New swarms of Africanized "killer" bees are expected to cross into Texas from Mexico as soon as next month, officials said.
The first and only confirmed invasion of the bees into the United States was discovered Oct. 15. A pioneer swarm of 3,000 bees was caught and destroyed near the border city of Hidalgo in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.That was at the end of the fall swarming season, but officials in Mexico reported Africanized honey bee movement as recently as December. The spring swarming season begins in March as flowers bloom and provide the pollen bees use for energy.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see another detection (in Texas) next month or in April," Elba Quintero said Tuesday. She manages the Texas Africanized Honey Bee program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Thirty-two swarms of the bees were trapped in Mexico in December along a 20-mile stretch of the San Fernando River, about 70 miles south of the border.
Jerry Newton of Mission, president of the Valley Beekeepers Association, said members of his organization plan to mark their queens and check hives regularly to ensure that Africanized queens have not invaded.