Date: June 19, 2015
Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Summary: Throughout the past two decades, researchers have seen barn owl populations in the Everglades Agricultural Area, centered around Belle Glade, expand from mere dozens to more than 400 nesting pairs. But these beneficial raptors, currently listed as a threatened species, are now being threatened by Africanized honey bees.
Swarming as frequently as eight times per year, the invasive bees have been taking over nesting boxes Raid and students have built for the owls, using them as hives, and displacing or even killing the desired raptors.
"In 20 years, we've never had any problems with any other critters moving into our boxes," said Raid, a plant pathologist for UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "But the Africanized honey bees became established in 2005 and are spreading throughout the peninsula of Florida."