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  1. #41
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    peggyjam sezs:
    "I find that most people have a need to depend on the government to solve their problems so they don't have to put any effort into fixing it themselves. This whole fisco with AHB rest fully on the US Government"

    tecumseh thinks:
    gosh I certainly wish my thinking could be that self serving and twisted... oh that right we are talking about fox news.... excellent example peggyjam.

  2. #42
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    >Okay sorry, maybe that was Mark Twain that I was thinking about. My bad.

    "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated" -Mark Twain

    >Brother Adam was famous for traveling around the world (including to Africa) to harvest both wild and kept varieties of honeybees. It would not surprise me in the least if both the Buckfast and the SMR selective breeding programs incorperated African genetics.

    And he did. Just not from that part of Africa.

    >But...he didn't let them get away...did he???

    Of course he did. Do you think you can raise confined bees? How do you keep them from getting away?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #43
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    When I first heard about this whole thing about some guy messing with bees in South America and then their awful habits and all of the stuff that people were doing to try to keep them away.

    Well, I just thought,"It's not nice to fool around with Mother Nature."

    Wasn't there a commercial that had that as it's tag line? "Fooling around with Mother Nature."?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #44
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    "Wasn't there a commercial that had that as it's tag line? "Fooling around with Mother Nature."?"

    Mark
    Yes their was a series of ads with that tag, and they were quite funny....and ironic.

    "Of course he did. Do you think you can raise confined bees? How do you keep them from getting away?"

    Brother Adam was smart enough not to monkey with pure scuts, or if he did, he did so in their native land, so he didn't "let them get away", as the US Ag Dept did in Bazil. There are somethings better left alone.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  5. #45
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    When you keep scuts close to your house and they see and smell you regularly you can usually get away with working them without protective clothing.

  6. #46
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    I think the advertisement was for some brand of margarine 30 years ago.

  7. #47
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    >Brother Adam was smart enough not to monkey with pure scuts

    Correct. He didn't mess with scuts at all, but rather some Northern African bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #48
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    >>...as the US Ag Dept did in Bazil....

    I've always read that the Brazilian government through a department of agriculture imported some African queens to use in developing a more productive honey bee in South America. Here I'm reading that the USDA was in charge of this program? In Brazil? Are you sure the USDA was involved directly in this? I keep reading that Dr. Kerr was working for the Brazilian government, not the US government.

    >>Anything that is GMO has the potental to be "really bad", as in the case of AHB's we will only know "how bad" in the future, say 10-20 years from now, when it is too late to correct the damage. Seems like AHB should have taught us something, or we are just really slow to learn the lesson.

    Just to clarify this statement, AHB are *NOT* GMOs. I do agree -- we're really slow to learn our lessons, especially when it comes to importing organisms. But let's keep in mind that our honey bees are imported, too, and have played havoc with some of the native pollinators. We just happen to like most honey bees. The same sorts of things have happened with many other organisms: brown trout and carp are both introduced species, for example. Look at the extreme devastation caused to our native prairies by the introduction of wheat and soybeans and alfalfa, as well as the conversion to large-scale agriculture with some native species (corn and sunflowers, for instance).

    To get back to the introduction of African bees into Brazil, I read recently that honey production is much higher now in Brazil than it was prior to Africanization. Commercial beekeepers are learning to deal with the more aggressive AHBs, the bees are better suited to production in the prevailing climates, and the bees are becoming at least somewhat more gentle (more easily managed). I think that says a lot about the abilities of South American beekeepers to adapt, and maybe demonstrates that at least some of the Brazilian goverment's and Dr. Kerr's goals in importing African honey bees are being realized (greater production in the South American climate, "watering down" the aggressive behaviors of AHB).

  9. #49
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    "Are you sure the USDA was involved directly in this? I keep reading that Dr. Kerr was working for the Brazilian government, not the US government."

    USDA was upto their eyeballs in this fisco.

    "Just to clarify this statement, AHB are *NOT* GMOs."

    Never said or implied that they were.

    "To get back to the introduction of African bees into Brazil, I read recently that honey production is much higher now in Brazil than it was prior to Africanization."

    But look at the cost, not only to SA, but to NA as well. I and I am quite sure everyone else would've preferred that Bazil didn't make any honey, and no AHB, as to have our current situation. But hey, maybe someone will learn from these mistakes someday.....abit not anytime soon from the looks of the current situation.

    "The same sorts of things have happened with many other organisms: brown trout and carp are both introduced species, for example. Look at the extreme devastation caused to our native prairies by the introduction of wheat and soybeans and alfalfa, as well as the conversion to large-scale agriculture with some native species (corn and sunflowers, for instance)."

