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Title: Feral honey bees in pine forest landscapes of East Texas
Authors: Coulson, Robert N.
Pinto, M. Alice
Tchakerian, Maria D.
Baum, Kristen A.
Rubink, William L.
Johnston, J. Spencer
Keywords: Honey bees
Landscape ecology
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: US-IALE
Citation: Coulson, R.N.; Pinto, M. Alice; Tchakerian, M.D.; Baum, K.; Rubink, W.L.; Johnston, J.S. (2004) - Feral honey bees in pine forest landscapes of East Texas. In The 19th Annual Symposium International Association for Landscape Ecology United States Regional Association. Las Vegas
Abstract: The goal of this study was to investigate the diversity of feral honey bee races in pine forest landscapes of east Texas, subsequent to immigration of Africanized honey bees, Apis mellifera scutellata. The specific objectives were (i) to assess the immigration of A. m. scutellata into east Texas pine forest landscapes and (ii) to evaluate the suitability of the pine forest landscape to feral honey bees. This mesoscale landscape study was conducted on the Sam Houston National Forest in east Texas. Swarm traps and aerial pitfall traps were used to monitor feral honey bees. Spatial databases were used to evaluate suitability of the pine forest landscape for honey bees. Scoring mitochondrial DNA type (mitotypes), we found representatives of A. mellifera scutellata, eastern European, western European, and A. mellifera lamarckii races in pine forest landscapes of east Texas. The significant conclusions that follow from this evaluation are (i) honey bees are a ubiquitous component of the pine forest landscape in east Texas, (ii) mitotype diversity persists in the presence of significant immigration of A. m. scutellata, and (iii) A. m. scutellata, is an added element of the mitotype diversity in the landscape. The landscape structure in 1256 ha units surrounding 6 swarms of honey bees captured in swarm traps was examined. The metrics used to characterize the kind, number, size, shape, and configuration of elements forming the landscape, defined a heterogeneous environment for honey bees that included food and habitat resources needed for survival, growth, and reproduction.
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