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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Kansas
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    A while back I learned of a couple feral hives in my area and was thinking about learning where they are so I could attempt to capture them. But during my research I was given the answer. The answer is NO I should NOT take them or bother them.

    Well, I will set out a box for the chance to taking a swarm next spring but that's as far as My conscience will allow me to go.

    I know where the mother hive is now so I can set a box out close to them.

    I feel better now that I've made the decision to leave them. If they are strong and resistant to mites, then my own bees will be strengtened. I have a mix of italians and blacks this year....


  2. #2
    Jason G in Tennessee Guest

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    What kind of research has led you to feel this way?
    Not that I disagree, but just wondering.
    Jason

  3. #3
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    Sounds good Daisy. We need more feral hives. Have you looked into where you are planning on putting your swarm trap.

    BB

  4. #4
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    Jul 2003
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    Kansas
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    Jason, It's become my personal conviction that hunting down feral colonies in order to destroy and capture it's occupants is against my conscience. Having my bees close to them could benefit my bees or cause them harm. My bees could weaken their ability to survive. I dunno.

    Taking them from where they've been for possibly years is not the responsible thing for me to do IMO.


    Bob, what do you suggest?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

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    If they are in somebody's wall or near human activity it is my personal conviction that removing them and setting them up in a managed hive is the best way to ensure the preservation of their genetic material.

    The only way to find out whether they are in somebody's wall or near human activity is to hunt them down.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    1,966

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    Daisy,
    Someone has to say that these bees may be a source of disease or new mites when yours are manageable. I live in a city and I wanted to keep a few nucs here more or less to store queens. I had 2 going, (1 real well) when I left for 5 weeks. When I came back both were dead. The stronger one had a deep pile of bees in the bottom of the hive. The only thing that makes sense is that another hive, possibly feral, robbed them out when I was gone. I've been putting bait in the form of honey out so that I can track them. I'm too late but I have seen one lonely bee at times sniffing about. Now I'm concerned about raising any new queens here. Point being that "feral" may not equal superior, and they may have potential for harm. Some people think that all the ferals died out and what one finds these days is the result of our domestic bees swarming. I lost 4 of 20 hives this year to AFB. No idea where it came from.
    Sorry to be negative. I actually built up a small apiary 55 years ago from all feral swarms.

    Dickm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    McGraw,NY,USA
    Posts
    580

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    Daisy...I agree feral bees can be great given a chance to survive and recieve the meds they might need to live ..Two years ago I got a bee call that a swarm was on the side of a house ...well that wasnt the case they were on the outside of the second story wall...I was able to work from a roof but they were in fact living in the wall of the house ...so I thinned them out (didnt open the wall ) and got into a bit of a mess bc as I swept them into my box the wall appereared to have bees flowing like water out of it and onto me ...getting stung continually I backed up to move away and the owner warned me the roof was bas in places I might go thru it ? hold tightly to my box of bees I have visions of that happening ... once they settled down I took the bees and my battered body to me truck and went home ... sat the box on the lawn and told me wife of the event ...she looked at then bees and told me they smell badly ...thinking AFB I killed them in the box and burnt the box...havent returned to the house but suspect they are still mixing with any bees in that area ? So it boils down to can you make thier live better or leave them to natures will ? not much help huh ...Rick

  8. #8
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    Hi Daisy,

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooer. Been working late for the last few days.

    First I'd like to ask dickem if the bees may have been poisoned? I had a hive go through the same thing earler this year and it turned out to be the guy next door spraying the garden!

    Daisy, I,ve found that bees will pick a area or spot, and swarms will return again and again. The hard part is finding the area or making one yourself. Swarm lures can help....better than nothing. Using old drawn foundation helps too. Some people like to use nuc boxes for swarm traps but I've had better luck with standard deeps. Also put 4 or 5 around where the feral hive is located. Swarms will only go 1/2 mile max. away from the "mother" hive. Remember the more traps you set out the better the chance. The books say 10 to 12 ft off the ground, I'd use a wider range from 6 to 12ft and reduce the entrance. Once you've got a swarm remove it ASAP, and put another trap in it's place quickly. You can catch 2 or 3 swarms a year if you can find a spot they like.