    I aggree with you, but somethings have been "for the greater good". Had we not introduced honeybees we wouldn't be able to pollinate the crops that are nessacery for feeding our ever growing population. So far the imports haven't done toooooo much damage. But I have far greater concerns regarding GMO's. I don't see where there is going to be anything good coming out of these. And in the meantime we will be losing our abilities to revert to the older varities in quanities large enough to feed this country, let alone the rest of the world.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #50
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    >>>...as the US Ag Dept did in Bazil....

    >I've always read that the Brazilian government through a department of agriculture imported some African queens to use in developing a more productive honey bee in South America. Here I'm reading that the USDA was in charge of this program? In Brazil? Are you sure the USDA was involved directly in this?

    Someone has merged two different things. The USDA did their African bee experiments starting in the early 1940's at Kelleys Island, Baton Rouge, Laramie, Logan, Madison, and Columbus and shipped them all over the US and even Germany and Canada from 1949 until 1961. They got their semen from Dr. Kerr in Brazil but were apparently under the impression it was adonsonii instead of scutella. They were still getting semen from Dr. Kerr as late as 1961. The program was abandoned in 1970.

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/ahb/viciousbee.htm

    They recently seem to have forgotten all of this. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #51
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    I wondered if two different sets of experiments were confused to merge the two into one big "program." Thanks for the info, Michael!

    >>Never said or implied that they were.

    Actually, Peggjam, you did imply that AHB are GMOs. Go back and reread your post. I'm sure you know that AHB are not GMOs, and I don't think you intended to imply that they are, but your comment grouped them together and made an implication that AHB are genetically-modified. (That's why I listed it as a "clarification," rather than a "correction." [img]smile.gif[/img] )

    >>I and I am quite sure everyone else would've preferred that Brazil didn't make any honey....

    I'm guessing that the Brazilian beekeepers wouldn't prefer that they didn't make any honey.

    >>I agree with you, but somethings have been "for the greater good". Had we not introduced honeybees we wouldn't be able to pollinate the crops that are nessacery for feeding our ever growing population. So far the imports haven't done toooooo much damage.

    Depends on whose "greater good" you're looking at. Clearly, not so good for the native pollinators that have been displaced.

    And, again, claiming that honey bees are so solely important for agricultural pollination is going a bit too far. This same claim has come up in other threads, and I'm not sure that we should place such heavy emphasis on it.

    First, most of the crops that we rely for food are grains. Grains are the seeds of grasses, and grasses are wind pollinated. That eliminates the need for insect pollinators (including honey bees) from a huge percentage of the food we grow.

    Then, studies have shown that honey bees provide valuable SUPPLEMENTAL pollination in fruit crops. That doesn't mean that the crops would fail entirely if honey bees weren't present. It just means that the additional gain in fruit (in quantity, but more importantly, in quality) more than offsets the costs of paying for pollination by honey bees.

    Think of all the fruits that were growing in the Americas long before the honey bees were around. They survived and produced fruit without any honey bee pollination.

    I'll give you a different example of some introduced "beneficial" insects and the impacts they have had on their ecosystems. Coccinella septempunctata ("C-7") is a lady beetle that was introduced into the United States. Like other lady beetles, these beetles eat aphids, and aphids cause major losses in crops at times. Therefore, C-7 was lauded as a good addition to the fauna of North America. However, a closely related, native species, Coccinella transversaguttata, has virtually disappeared since the arrival of C-7. This means we've lost a valuable, native species, and the net effect is about the same: where we previously found C. transversaguttata, we now find C-7, and the numbers (populations) remain the same. Just the species has changed. We haven't really added another predator of aphids, we've just replaced a predator of aphids. The same thing is going on with other species of introduced lady beetles right now.

    If you're interested in other examples, look up information on what the introduction of ringneck pheasants has done to populations of native grouse, quail, and prairie chickens. Look up information on what the introduction of house sparrows has done to populations of blue birds. Look up the impacts that domesticated cats have on native bird populations.

    So far, the negative impacts of introduced species far outweigh any impacts we've seen from GMOs. That doesn't mean that we should whole-heartedly accept GMOs, but I think we need to keep them in context at the same time.

    But back to the "killer bees," I've been reading some papers from a few years ago that suggest that the aggressive behavior seen in AHB is likely due in large part to a "founder effect" based on the few queens initially imported. To simplify it, Apis mellifera scutellata varies somewhat in the intensity of the defensive behaviors, although as a whole, A. m. scutellata are more defensive than most other races of honey bees. The queens imported, though, were uniformly defensive. In other words, the population in the Americas started from some of the most defensive of that race without much variance.

    Maybe a good defense against AHB would be importing more A. m. scutellata, but this time only importing the most manageable queens we can find to help dilute the aggressive/defensive AHB we currently have.

