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  1. #41
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    Dec 2005
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    Perhaps, you couldn't tell if it was AHb or not untill they have established themselves on comb, as a living unit.

    I guess though, that you could collect a sample of fifty bees and get your State Apiary Inspection Program to send them off for testing.

    Then again, if they don't exist, your on your own. So, you'd have to send them somewhere yourself. Which, of course, you could do anyway.

    But, if you don't have a state Apiary Inspection program, maybe USDA would include your data in their file for future possible action. Who knows?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  2. #42
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    My guess is they're still doing a FABIS test and my guess is they are declaring small cell bees AHB. I'm not saying there isn't any such thing, just that I haven't seen any clear evidence that anyone can actually tell.

    I keep coming back to the fact that I think we ALL agree hot bees are not what we want. The bees you find may be EHB but if they are really nasty do we want to keep them around? If they are nice and MIGHT have some AHB genes, is that a good enough reason to try to eradicate them? Eradication hasn't worked yet.

    I'm still not convinced that they have an actual test at all. What's the baseline for a mDNA for an AHB? Some hot little bee from somewhere of unknown origin? Or some Scuttella from Africa?

    What's the baseline for wing veins? What's the basline for "size" for the FABIS test?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #43
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    I've been trying to get those questions answered too. Ms. Mona Chambers hasn't replyed yet. I'll check with other sources.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #44
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    I was at the Vermont Beekeepers Association Meeing a couple of days ago. I talked to three people about the FABIS test. If I understand them correctly, how FABIS is done is that wing lenghth of the bees sampled is measured. If the wing lenghth is shorter than a certain measurment(sorry, I should write these things down) the probability of being AHb is greater. So, if the wing lenghth is really short, then the probability is higher.

    If the measured wing lenghth is longer, then the sampled bees are of a higher probability to be EHb.

    The numbers are of a statistical probability nature.

    Tony Jadzack, Maine State Apiarist, says that he has done these measurings himself. It seems to me that Apiary Inspectors could be trained to do this sort of work. To veify their findings another lab, such as USDA-Tucson, could be usd.

    No one talked about cell size measurment.

    Further measurements have to do with wing vein angles.

    More later.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  5. #45
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    It sounds like small cell bees would likely get classified as likely to be AHB.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #46
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    My understanding of FABIS is a little different than what's been presented here. I'll confess that I have no real experience with a FABIS test, so I hope that someone who has performed testing can chime in here with more accurate information.

    As I understand the test, FABIS is simply a way to dtermine whether or not to do further testing. If the tested bees are all really large ("commercial size"), the chances of them being AHB are so small that it's a waste of time and money to do further testing on them. On the other hand, FABIS doesn't demonstrate whether or not small bees are AHB, just sets a guideline for further testing, such as morphometrics or DNA. FABIS tests don't show that small ("natural") bees are AHB, just that they need further testing to determine whether or not they are AHB.

    The morphometrics tests generally seem to rely on differences in wing-vein geometry (angles between veins, shapes of cells in the wing veination, etc.).

  7. #47
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    I just got off the phone with Mona Chambers in Tucson, AZ. Once I have digested my notes, and maybe I should wait for the papers that she promised me, I'l have more to say about these tests.

    I can say that they are more complex than has been stated here. Yes, it is an indicator of the need or lack of need for further testing. Roughly, if FABIS says probability EHB, then no further testing. If FABIS indicates probability toward Non-European, then full morphometric testing is indicated.

    Gotta go. Will be gone for a couple days. Looking forward to more discussion and education.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  8. #48
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    Nov 2005
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    Does anyone have the article(s) of the finding of AHB in New York?

  9. #49
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    Sep 2005
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    hidalgo county texas
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    i went to the bee lab in weslaco texas last year and i was informed that they have about 100 ahb hives down here that they do studies on

  10. #50
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    And how do they know they are AHB and not feral EHB?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #51
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    Sep 2005
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    all i can go by is what the man told me out there they keep them near an air base down here called morefield air base large wooded tracts of land near farms fields

  12. #52
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    If AHB take over a large cell hive won't they become large bees and not be detected by FABIS?

    [size="1"][ January 27, 2006, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: Dana ][/size]

  13. #53
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    I suppose AHB would become large bees if they "took over" a hive with commercial-size cells. (I'm not sure "detected" is the right word for describing results from FABIS tests; I think "identified as possible AHB" would be a better description.)

