I have Googled, I have read a ton, I have learned that Africanized honeybees were found in Lafayette, the other side of the San Francisco Bay from here, for the first time just last month. Oh joy.
But I still didn’t find anything explaining this, and the beekeeper friend who happened to drop by tonight hadn’t ever heard of such a thing either. So here goes.
The last few days I’ve found dead honeybees outside my door to the patio, eight or ten or so. When most of them disappeared I figured the Bewick’s wrens had hit the jackpot–I’ve seen them eat spiders.
This afternoon I saw a single honeybee fly in to where the others had died and, curious, I stopped what I was doing and walked over to my side of the glass to watch.
It looked like it was attacking another honeybee! I missed the first part so I don’t know when the other got there but the aggressive one was not letting it up, it clearly seemed to be trying to subdue it till finally the other one seemed to lie still, but the aggressive one was still at it. Finally–and this is what is really weird–it *picked it up and flew off with it*! I saw its feet holding onto the other’s dangling abdomen, and if he left any parts behind I missed it.
Now, a ready queen will fly up in the air once to a waiting congregation of drones prepared to mate with her for her to collect a lifetime supply of sperm, but this was on the ground and a one-on-one fight.
Reading, it seems the flight patterns of Africanized bees are more like yellow jackets than European honeybees, jerky and faster, not the slow, gentle whistling-a-tune stroll of our familiar honeybee. Yup. But this was no yellow jacket.
I may be wrong (and please tell me if I am!), but I think I just saw my first Africanized one. Right at my back door.
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