Enthusiasts vs industry in introducing exotics

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Sun Aug 1 07:37:01 EDT 1999

It's interesting to hear different views about the introductions. Were 
they due to "the establishment" or "individual enthusiasts". The same 
controversy could exist over the introduction of the Africanized bees to 
the New World. 

When I visited Manaus in 1975, Dr. Warwick Kerr proudly gave me his side 
of the story.  As a bee geneticist, he was convinced that there was 
beneficial potential in the African stock (unfortunately a disgruntled 
technician released his African bees).  

Dr. Kerr could easily be described (and I'm sure would have accepted the 
description) as an "enthusiast" rather than an "industry" or 
"government" entity. Although he was employed by a State university, the 
introduction was clearly individual initiative.  

The day before I met him, he had given HIS story to a Brazilian media, 
for by that time the "killer" bees were already a widespread problem in 

As a postscript, I heard some years ago that Mexican Bee Keepers 
actually preferred the Africanized bees once they learned how to handle 
them safely.  The media obviously thrives on the advancing front of the 
Killer Bees (the advancing front of Dengue, probably more of a killer, 
does not get the same attention.  

M. Gochfeld

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