Tracking an Ill-Tempered Invader

Scientists hunt for killer bees in California

In helmets, veils and heavy-gauge cotton coveralls, they trudged across the cracked earth of the San Joaquin Valley seeking the killers. Some of the searchers took to the air, combing an area of 400 sq. mi. by helicopter. The enemy sought by the scientific task force was as dangerous as it was tiny: ill-tempered, Africanized killer bees that may have landed in central California, jeopardizing crops and perhaps lives.

After the discovery in June of a killer colony in an oil field in south-central California, the state was buzzing with talk of the aggressive bees, which tend to attack humans and...

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