BAKERSFIELD — A seventh colony of Africanized bees has been destroyed in the Bakersfield area outside a quarantine zone designed to prevent the bees from spreading, state officials reported Friday.
The Department of Food and Agriculture said tests confirmed Friday that a wild swarm of bees found and destroyed on Sept. 6 at a Kern County oil field had Africanized bee characteristics.
The Africanized bees, far more aggressive than domestic bees, were first discovered near Bakersfield in late June--the first colonization of the bees in the United States.
The latest discovery occurred in an oil pipe 13 miles northeast of Bakersfield and 38 miles east of the 462-square-mile quarantine zone established to prevent commercial beekeepers from taking their colonies outside the area without having them certified as being free of Africanized bees.
Gera Curry, a spokesman for the department in Sacramento, said Africanized Bee Project workers have been destroying wild bee swarms in the area since the initial discovery. The dead bees are tested to determine if they are the Africanized variety.
Curry said researchers testing the bees in the latest find said the bees showed signs of genetic dilution through matings with domestic bees. Experts believe the vicious characteristics of Africanized bees will be gradually eliminated through matings.
Curry said workers have nearly completed the job of sampling all 14,000 commercial honeybee colonies in the area for signs of Africanized bees.