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Poems and Thoughts    by Frank Maurer

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II. Human-caused Evolutionary Changes.
Aggressive African Bees/Gentle European Bees.

The African honeybee has been selected for aggressiveness
Because of intense predation, including by humans,
Who, in spite of many stings, desire the sweet honey
And would merely plunder a hive, thus selecting for ever-more aggressive bees.
This bee was never domesticated by humans.
Wild hives and managed hives are the same bee, populations shifting back and forth.
Also it is thought that the African honeybee race is so aggressive
Because it evolved in an arid environment, sources of nectar and pollen being scarce.
Natural selection thus favored aggressive colonies which protected their food source
And their hives from predators and robber bees from other colonies.

Bee keeping is the art of caring for and managing colonies.
This is what occurred with the European honeybee--over centuries--
Continually selecting for gentler and gentler queens.
The whole colony was then basically selected for gentleness.
Thus there are more than 20 honeybee races in Europe, America, and Asia,
But only two are found in South Africa.
Beekeeping with the African honeybee does occur with some people,
Especially European transplants.
But, as I can attest, heavy clothing and patience are necessities,
And the result from this very productive producer is rewarding.

Frank Maurer 14 July 2023 1800 Hours.

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