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Thread: AHB Swarm??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    250

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    What a cute little swarm, my in-laws sent me the pics http://www.countryrubes.com/informat...omegarden.html except, two very experience beekeepers with AHB told me that their swarms are small. I’ve seen small swarms from hives that just kept swarming, before I learned about keeping swarms without requeening from our non-swarming hives (‘You are breeding those queens to swarm!!!’, but that’s another story). This seems tiny to me. We talked about taking it and requeening it with one of my extra queens (I’m ready to combine some towers for this raspberry flow) and I have some extra really good fall queens. I could bring one down, it would be 5 or 6 days before she would be installed.
    And then I saw the pictures, is this little hive worth it? I can’t bring a nuke to add to it, I’m spending a night in Mill Valley, it would be very difficult.
    And to top it off, my husband really brought this home to me, we are going on a cruise, leaving Monday morning, with my parents, who’ve planned this for a long time, “What if something goes wrong right before we leave?!’
    I have 3 zip in suits and lots of duck tape, I’m not that worried, I think it’s so small they would be the most docile at this point. The plan was to at night in the cistern, move the comb and kill the queen the next day, leave the queen with the beekeeper who can’t lift anything heavy, but has a friend who would install the queen after we leave and hope for the best.
    But it’s so small, the beekeeper lost all of his bees, this would be it. No extra’s to add to it. What do you think? The alternative is to kill it which would be sad.
    Thanks,
    Janet

    [size="1"][ May 19, 2006, 11:08 AM: Message edited by: 2rubes ][/size]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,889

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    If you intend to requeen it anyway, which I wouldn't, I'd just move them into box, let them settle down, remove the qneen and shake them in front of one of your hives.

    But if you WANT the queen (which I would) I'd give them a couple of frames of emerging brood with adhereing bees and see how they do.

    If they turn mean, I would kill the queen and requeen them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    250

    Post

    Thank you so much, that's a great plan.
    I'll let you know how it goes.
    J

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    143

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    When I lived in Arusha, Tanzania, we used to see swarms of AHB with only a teacup full of bees, but they still sting. If you think they are AHB KILL THEM KILL THEM ALL !!!!

    Alex King (K142)
    Alex King (K142), Melbourne, Oz. Beekeeper since 1962

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    250

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
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    2,264

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    Their swarm size, choice of residence and your location suggest AHB. I think the swarm is too small to keep. I would just kill them.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grass Valley, CA
    Posts
    250

    Big Grin

    Update. The hive was unbelievably gentle. My brother in-law took the top off the cistern and they bees hardly looked at us. He accidently tapped the container and nothing, not even an upset buzz. We did suit up, with lots of protest from my husband and in-law, but I still didn't want to take a chance.
    Easy to move. That night, we just picked up the cistrin and put it on a blanket covered board and pushed the blanket into the bottom holes. We taped the top holes and moved the whole thing onto the truck. The guys tied it on and we drove about 5 miles to the home of a beekeeper who had been recovering from a very badly torn leg muscle. We was absolutley delighted. He losts his hives to varroa a year ago and hadn't been up to starting all over again. He' ready now.
    We unloaded the cistren, pulled off the tape and blanket and he will be hiving it up today.
    Someone else brought him a booming swarm that had moved into an extra large birdhouse, also very gentle. We talked about removing comb and tying it onto the frames with cotton string and once he gets them both hived, he would be able to move frames to even them out. Remove string in two weeks. He has a friend who will help him. He knows to watch for 'hot' behavior and will requeen if necessary. He promised to search BeeSouce for past articles and keep us informed and measure that comb.
    He felt that Simi Valley hasn't been invaded yet by AHB. We talked about how gentle hives will suddenly get hot in 6 weeks when the hatchlings become field bees. He will be on the lookout for that.
    He's in So.California, lots of warm winters, so hopefully he will nurse that little hive into something special.
    Thank you everyone for all of your PM's, letters and phone calls. This forum is one of the best things to happen to beekeepers.
    Alhoa, I'll be back home in two weeks, but hope to have some sort of internet connection while gone.
    Janet

    [size="1"][ May 21, 2006, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: 2rubes ][/size]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
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    405

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    >He felt that Simi Valley hasn't been invaded yet by AHB.<

    Not to rain on anyone's parade, but i'm not sure that there is any indication to think this may be the case.