    BB

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    1,966

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    Billy Bob,
    I considered the poison aspect and of course I don't know. There was no spraying for mosquitos and the near neighbors did no spraying. The adult bees were dead inside the hive and the combs were filled with tiny maggots. They (the bees) were inches deep. I didn't think of robbing until I saw a few bees around weeks later. I'm chalking it up to mystery. Just glad it didn't happen in the real bee-yard.

    Dickm

  10. #10
    BILLY BOB Guest

    Post

    Wow,maggots?

    Are you sure it wasn't small hive beatles? Just a thought. Was the hive very weak? Even the nucs I've had in the past could defend the hive.


    ------------------
    BB

    The first step in house breaking a dog, is letting the dog in the house.

    [This message has been edited by BILLY BOB (edited October 24, 2003).]

  11. #11
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    Another thought! What time of year was it? If it was during any type of flow, it's hard to think they were robbed out like that.

    ------------------
    BB

    The first step in house breaking a dog, is letting the dog in the house.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
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    971

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    How about wax moth larvae?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    It was between Aug 15 and Sept 20, pretty bleak times for a honey flow.It was an isolated nuc. I think we have a few of these **** beetles in the other end of the state but not many. There was some dead brood and that's what the maggots were in. Natures way I thought. They were like tiny wires in the mass. 4 of them would fit in one cell. I thought wax moths were bigger, more like grubs. We've been hearing of sudden die-offs in our club. We meet next week and I'll hear more. I don't know how long they were dead but it could have been a month! I assume something would show up and eat the mess. I think it was just the clean up crew and not the cause of the die off. It was as strong as a 2 frame nuc could be.

    Dickm

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
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    971

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    Wax moth larvae can be that small. They can range in color from white to a meal color. I am 90% certain that is what you observed. I'd say 100% but you know sometimes you end up putting your foot in your mouth :> )

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    Thanks Clay,
    Someone, somewhere, said that the wax moth is natures way of burning for AFB. They make the combs unuseable and curtail it's spread.
    (I'm thinking feral colonies)

    Dickm

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Spruce Pine, North Carolina
    Posts
    21

    Question

    Hi Folks,
    Here's just a thought.
    What if,( in the 80s when the mites moved in)most of the feral bee population was wiped out along with the unprotected domestic bees? What if the "Feral" bees we find today are in fact colonys that have swarmed from domestic hives and have occupied these old bee trees? My swarms head for the woods most of the time and I know of only one beekeeper within five miles of me. They have to go somewhere.

    How can you tell for sure?

    Jack


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,729

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    It's pretty easy to tell a recent swarm from a domestic hive from bees that have been in the wild for some time. The real feral ones are noticably smaller. The recent escapees are the size of the ones most people have in their hives.

    Odds are if you find them small they have survived without treatment for several years at least.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

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    I know of 6 feral hives [maybe 7] with in 35 miles of my home that I am going to put out bait hives next spring to try to capture some more next year. I got 2 nucs from 2 of these locations this year. Hope to get them through the winter in good shape.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Kansas
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    Hi Dickm, I'm so sorry about not answering more on this string. I've been busy and that means I get strung out all over the place.

    I think I understand where you're coming from and a similar problem could exist among my own hives, or hives of other beekeepers in the area. But for whatever reason, I won't be taking them down. I hope my bees aren't negatively affected, but again, I think this could go both ways.... IMHO. Naa, I didn't think your message was negative, It's a way to view it.




    And Rick, I'm a newbie. LOL What a copout huh? I'm not willing to go where they are and inspect them. I guess preparing for the worse and hoping for the best will have to be my beekeeping moto.

    Thanks for the story. We all learn from one another.....That's why I like it here...



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