  12. #52
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    I have trouble with the assumption that AHB are more productive. Maybe Brazil exports more honey now than ever before, but there could be many causes. They could be just repacking honey from other places. The AHB may have brought a focus on beekeeping which made people aware of it and so they raised more bees and made more honey. I don't know for sure the cause. But bees that swarm and abscond at the drop of a hat do not seem condusive to getting more honey.

    Is there any evidence that AHB are indeed more or less productive than EHB?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #53
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    I've read both, that AHB are more productive and that AHB are less productive than EHB. Both make some sense, based on what I know, so I really don't know which answer is correct.

    To me, though, it stands to reason that bees that are well-adapted to northern climates (EHB) wouldn't do as well (produce as much) as bees adapted to tropical climates (AHB). Just like I look for bees that build up well in the spring, overwinter well, and produce honey during the relatively short growing season (northern bees), I would expect beekeepers in the tropics to select stocks that are better suited to tropical climates (perhaps A. m. scutellata, even?).

    I'll do some digging, see if I can find information on whether EHB or AHB produce more honey in tropical climates.

  14. #54
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    Hello All,
    I hope to put to rest the myth that AHB is more productive *when the percentage of AHB is high* in my April ABJ article on the subject.

    I will list several paragraphs of known bad traits and list three possible good traits (and give reference to the place I got the information).

    The two beekeepers on the list which said they keep AHB in South America did not want to answer my list of questions. OK.

    One big diference I see with south Florida AHB and the hybrid AHB in Texas is concerning swarming.

    Florida is saying their AHb is swarming up to 16 times a year. Texas studies have shown up to eight.

    You have to got back to early studies from the 60's (which is what I did)to find a race of bees doing so much swarming.

    Comb honey producers in Georgia & Florida are concerned over picking up the constant swarming genetics.

    Can you imagine trying to produce honey over a race of bees which splits its population every couple weeks?
    Bob Harrison

  15. #55
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    Did you get actual numbers, Rob? I'm interested in what you found about the productivity of AHB. I've been doing my digging, like I said I would, and I haven't come up with much.

    So far, the best information I've found is in the book, "Killer bees: The Africanized honey bee in the Americas," (1992) by Mark Winston. He states that AHB produce three times as much honey per hive as EHB in Brazil per year. Otherwise, all the sources give general ideas, such as, "AHB have extremely high productivity," or, "AHB swarm far too frequently to ever build up large stores of surplus honey."

    I wish, too, that the beekeepers in South America who keep AHB would give us some idea of their production, especially compared to production by EHB in the same areas.

    One other question/comment: I always thought "AHB" referred specifically to "Africanized honey bee," as opposed to African honey bees or pure Apis mellifera scutellata? Does AHB, in fact, refer to both African honey bees and Africanized honey bees? Or is there no distinction between the forms, either?

  16. #56
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    Here is one link that I found when I goggled Dr Kerr/ahb/spread.

    http://www.american.edu/TED/bee.htm


    "Actually, Peggjam, you did imply that AHB are GMOs. Go back and reread your post. I'm sure you know that AHB are not GMOs, and I don't think you intended to imply that they are, but your comment grouped them together and made an implication that AHB are genetically-modified. (That's why I listed it as a "clarification," rather than a "correction." )"

    Actually I compared the unknowen affects of releasing AHB into the wild without thinking about the problems such an aggressive bee would cause, to the release of GMO's without thinking about the problems they would cause.

    "First, most of the crops that we rely for food are grains. Grains are the seeds of grasses, and grasses are wind pollinated. That eliminates the need for insect pollinators (including honey bees) from a huge percentage of the food we grow."

    Depends on what you consider "food". The clover and alfifa are insect pollinated, and fed to beef animals. Corn, while wind pollinated is still worked by bees as proved by the presence of corn pollin in the hives. Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, are all pollinated by insects, as are sunflowers, conola, soybeans. The list is endless, and while these crops don't nessacrely depend on insects for pollination, they would never self pollinate in a high enough percentage to produce enough food for the worlds population.

    "So far, the negative impacts of introduced species far outweigh any impacts we've seen from GMOs. That doesn't mean that we should whole-heartedly accept GMOs, but I think we need to keep them in context at the same time."

    We have been importing insects and pests for 100's of years. GMO's have been around what 10-15 years max?? As I stated in previous posts, we will only know the dangers they present years down the road, long after we have lost the option to return to preGMO crops.

    "The queens imported, though, were uniformly defensive. In other words, the population in the Americas started from some of the most defensive of that race without much variance."

    A number of the queens that were imported by Dr Kerr were from an apariy that at the time held the world record for honey harvested.

    "In other words, the population in the Americas started from some of the most defensive of that race without much variance."

    That would be because many of them came from the same yard.

    "Maybe a good defense against AHB would be importing more A. m. scutellata, but this time only importing the most manageable queens we can find to help dilute the aggressive/defensive AHB we currently have."

