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Thread: AHB In Arkansas

  1. #1
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    Mar 2005
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    I just came back from the local beekeeper's meeting in Damascus (my annual pilgrimage to pay my dues). The State Plant Board Bee Specialist, Ed Levy, was there to announce to the group that a confirmed swarm had been caught in southwest Arkansas. The information was to be the topic of the 10:00 PM newscasts. His reason for attending the meeting was to prepare us to disseminate correct information to people who will ask questions.
    His main concern was that ordinances would be passed by cities that would prohibit keeping bees inside the city limits.
    As he explained it, if European bees are denied access, AHB would fill the void. The best thing for the cities would be to allow European bees to be kept and deny feral populations of AHB.
    Another bombshell for me is that AHB has adapted to cooler climates. I have to admit to dismissing ever having to deal with them because of projections based on what they were doing in Argentina. They are going further south there, too, and going higher in elevation.
    He is saying that at the present time, they expect them to reach northern Missouri.
    He also stated that they are in the Mobile, Alabama area and have been found in Florida, too.
    Ed also said that they move north at the rate of 300 miles a year.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  2. #2
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    tulsa, ok usa
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    Did they do the DNA test?
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  3. #3
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    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    I never thought of SW Arkansas as a 'cooler climate'.

  4. #4
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    Magnet-man,
    Yes. They did the DNA test at U of A. They also had several suspect swarms near Ft Smith. They hadn't gotten the results from them as of last night.
    They also sent some samples to Tucson.

    Ross,
    I figured they would come as far north as southern Arkansas. I figured a fluctuation depending on the winter. Ed says they expect them to keep going to northern Missouri. I never thought they would go that far north.
    Another interesting development is passing a law that all queens have to be marked and have breeding papers to verify what sub-species of drone the queen mated with. Any unmarked queen would be done away with. His department is recommending requeening spring and fall.
    On a side note, earlier in the day, I was talking to one of my customers about bees, when he mentioned one of his hunting partners dispatching a large red wasp nest using warm soapy water. I had never heard of this method. Ed also said that is the way they kill the swarms in their bait traps.
    Ed also said they have found European Queens with 100% AHB drone matings.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  5. #5
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Texas used to quarantine, but they got over it. It really isn't all that hard to manage, especially in marginal areas. I would fight the queen laws. That would mean no open breeding and no supercedure.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
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    waco, tx
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    I'm in the middle of what used to be the quarrantined area of TX & there's not much of a problem. The local bee club (maybe all of TX; I'm too new to bees to know) feel that our bees will keep the gene pool diluted enough to prevent big problems. I had a hot hive; got into a pretty hot swarm coupla days ago. requeening solves the problem quickly. By FAR most bees real gentle here tho; africanized been around here for what 15-20 years now? I paniced when the word came down that the "killer bees were in TX" & that's why I sold the hives & equipment I had & am just now getting back in!

    Lew in Waco, TX

  7. #7
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    Whitefield, Maine USA
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    >The best thing for the cities would be to allow European bees to be kept and deny feral populations of AHB.

    LOL! I believe "denying" feral populations as a method of controlling the spread of AHB has been tried. Failed miserably if I recall...

    I just finished reading a book called "Killer Bees- The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas" by Markl L.Winston. Despite the sensational title, it was a well written and informative book.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  8. #8
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    > I believe "denying" feral populations as a
    > method of controlling the spread of AHB has
    > been tried.

    It was tried at a narrow point in Central America.
    The idea was to create a "band" of EHB that would
    "dilute" the AHB genetics, and fill the niche.

    The AHB swarms simply flew over the entire area,
    and established their nests on the northern side
    of the "barrier".

    The problem with "banning beekeeping" as a reaction
    to the spread of AHB is that one loses the
    best assets one could have - beekeepers who
    have some (perhaps all) of the skills required
    to make the initial judgment as to how "hot"
    a swarm is, and know how to approach a swarm
    without getting anyone hurt. If the local
    government tells me I can't keep bees, how
    willing would I be to lift a finger to help
    them deal with a possibly africanized swarm?

    To be honest, you'd need a LOT of beekeepers
    with a LOT of hives to have any impact on the
    SHB population. There are hundreds of places
    for a swarm to set up shop in every cluster of
    20 houses, and no matter what beekeepers do,
    those places will all still be available unless
    swarms are encouraged, and none are collected
    by beekeepers.

    The trick is for beekeepers to introduce
    themselves to the local fire department
    and police, and hand out their phone numbers.

    The first time they call you to check out
    a swarm insures that you now have some solid
    support from both the fire chief and the
    police chief, who can be expected to allow
    you (or better yet, the state apiarist)
    a fair hearing in front of the city fathers
    on why "banning beekeeping" would do nothing
    of value, and would eliminate the very
    expertise they need to protect the civilian
    population. Understand that cops and firemen
    have enough problems, and don't want to deal
    with bees.

    I make some decent money removing NON-AHB
    swarms based upon police/fire referrals,
    and I get a flat $100 per call from the city
    power and water folks and the cable-TV company.

    Power/water/cable get a lot of wasp nests
    in equipment boxes, and the water company
    can get yellowjackets in underground water
    meter enclosures, so they pay the same fee
    for any/all buzzing, stinging insect. Some
    wasp nests can be removed and relocated,
    but most times, wasps and yellowjackets get
    the soapy water treatment.

  9. #9
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    It was tried at a narrow point in Central America. The idea was to create a "band" of EHB that would "dilute" the AHB genetics, and fill the niche.

    The AHB swarms simply flew over the entire area,
    and established their nests on the northern side
    of the "barrier".


    I understand that they bred their way thru the zone. Diluting the AHB can never happen because, although the two bees a similar enough to interbreed. Africanized queens hatch sooner than European queens do. And she, as queens do will kill any unborn queens, in this case the slower developing European queens, ending that genetic line.

    Perhaps the reason Africanized bees have a shorter development time because they average 4.8 mm cell. The small cell folks report a quicker development in their bees. Who knows, maybe a way to control the AHB invasion is to convert all European honeybees to small cell.

  10. #10
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    Ed also said they have found European Queens with 100% AHB drone matings.

    This would interesting if one were to draw a comparison based on sized bee. AHB averaging 4.8 mm cell size are essentially small cell bees. Some of the small cellers out there have reported that smaller drones are zippier and more agile in flight, enabling them the out compete the larger more sluggish drones. Could this report from Ed of 100% drone matings be suggesting that this is observation in fact true, showing itself in the natural selection process where real life competition rules?

  11. #11
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    I never thought of SW Arkansas as a 'cooler climate'.

    Me either

  12. #12
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    If someone knows of any scientific papers on the DNA test for AHB I would love to see one. I hear newspapers refer to it, but I don't see any scientific papers refering to it. I don't buy much of what the newspapers say. [img]smile.gif[/img] I wonder if there really IS a DNA test for AHB?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Mar 2005
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    Michael,
    I don't know first hand but through Ed's comments.
    He said it takes a couple of hours to do the DNA test compared to the diminsion comparison tests that they normally do with their laptops.
    Write a note to the University of Arkansas and ask. That's where Ed told us they got their results from.
    Ed Levy works for the Arkansas Plant Board. I'm sure he could help you satisfy your quest for knowledge.
    He made another statement that goes with your previous post. Apis Melifaria's DNA has been 100% mapped. There was a little discussion about modifying DNA which I missed while being distracted by my grandson.
    Jon
    Jon, N6VC/5

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