    I'm not sure how often AHB actually usurp EHB hives anyway. I know some reports have demonstrated that it can happen, but I believe managed colonies are much more likely to become AHB through interbreeding (queen mated with AHB drones in an open mating system). These bees, I suppose, would be large bees if they were raised on large cell comb.

    I think the assumption that makes FABIS useful in these sorts of situations is that bees will be subjected to FABIS as soon as the beekeeper discovers a hive has become "hot." I would also suppose that most beekeepers would requeen a particularly hot hive or even depopulate it if necessary, so it would be unlikely that large bees would ever be AHB. If they were gentle enough that the beekeeper never requeens, should we even really worry about whether they're AHB or not?

    I don't know how people who actually rely on testing for AHB regard FABIS, but I think of it as a fast way to determine whether or not further testing is necessary. It's not 100% accurate, some cases could be suspect AHB when they're actually EHB, some cases could be subjected to no further testing when in fact they are AHB. I think the idea is to save time and money while still identifying AHB as such with a reasonable amount of certainty/uncertainty.

  14. #54
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    <<Besides, if I came up with a plan, what's the likelyhood anyone would be interested in implementing it?>

    How painfully true.

    I have a question though. Has anyone observed an AHB swarm depart it's home hive? If so, do they cluster like EHB's do, or do they already know where they are going. How could you tell a clustered swarm was AHB. I assume that they gorge on honey and hence can't sting as well until they have disgorged the honey at their new home, so how would you know wether it was AHB?>


    From observations of some swarms in my area, supposedly AHB -- they gorge, they cluster, they are extremely defensive, even when freshly clustered and often even when they are airborne.

    [size="1"][ January 27, 2006, 11:37 PM: Message edited by: Joseph Clemens ][/size]
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #55
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    Thanks Joseph, that was what I was wondering.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  16. #56
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    Jun 2005
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    Howdy everyone. I'm a beekeeper down here in Honduras. I've been working with africanized bees for the last 15 years. All my hives come from ahb swarms.

    When the hives swarm they just about always leave the box/nest and cluster nearby (within a couple yards). Then, usually within an hour, they'll take off again and cluster further away, several hundred yards at least. They stay there until they find a new nest. It can be from one to three days usually.

    I've never seen an ahb swarm go directly from its old hive and into a new box. I've also never noticed that an ahb swarm has moved into one of my existing hives, even one that has been small or weak.

    My experience with ahb swarms is that they are not defensive. I always hang several trap hives in my back yard. If I hear a swarm moving into one of the boxes (or a swarm coming out of a hive) I'll get right into the middle of them and watch them. They have never attacked me. They just want to move into the box. I've even done this jumping out of the hammock wearing just a pair of shorts.

    The same happens when I shake a swarm out of a tree and into a box. They are just interested in forming another cluster. They don't directly attack me. I might get two or three stings but it's usually because I accidently touch or rub one of the bees that has landed on me the wrong way.

    I can usually work my new hives with out them getting ornery. They usually start to get a bit more vicious when they have just about a full box of comb (10 combs)and the bees that would go with a hive of that size.

    Based on this, it might be difficult to tell in the beginning if your hive has ahbs or ehbs by just looing at their temperment. You might have to wait until it has grown some.

    Lately I haven't been wearing a full bee suit, just one or two extra shirts and the veil/gloves. We're right in the middle of the floration season down here so all the hives are strong, but lately not overly ornery. My hives are on a coffee plantation. I can walk twenty yards into the coffee plants and be able to remove my veil. All the bees have been left behind. I can return within a half hour and the vast majority of the hives are calm again. Very few bees stay flying around.

    I have had other apiaries, however, in different zones, and I needed to walk at least 200 yards before I got rid of the last bee. Or I reach the apiary and they start to sting me without me having touched them. The ahb's temperament can be real variable. Just to be on the safe side, the apiary (with large/strong hives) can't be near a residence.

    I don't think I would ever work a strong ahb hive without gloves though. For me, gloves (and a veil) are a must.

    ----------
    Tom

  17. #57
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    "My hives are on a coffee plantation. I can walk twenty yards into the coffee plants and be able to remove my veil. All the bees have been left behind. I can return within a half hour and the vast majority of the hives are calm again. Very few bees stay flying around."

    Would you say these hives are much gentleier than the ones you have worked in the past? Do you feel that "some" of the aggsiveness has been bred out of them, or is it just that you pick the right time of day to work them?