    The S.F. Valley has seen them and there is no geographical barrior to prevent them from "movin on up".

    I personally don't think it's the end of the world that we have to deal with them. It may not be joyous, but if one becomes frustrated, worn out or concerned, requeen. Get some good ferals from MB if you want to continue keeping in a more natural way. Maybe you can trade one for one?


    Just my own personal point of view, i know others will contend heatedly.-j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

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    AHB not the end of the world; we've had them here in TX for years. They are a pain; in fact i got into a REAL NASTY colony Saturday trying to do a removal. Only the second one in 2 years though. Ordered my Golden Bee suit today for peace of mind.

    Lew

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    942

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    >AHB not the end of the world

    Dr. David DeJong (one of the top AHB experts) gave a brief on AHB at UGA's beekeeping institute this past weekend and that was essentially his main point. When South American beekeepers were asked to rate problems with AHB in the 70's, stinging was at the top of the list. As years passed, stinging moved down the list. It is now no longer given as a major issue. The main reason is that beekeepers have learned how to work them (and learned how to manage decent honey yields from them). If you go into them like you would a hive of Italians, they'll go nuts as will any neighboring colonies. But if you remove the cover a certain way, remove frames a certain way, etc. he claims they're usually not too bad.

    A second point he made is that as they move further from the equator, the calmer they become (relatively speaking). They have done experiments where they've swapped queens between equatorial regions and areas further south. Without fail, their progeny was approximately 10 times more likely to sting when located near the equator.

    And of course, they don't have any of the disease or mite problems that the European bees have.

    Nevertheless, I think I'll pass. But predictions are that there will be big money in AHB swarm removal.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

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    What I've found is that if I approach an "unknown colony/swarm" always have the bee jacket on. May come after you 25-30 feet away or wait till you get close & then attack. The one Saturday seemed normal but got a little excited when I sprayed the sugar water (seems to me it works better than smoke lots of the time). Got more excited when I started the bee vac (was in an abandioned farm house) & didn't seem to be able vacuum enough bees to "slow them down"; just kept pouring out of the hole in the wall! Decided to try pulling a board & that really riled them up; never got the board off; hundreds of stingers embedded in my gloves; many minor stings thru my jeans & my bee jacket so I quit while I was ahead. Got in the truck; lotsa bees followed me; cranked up the air conditioner to high fan & in 2-3 minutes they were all on the windows & I lowered them a bit & out they went. Good riddance!

    Lew

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    chatsworth, calif usa
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    405

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    Lew and Steve-

    Happy to hear you put your views out there. I deleted half of my original response for fear most out there would jump down my gullet.

    AHB are here and we aren't able to put our heads in the sand. Anyone who learns that i'm into bees always asks about them. They always ask about "those killer bees". I've been exposed to them far more over the air than ever on the ground.

    They are a pain, no arguement. I have a similar tale to Lew's, all except there are no farmhouses here and i don't have air in my truck, and my veil leaked catastrophically. I'm still here and lovin' bees. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I am aware that some have not survived their encounters with AHB. The situation is often the result of some major disturbance of a colony that has been in place for some time. Something like "Those bees have been in the wall for years. When those kids started throwing rocks at them, they went crazy."

    Maybe for years they were feral Italians and then they got highjacked by a band of AHB. I've heard they will do that, take over an existing colony.

    Anyway, i ramble. Point is, they will need to be delt with from time to time and who better than beekeepers? Pest control companies with the mind-set to kill any honeybee because it "probably IS AHB". I hear way too much of that. Or the homeowner with the can of Raid?!

    End of rant. More later, i'm sure. Thanks for listenin'.-j
    My Mom's other kids are smarter than me, but i'm not nearly as nice.

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