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  1. #61
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    >>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.

    Would you say that modifying the hive would help the aggression? Perhaps a year round reduced enterence? Drapped towel over the hive top when working the brood nest?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  2. #62
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    "Would you say that modifying the hive would help the aggression? Perhaps a year round reduced enterence? Drapped towel over the hive top when working the brood nest?"

    I should think if the bees take longer to get out of the hive, your perception of aggessiveness would be lower. I wonder though if their arn't some genes in these AFB hives that might become useful if they continue to be "gentlier"?????????
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  3. #63
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    Jun 2005
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    Honduras
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    Howdy everyone.

    The hives in the second apiary are acting just like the ones in the first apiary. They were gentle and they didn't cause me any undue problems when revising them. But then they are also all new hives so I expected them to act gentle. They all have ten combs or less so they aren't that strong yet.

    I did notice one thing though. One of the hives happens to have seven standard langstroth-type frames (it was an old trap hive that bees finally moved into.) They were definitly a bit more difficult to control than the others. My wife was helping me and she had to use more smoke with them. (but at the same time they didn't get out of control.)

    Like I said in my last post, being able to keep a limited area opened up definitly seems to help control the ahbs. The space I open up when working the tbhs is that of two or three top bars. Having the long top bar box also seems to help because they like to run down to the other end that is dark and closed up. With this hive that had the lang. frames they all wanted to start coming out the top.

    The towel on one half of the langs. box would probably help. Reducing the entrance might also help (but as long as it doesn't limit their foraging activity). But again, like I mentioned, langs boxes are just a lot more complicated than long top bar boxes in controling these bees.

    On an added note. As long as I can keep smoke on them I can work them just fine (in the tbhs). If I would open one up without smoke or one would fall over or a cow would kick it there would probably be a big problem. And it's true also that noise likes to trigger them off. Cutting the weeds in the apiary with the machete has caused me big problems in the past.

    ----------
    Tom

  4. #64
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    Jul 2005
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    Perkasie, PA
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    1,998

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    >I wonder though if their arn't some genes in these AFB hives that might become useful if they continue to be "gentlier"?????????<

    It definitely seems like this should be true. Africa is a huge continent full of truly wild, naturally selected bees. I would think that aside from extreme aggression, African bees must have many other novel traits.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    1,732

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    it just something that with all the crossing breeding with EHB's, it hard to believe that the agressive trait will always be dominate.
    Ted

  6. #66
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    Mar 2005
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    Odessa, Missouri
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    TWT,
    I will show a scale in an upcoming Florida AHB article for ABJ which will explain.
    The drones are the problem. Queen breeders in Texas have figured out an F1 AHB drone open mating is usually not noticed by the beekeeper (unless AHB genetics are allready in the queen) . Once established and superceded then the percent of AHB increases. Takes a couple years till you really get some hot hives.
    Bob Harrison

  7. #67
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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    48

    Post

    Bob, some people report this in Brazil too. They "import" mated italian or carniolan queens, then sell their F1 daughters after being open mated. They claim their queens (and progeny) are a lot more gentle than most AHBs, and it's probably right. I've tried carniolans produced this way in the past, and they were really docile, although unproductive.

    João

  8. #68
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    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    "it just something that with all the crossing breeding with EHB's, it hard to believe that the agressive trait will always be dominate."

    I'm gonna say this tonge in cheek, I don't think there has been enough crossing of genes between AHB and EHB that would allow for a true test of wether they will always be aggressive. Lots of matings between EHB queens and AHB drones, but how many between EHB drones and AHB queens? This may take more crossings than one would consider "normal" to make a useful bee.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Odessa, Missouri
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    Joao,
    Beekeepers need to stop comparing what is going on in Brazil with AHB to other areas.

    Many times it is like comparing apples to oranges.
    Let me be the first to say that all AHB are not the same.

    The south Florida AHB are more like what was first released in Brazil rather than what we find in Texas & Arizona. A quarter percent AHB can be worked. A half is hot but still workable if kept in remote areas. Three quarter needs caution and full (100%) AHB is in most cases unmanageable for commercial beekeeping.

    A yard with quarter percent AHB from a queen brreder will change into some hot bees over a couple years if left alone and herein lies the problem. Supercedure & inbreeding raise the AHB level. ( the terms quarter, half. three quarter & full are mine only to simplfy the issue)

    In Florida the inspection service is able to tell through DNA the ratio between the percent of AHB & aggresion.

    The problem is DNA tests take three days and are expensive. They are used mainly for serious stinging incidents and for a teaching tool for inspectors. Fabis and morph (by computer) are easy but are only as good as the sample used to compare.
    Morph is the prefered test in Florida for step one and many are done every day by the Florida AHB expert.
    I have watched the whole Fabis & morph test done.
    Pictures will be in article. The test has room for operator error but will not miss a 75% to 100% scutellata.
    Bob Harrison

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Rob, Good to have you back, hope you enjoyed your travels!

