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The Alien Species: Fire Ants and Killer Bees Essay Sample

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The Alien Species: Fire Ants and Killer Bees Essay Sample

            The planet earth is not only the home of human beings but it also served as a niche to numerous and various forms of life. Different species interact within the earth, some of them are found to be beneficial while others tends to be harmful and destructive. These characteristics are exemplified by Fire Ants and Killer Bees.

Fire Ants

            Fire ants or Solenopsis Invicta are imported red ants that were accidentally loaded in the boats together with the South American cargo. The ants arrived in North America specifically in Monte, Alabama during the 1930s or 1940s. By the 1950s it underwent an “irruption” that ecologist describes as an explosive rise in population that caused it to spread to more than 20 million acres of land by the end of the decade. The increase in its population is attributed to human activities because during that time North America is opening its borders in order to facilitate trade with South America. This is considered as one of the causes of the red ants’ growth in number (Buhs, 2004).

            Sixty five million years ago, the genus Solenopsis existed in the tropics of South America. Solenopsis is a group of about two hundred species of ants and a small amount of them are fire ants. As time goes by, this group evolved into a variety of forms and one of these ants developed a potent sting, which is why it is called as “fire ants”.

            Solenopsis Invicta has been harmful to other species as well as to human activities. Fire ants create large earthen mounds that interfere with tractors especially when digging large amount of land for infrastructures or buildings. They also destroy crops and inflict harm to other species. Fire ants attacked wildlife and even domestic animals. But it is more dangerous because of its threat to human beings as they stung painfully and in rare incidents even killing people (Buhs, 2004).

            As early as 1957 there have been efforts to eradicate these fire ants. The Plant Pest Control Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) attempted to solve the problem by spraying chemical insecticides. However, as the campaign progressed the insecticides were not only killing fire ants but also the wildlife. At present, there are still efforts in eradicating these ants. There are programs that informed and educate the people on how to prevent being attacked by it as well as the necessary steps to do if ever they get stung (Buhs, 2004).

Killer Bees

            Killer bees also known as Africanized bees look the same as common Honey Bees. However, there are still two distinct physical appearances that separate the two that can only be seen by studying their DNA and enzymes. In 1956, in order to increase the production of honey, some colonies of African Honey Bees were brought to Brazil with the plan of cross-breeding them with the local population. During an experiment at the south of Sao Paulo, twenty-six African queen bees together with numerous European bees escaped the laboratory, which caused hybrid population of bees in Europe. They eventually spread northward in South America, Central America, and eastern of Mexico. During the year 1990, these killer bees found its way in southern Texas, and then in Arizona by 1993, and all the way to California in 1995 (Department of Systematic Biology, n.d.).

            Killer Bees are very dangerous as they can attack in more numbers as compared to European Honey Bees. The number of casualties amounted to about 1,000 humans as they arrived in Brazil. These victims suffered ten times as many stings compared to the European bees. They also react more to disturbances and they can chase a person as far as a quarter of a mile. These bees also have effects on the honey industry. The interbred of European and Africanized bees may have different pollination efforts. They are also more aggressive, easily abandon their nest, and they cannot survive cold climate. Furthermore, aggressive bees might force beekeepers to discontinue their business, which would affect the production of honey across the continent (Department of Systematic Biology, n.d.).

            The problem of killer bees in the United States is being addressed by numerous authorities. Two primary solutions have been devised in order to prevent the continuous damage of these Killer bees. The first is named “drone-flooding” that requires having large numbers of common Honey Bees that are originally from Europe to dominate the mating areas of commercially-reared queen bees. The second solution is by replacing the queen of the colony so that it can be assured that it is a European Honey Bee and that it will mate with its same kind (Department of Systematic Biology, n.d.).

            Fire Ants and Killer Bees are examples of alien species that have been produced through their development and interbreeding. This kind of life forms has its unique characteristics but these traits are affecting and endangering other living things on Earth. Their adverse effects are so serious that it affect the livelihood of human beings and even threaten their very lives.

References

Buhs, J. B. (2004). The Fire Ant Wars: Nature, Science, and Public Policy in Twentieth-Century

            America. University of Chicago Press.

Department of Systematic Biology. (n.d.) “Killer Bees”. National Museum of Natural History.

            Retrieved 23 May 2008, from www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/killbee.htm.

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