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4 yr old girl finds MULTIPLE colonies of stingless bees, thought to have died in the US 70 years ago

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A four-year-old girl in California has discovered two colonies of stingless bees, which were thought to have disappeared in the US 70 years ago.

Annika Arnout made the remarkable discovery at a location she declined to disclose, in an effort to keep the bees safe in her ‘secret place’. CBS News reports.

The stingless bees, which live in Brazil and are significantly smaller than a honeybee, were brought to the US in the 1950s in a failed attempt to increase the size of fruit and vegetable crops.

A 4-year-old girl, Annika Arnout, has discovered two colonies of stingless bees, believed to have disappeared in the US 70 years ago

Arnout found the stingless bees in a secret location, which she calls her 'special place'

Arnout found the stingless bees in a secret location, which she calls her ‘special place’

dr. Martin Hauser, a senior insect biosystematist with the California Department of Food and Agriculture who obtained specimens of the discovery, said the U.S. government contacted a Brazilian researcher decades ago to help pollinate crops across the country.

‘He [the Brazilian researcher] sent them to Gainesville, Florida, Logan, Utah, and Davis and Palo Alto in the 1950s,” Hauser said. “And he said all the bees died within a year.”

“They didn’t like the cold weather in Utah. They couldn’t compete in Florida,” he added.

The bees — which have stingers despite their name, though they can’t be used for defense — were also sent to Stanford professor Dr. George Shafer for further analysis.

Stingless bees (bottom) generally live in Brazil and are significantly smaller than a honeybee (top)

Stingless bees (bottom) generally live in Brazil and are significantly smaller than a honeybee (top)

The experts are confident that these bees are descendants of those brought to the US in the mid-20th century, as Hauser admitted he had never heard of them until 20 years ago.

He received a request from a Palo Alto pest controller, Richard Schmidt, who sent them to the Santa Clara County Agriculture Department for further investigation.

“I hadn’t seen them before,” Schmidt told the news channel.

“They didn’t know what they were. And so they sent it to the state.”

There are over 300 species of stingless bees in Brazil, including this unnamed species, which was first described in 1900 by a German researcher.

Some have suggested that the bees are known as ‘Annika’s Bees’ in honor of Arnout.

About 20 percent of the neotropical stingless bees known to science are found in Brazil, the vast majority of which are capable of producing honey, according to one study 2019.

About 20 percent of the neotropical stingless bees known to science are found in Brazil.  (A) Nannotrigona testaceicornis;  (B) Tetragonisca angustula;  (C) Scaptotrigona sp.;  (D) Melipona rufiventris;  (E) Melipona quadrifasciata

About 20 percent of the neotropical stingless bees known to science are found in Brazil. (A) Nannotrigona testaceicornis; (B) Tetragonisca angustula; (C) Scaptotrigona sp.; (D) Melipona rufiventris; (E) Melipona quadrifasciata

In 2008, scientists found that stingless bees have

In 2008, scientists found that stingless bees have “cultural significance” to the Enawene-Nawe tribe of western Brazil, citing 48 species referenced by the tribe.

In 2008, scientists found that stingless bees have “cultural significance” to the Enawene-Nawe tribe of western Brazil, citing 48 species referenced by the tribe.

In July 2020, scientists discovered that some species of stingless bees make honeycombs that resemble the molecular structure of crystals.

It is likely that there are many more species to be discovered, according to a 2014 study.

Photos of the stingless bees that Arnout discovered were posted to iNaturalist by her caretaker, biologist Targe Lindsey.

dr. Hauser added that he was “very impressed” that Annika found two colonies, while “all scientists have found none.”

When he met her, he donated an insect book which he wrote: “To Annika, for many more discoveries.”

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