This Tuesday, officials declared that the swarm of bees that killed two dogs and caused a lot of panic among the locals are in fact European bees and not Africanized.
According to scientists from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the crazed bees from Hitchcock Road had only European genes after seven of them were analyzed.
According to the entomology laboratory in Sacramento, the Concord bees belonged to the species mellifera, family Apidae, and the genus Apis, of the eastern European mitotype, in other words, European honeybees.
Steve Lyle, the agriculture department spokesman, clearly stated that the bees were not Africanized because there was no sign or hint of Africanized ancestry. However, the intensity of the attack was very unusual raising many questions and causing a lot of concern. According to Max Slattengren, the assistant agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County, there is only one logical explanation.
He believes that they were unintentionally provoked. The swarm of bees was set off by a beekeeper who tried to move his hives leading to the attacks that followed afterwards.
Pedestrians, a mail carrier, and residents were stung multiple times as they were trying to escape by running inside their vehicles or homes. After suffering over 50 stings each, two dogs from the backyard next door died.
Furthermore, several residents needed hospital treatment during the weekend. A bee expert from the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, Norman Lott, stated that he has never seen such aggressive European honeybees. He believed that it was possible that the hive was first invaded by Africanized bees.
This aggressive species is, in fact, a hybrid of African and European bees that was introduced in Brazil first a few decades ago in order to develop a more honey-productive bee.
Around 40 people are killed every year by bees in the United States, most of them allergic to the venom in the stings.
According to Eric Mussen, retired professor in the entomology department at UC Davis and bee expert, mitochondrial DNA can trace just the queen bee or the maternal line, but it does not specify who the dads were, meaning that the DNA can also have Africanized genes.
Plus, there were only seven bees that were tested. So it is not sure whether the attack came from Europeans honeybees or Africanized bees.
Image Source:David Suzuki