ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Killer Bees

The article describing the impending invasion of Africanized bees (The Scientist, March 20, 1989, page 14) suggested that the level of funding of research in this area was inappropriately low, considering the clear threat to animal (including human) life and agriculture. However, do we need a huge budget so that we can decipher the genomes of the variants of Apis mellifera? I propose that the problem is simply to eliminate Africanized bees, not to “understand” them. With this much

Raymond Chen

The article describing the impending invasion of Africanized bees (The Scientist, March 20, 1989, page 14) suggested that the level of funding of research in this area was inappropriately low, considering the clear threat to animal (including human) life and agriculture. However, do we need a huge budget so that we can decipher the genomes of the variants of Apis mellifera? I propose that the problem is simply to eliminate Africanized bees, not to “understand” them. With this much narrower goal of research, the government could perhaps most cost-effectively approach this problem by making grants to chemical companies to develop suitable lures and pesticides in much the same way that support is given to drug companies to produce "orphan" drugs for diseases without great market potential.

Because the Africanized bees have not yet reached U.S. borders, there is little financial incentive to develop a product to control them....

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT