Usurpation -What is it and why it is important to understand

It is January here in Texas and today the temperature is 65(F). As I walked through the apiary, I noticed something unusual. There was a group of bees down on concrete block I use to hold up my hive stand, and there was a group of bees fighting on the landing board of the hive above. I recognized what was going on. It is a unique behavior of African Bees called Usurpation.

Usurpation is a form of “reproductive parasitism”. This is where a small group of African bees with a queen invade another hive, kill that queen, and take over the hive.

If you live in the southern USA, Central America, or South America, then this is a behavior you need to be familiar with. You may have a good hive of some gentle European bees, the hive gets usurped, and now in less than 30 days, you have emerging African or at least Africanized stock.

Below is a link of a study done in Arizona regarding seasonal variations of this behavior if you have further interest, I recommend reading it. It is a good study.




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