Coexistence of Feral Africanized and European Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apidae) on St. Croix Island
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The first evaluation of the feral population of honey bees on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands is performed. Since Africanized bees had been reported in 1994, we expected that, as in the neighboring island of Puerto Rico, the feral population of St. Croix would be strongly Africanized. We sampled worker bees of 13 colonies. Using a molecular technique that distinguishes European from Africanized bees we found that nine sampled colonies were Africanized and four were European by maternal descent. The lack of a complete genetic sweep by Africanized bees contrasts greatly with the population in Puerto Rico and populations studied in the mainland. Even though the presence of European bees on the island may be due to input from the apicultural sector, it is highly likely that other factors, such as island climate, the lack of a continuous influx of Africanized bees, and the absence of Varroa mites, a common pest of European bees has allowed their survival.