    I see in the Florida article that they are swarm trapping near the ports. I know this was being done in the 1990's. Have they been trapping all this time and this is the 1st. result or is it a matter that the bees infiltrated and then trapping started again. In your opinion Is it likely they have been around for more than the past year or are we looking at a sudden quick influx. This seem fast in comparision to the spread elsewhere if it is, do you think this rate will continue. Do you think if it is a sudden influx is it related to the higher purity of the AHB's. Finally, is your post sayint we would be more accurate since we are looking at pure scutella to look at what happenen in the 1950's - 60's in Brazil for a model of at least the Eastern outbreak?

    [size="1"][ January 30, 2006, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: Joel ][/size]

  11. #71
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    Mar 2005
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    Joel,
    Florida has been quiet about the problem for a long time. After recent stinging incidents and the LaBelle problem they have come clean. They were completely honest with me.
    To but things bluntly you could draw a line from Tampa to Orlando and AHB genetics could be found in most feral swarms south.
    Many samples are testing 100% "scut", showing all signs of aggression, swarming around 16 times a year, running on frames and smoke has no effect.
    The beekeepers which are having the most AHB problems are beekeepers catching and bringing home feral swarms.
    I am about done with my artcle on shipments to California from Florida and need to get back to work. Hope to finnish today.
    The AHB article is complicated due to the volumes of material I brought back from Florida. Hope to get done later in the week.
    I will be in the field tomorrow checking hives and we have got a load headed to California this week. We had a Midwestern Beekeepers board meeting yesterday and the boys said hives are getting light with all the warm weather. I need to check.
    talk later,
    Bob
    Bob Harrison

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Bartonville, TX USA
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    456

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    It would seem that the genetric attributes that make the AHB more successful in mating, superceding and overtaking existing hives are not necessarily the same genetic attributes that make them agressive.

    These attributes give AHB superior mating success accounting for the dilution of EHB by AHB traits rather than the opposite.

    This would suggest that selection and planned subspecies AI crosses would need to select for a bee with the succesful mating attributes but lacking the defensiveness. These mating attributes include drone numbers, queen and drone flying speed, flying height, mating flight time of day and season, not to mention the colony survival aspects.

    Wouldn't you essentially be selectively breeding for low levels of trigger and alarm pheromone sensitivity while preserving all other traits? At that point you might have a cross bee that could successfully compete in the wild and might have a chance of impacting the feral populations.

    [size="1"][ January 30, 2006, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: wfarler ][/size]
    "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes"
    Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  13. #73
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    "Beekeepers need to stop comparing what is going on in Brazil with AHB to other areas."

    Sorry Rob, you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. AHB has been in Brazil far longer than the US, and saying that there is nothing that we can learn from Brazil's expericances is total misinformation. There is something that has happened to their AHB's that can be useful here when dealing with ours. If those hives are indeed as Tom describes, those genes are very useful to us, and we would be foolish not to look into it.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  14. #74
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
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    To Joao Campos in Brazil (and any other beekeepers in or with experience in South/Cental America or Mexico.

    I'm interested in knowing (and maybe others also) if what I'm seeing in my hives is an isolated thing or if this is happening in other places in Latin America. Maybe you could describe a bit about how your pure AHBs are behaving and if there has been any change in temperment over the years. Do the AHBs act differently in the different regions in your country? Have you noticed anything that makes the AHBs more docil in one area and not in another?

    ----------
    Tom

  15. #75
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    Going further South would also be interesting to hear about. Does Argentina have high levels of scutella? If so, I heard that they used to have relatively gentle Iberian bees? Are they all hybrids now?

  16. #76
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    Going further South would also be interesting to hear about. Does Argentina have high levels of scutella? If so, I heard that they used to have relatively gentle Iberian bees? Are they all hybrids now?

  17. #77
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    Mar 2005
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    Odessa, Missouri
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    Peggjam,
    It has been 49 years since the Kerr release. The situation in Brazil now is not as it was in the ten years after the release. Nor the 20 years after the release. Nor the 30 years after the release. Nor the 40 years after the release.
    In short 26 queens were released at first. tens of thousands of European queens have been imported and tens of thousands of hot hives have been either requeened or eliminated in the last 49 years.
    The lession is after 49 years things will mellow out.
    The situation is very different in South Florida. Beekeepers need education on the AHB subject. Many are totally unprepared and have no idea what they are dealing with.

    In Florida we are dealing with pure " scut" just arrived in the best guess the last ten years.

