Killer Bees May Not Reach Tennessee

Tennesseans might not have to worry about an attack from so called “killer bees.”

The aggressive honeybees recently attacked four hikers in California. One was stung more than 100 times, and another broke his leg trying to escape.

Scientists think they were the aggressive Africanized bees, but University of Tennessee entomologist John Skinner says they may never come to Tennessee.

“Africanized bees to this date have not been found in Tennessee and we are uncertain whether they will ever get here or not,” Skinner says. “That is extremely difficult to predict.

“I could say we are pleased that they are not here because they are harder to manage.’

Skinner says European honeybees have been suffering form infestation of tiny mites that invade bee colonies, and africanized bees may be suffering the same problems.

“The mites are huge pests to bees around the world, this one reason they might not have moved eastward from Texas because when they came in that direction they ran into colonies of bees infested by mites.”

Skinner says Tennessee’s agriculture industry depends heavily on bees to pollinate crops and the Africanized bees help with that pollination.