Origin of Honey Bee Species

by Kathy
(San Francisco)

Where and when were the different species of honeybees (Western European honeybees and Africanized honeybees) bred?



Kathy, I'm not sure if this will answer what you're asking, but I'll give it a try.

The different subspecies of honey bees evolved long ago. According to the The Hive and the Honey Bee, fossils found in Africa show that bees identical to modern day African bees existed at least 100,000 years ago. Similarly, fossils found in Europe show that European bees in modern form have been around for a long time.

As you may know, honey bees are not native to the Americas, and different races of European honey bees (originating from different geographical locations) have been imported throughout the years.

Black/brown bees of German and Dutch origin were imported in large numbers during the early colonization of America. Later, Italian and Carniolan bees were imported in large numbers, and gradually replaced the black bees in popularity.

The Carniolan and Italian bees remain the most popular in America, and throughout much of the world.

The Africanized bee in the Americas results from the importation and accidental release of a few African queens in Brazil in 1956. As these bees spread throughout South and Central America, and now parts of North America, they have interbred with European bees, creating the hybrid now known as the Africanized bee.

Hope this answered your question!

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