    The best guess is at least 10 times the number of pure "scut" queens which Dr. Kerr released are in the area now. The Florida apiary inspection service and their AHB expert Mr. Alfredo Platinetty think each pure "scut" swarm is putting out around 16 small swarms. AHB do not usually swarm this much but pure "scuts" do.

    Do the math?

    I have no agenda or as they say "have a horse in the race". My only mission is to paint a true picture of each subject I do articles on. you can believe what you want Peggjam but please read my future ABJ article with an open mind , look at the scale showing how AHb takes over when beekeepers do nothing and then do the math.

    Jerry Hayes and I both believe Florida beekeepers need to be educated on AHB. Controls need to be enforced or the next ten years will look like the first ten years of AHB release in Brazil 1957-1967.
    Bob Harrison

  18. #78
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    "The lession is after 49 years things will mellow out."

    I'm not knocking you Rob, I'm just saying that to dismiss as not worth an effort out of hand what Tom is saying is senseless.

    If we were to say that you are absoultly right, and it will take 49 years for things to mellow out, why not use what has already occured in the past 49 years in Brazil to our advantage. There must be a crossbred in Brazil that can successfully mate with "pure scuts", and decearse the aggressiveness of them. Since the AHB is already in FL, would it not be a bad idea to import some of these gentlier AHB's to start dilueting the genepool of the "pure scuts"??????? Which might cross better with our EHB strains and futher reduce the aggressiveness of these "pure scuts". It certainly is better than saying that there is no hope for the next 49 years..............am I the only one who sees the potentinal?????????
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  19. #79
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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    48

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    tens of thousands of European queens have been imported and tens of thousands of hot hives have been either requeened or eliminated in the last 49 years. The lession is after 49 years things will mellow out
    Let's think a little before jumping into personal observations. Let's even ignore how much african mtDNA was found in Brazil since the early 90's, and the gradient of "africanization" that was determined later.

    Take a look at some book on beekeeping. You'll probably find there a chart of the Americas, with several arrows showing the spread of africanization, starting in São Paulo and ultimately reaching US. Maybe that image biases your thoughts on AHB moves.

    Do you think it's reasonable that the flow is one way only? That bees behave like a cloud of grasshoppers? Of course not.

    Think about the first AHBs that got settled in Panama, for example. Why would they take only the North way when swarming or absconding? They keep no travel log, so any direction can be suitable, maybe according to the current season. Wouldn't some take the way "back" to Brazil? Why not?

    Of course we keep extremely (I mean it) bad tempered bees once in while. Probably more often in the dry, tropical regions. But, if beekeepers can endure a hot hive, they can do the same with a very hot one, at least for a while. Some beekeepers may even like this behavior, to avoid theft, and also because there's a (folk?) association between productivity and aggressiveness.

    And what about the "mellowed" bees? Are they not "pure sucts" anymore? Maybe. Maybe not. Kerr noticed that some colonies he brought here were more bad tempered than others. The one from Tanzania was especially mean (I like to think of my hottest bees as the "Tanganyika Girls" [img]smile.gif[/img] ). This means that even the original scuts may have shown more variability than we think - perhaps as much as we see today.

    Of course any country has its own peculiarities and a different situation. But the AHBs are the same, although the perception of them does change in time. Maybe the first impact is worse just because of its novelty and people's unawareness.

    Dewey Caron said few "old" beekeepers could adapt, and no country so far could recover from africanization before the second generation of beekeepers took control. I really don't expect the same to happen in US, despite some specific difficulties you have to deal with. And I still think that past and current experiences can be of some help.

    João

  20. #80
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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    ... if what I'm seeing in my hives is an isolated thing or if this is happening in other places in Latin America.
    Maybe the general perception is the same, but were the bees that changed or the beekeepers that got adapted to them? I think our tolerance level increases a lot after some years keeping AHBs. Once you lose the fear and got more skilled with them, things improve a lot.

    Personally, I only see a lot of variability, in every trait. I can't perceive a convergence towards a standard race, although many people here claim that. I keep AHBs since 1987. My meanest hive ever I got only 3 years ago.

    I think you experience the same variability, and your message could have been written by any brazilian beekeeper.

    Do the AHBs act differently in the different regions in your country?
    I'm sure of that. There's a study where the researchers evaluated some colonies in subtropical and tropical areas, and the same colonies behaved very differently in each area.

    Have you noticed anything that makes the AHBs more docil in one area and not in another?
    Several studies have correlated behavior with ambiental conditions, like temperature, humidity, altitude, solar coverage, winds, etc. I've read that, in Bolivia, some high-altitude areas got totally africanized without the beekeepers realizing that.

    But, again, the high variability usually prevents you from being too predictive. I feel exactly what you said: in cloudy, windy days I alaways expect a lot of trouble, but once in while things go smoothly in such conditions, to my complete surprise.

    João

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