    "I have had other apiaries, however, in different zones, and I needed to walk at least 200 yards before I got rid of the last bee. Or I reach the apiary and they start to sting me without me having touched them. The ahb's temperament can be real variable. Just to be on the safe side, the apiary (with large/strong hives) can't be near a residence."

    Would you say that these hives were just plain old ugly AFB hives? Or do they have periods when you can work them without the fullblowen aggressiveness shown by tipical AFB hives?

    Maybe you have some useful genitics in that gentle AHB hives, interesting..........
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  18. #58
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Tom, Thanks for that great information. I hope you stick around, we are jsut facing AHB in much of the US and your input and experaince are extremely valuable.

  19. #59
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    Tom, Thanks for that great information. I hope you stick around, we are just facing AHB in much of the US and your input and experaince are extremely valuable.

  20. #60
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    Jun 2005
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    Honduras
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    Howdy everyone.

    In some ways the africanized bees down here do seem to be getting more gentle. I'm not real sure why though. Their behavior, however, can be real variable.

    In my present apiary the bees have been relatively gentle. I can walk around the hives without equipment and check the activity at the entrances. They don't come pouring out of the hives when I do this. And like I mentioned in my other post, I need to walk just a little ways when I'm finished working them and I get rid of the last bee. Bees might be flying around in the air but for the most part they aren't trying to attack. These bees return and the hive settles down relatively quickly.

    In the past (about seven years ago) I have had apiaries where the hives have gotten really aggressive, to the point where I had to close up the hive and leave. There were too many stinging my gloves, bouncing off my veil, and I started to worry that people walking along the highway might get a sting, even though it was about 100 yards away.

    One of the reasons that I definitly think helps is the top bar hives I am currently using. A closed system like this seems to help immensely to control the bees. All my prsent hives are in top bar hives, both the kenyan and tanzinanian types. When I work the tbhs, the bees tend to run down to the other end as I advance in the revision of the combs. You also have to constantly use smoke. Without smoke you definitly can do anything.

    The bees that I mentioned that got real agressive were in standard Langstroth boxes. These boxes are too "opened up". There's too many places for the bees to come out. It can get especially bad when you take off one box to look into the one below it.

    But there are other beekeepers in the area who use Langstroth equipment and they say their bees have been gentle. One of them even has his 60 hives within fifty yards of his house and hasn't had a problem (I myself would not do that. Too risky. Better safe than sorry.)

    The time of the day also (normally) plays a factor in their agressiveness. Generally you don't want to touch them on a cloudy day or when it's getting dark.

    But there are exceptions to this. Last weekend we were forced to check the hives on a cloudy day and they weren't really that bad. It even got a bit foggy for a while. And then there have also been sunny days during the floration with past apiraries were they have gotten very ornery.

    Elevation might also play a factor in gentleness, but I'm not sure. Some beekeepers down here say that hives at a high altitude stay calmer. That's true with my present apiary which is at about 1200 meters. And these other beekeepers have their apiaries at more or less the same elevation also. But the other apiary that I said would get out of control was at the same elevation and with the same vegetation. It was proably within twenty mile from the one I have now.

    The bees down in the valley (600 meters above sea level) seem to be more agressive. That's been my experience in the past (although it's been about eight years since I have had a full apiary here. I can't say if things are really changing.). Other beekeepers have commented the same. The odd thing is that the weather in the valley is much more favorable for working bees than the weather in the mountains. Mountains could be cloudy while the valley is sunny.

    So far the time of the year hasn't made a difference in the temperament of my present hives. They have behaved the same during the dearth and floration periods.

    There has been no program to breed a gentler africanized bee here in Honduras. It would be rare the person who might have queens that are a cross between the ahb and ehb (although I hear that in Guatemala and El Salvador they are doing some experiements with them and selling them. The cost of them is really expensive for the vast majority of beekeepers however.) I don't think most beekeepers here look at gentleness when making splits. They probably look more at which hives have a good population. A lot of beekeepers also use swarms and who knows exactly where they're coming from.

    To sum things up, their teperament can be real variable. You always have to stay on the side of caution with the location of the apiaries and when working them. Like I said, better safe than sorry.

    Right now I'm real happy with the hives I have. I'm starting a second apiary, however, lower down the mountian, at about 800 or 900 meters. It's halfway between the present apiary and the valley floor. Most of the hives are still small but one or two are starting to get large. I need to ckeck them this afternoon. Maybe I'll have something different to tell you tonight.

    ----------
    Tom

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