, and relatively steady or sinusoidal population dynamics. However, the native bees shifted their foraging time or floral species. A principal conclusion is that such competition is silent, in floristically rich habitats, because bees compensate behaviorally for competition. Other factors limit their populations.

Keywords : Africanized honey bee; native bees; competition; population dynamics; neotropical forests.

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