    That might be the best idea I have heard yet. The queens that Steve Tabar worked with in Baton Rouge were also imported, and I am not sure, but may also have been pure scuts. These while more aggressive than EHB, were released and never developed the problems that the ones in Bazil did. I find that corious.

    "I have trouble with the assumption that AHB are more productive."

    MB
    The queens that Dr Kerr imported were from the yard that held the world record for honey production. Not all of the queens imported were from the same yard, but alot of them were.

    "So far, the best information I've found is in the book, "Killer bees: The Africanized honey bee in the Americas," (1992) by Mark Winston. He states that AHB produce three times as much honey per hive as EHB in Brazil per year. Otherwise, all the sources give general ideas, such as, "AHB have extremely high productivity," or, "AHB swarm far too frequently to ever build up large stores of surplus honey." "

    What did it say about management practices for making them produce that much honey? I read in one of the articles that if given plenty of room the AHB's would be less likely to swarm.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  17. #57
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    "It's only the past 15 years or so that really concern me. Anything that is GMO has the potental to be "really bad", as in the case of AHB's we will only know "how bad" in the future, say 10-20 years from now, when it is too late to correct the damage. Seems like AHB should have taught us something, or we are just really slow to learn the lesson."

    Where is it....where did I imply that AHB was GMO????
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  18. #58
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    >>Depends on what you consider "food". The clover and alfifa are insect pollinated, and fed to beef animals. Corn, while wind pollinated is still worked by bees as proved by the presence of corn pollin in the hives. Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, are all pollinated by insects, as are sunflowers, conola, soybeans. The list is endless, and while these crops don't nessacrely depend on insects for pollination, they would never self pollinate in a high enough percentage to produce enough food for the worlds population.

    I've argued this with others on this board (I don't remember if you were in on those or not). To be accurate, honey bees are pretty good general pollinators, but bees overall (honey bees included) don't play as large a role in insect-mediated pollination as many people like to believe. Beetles, butterflies and moths, and flies are just as effective, or, in many cases, much more effective as pollinators of plants.

    Let me throw out a little more information:

    Alfalfa -- not really very well pollinated by honey bees. Why else would alfalfa growers use leaf-cutter bees for pollination? Besides that, how much alfalfa really comes into bloom anymore? Around here, alfalfa is typically cut long before flowers open to any extent. That means that the role honey bees play is minimal in pollinating alfalfa, especially since a low percentage of alfalfa is ever really pollinated. Clover? Red clover isn't effectively pollinated by honey bees (their tongues are too short), I don't know of much if any white clover being grown as feed for livestock, and I'm pretty certain sweetclover (the favorite of beekeepers) isn't being grown to feed to livestock.

    Tomatoes: usually pollinated much more effectively by bumble bees with their "buzz pollination" behavior. Honey bees can pollinate tomatoes, but many growers prefer bumble bees. That's part of the reason bumble bee colonies are commerically available.

    Potatoes: pollinated? Really? My potatoes aren't pollinated. Even if they were, I doubt there's any need for it. Potatoes are typically grown as clones from "eyes" rather than from seed. Besides that, potatoes are pentaploid organisms, so seeds are rarely fertile. Since pollination isn't a part of potato production, honey bees aren't at all responsible for our potato crops.

    Again, I'm not saying that honey bees aren't pollinators, or that supplemental pollination by honey bees isn't valuable, I just think we need to keep the relative importance of honey bee pollination in perspective. Most of our food is not pollinated by honey bees.

    >>GMO's have been around what 10-15 years max...

    Depends on how strictly or broadly you define "GMOs." If you include all transfers of genes across species of genera in "unnatural" combinations, wheat is a GMO. Wheat has been around a lot longer than 10 to 15 years. GM bacteria to produce insulin have been around longer than 10 to 15 years. "Firmer" tomatoes have been around longer than 10 to 15 years.

    In general, I agree with you; I think, too, we need to proceed with caution when it comes to using GMOs. We don't know what the long-term implications might be. They certainly can create situations that cause other problems (such as increased use of RoundUp, and the environmental issues that accompany herbicide use). I'm just not ready to condemn all GMOs simply because they're GMOs.

    As far as where I saw an implication in statements listing AHB as a GMO, it's right here:

    "Anything that is GMO has the potental to be "really bad", as in the case of AHB's...."

    It just depends on how the person reading the statement interprets or links the two. Like I said before, I'm sure you weren't trying to say that AHB are GMOs, and I'm sure you weren't even trying to imply it. But I can also see how others reading the statement might link the two.

  19. #59
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    Kieck

    Boy, yar sure a "picky fellow" LOL. I'm just too darn lazy to do all the copy and paste on this one! But if you reread my post you will notice I used "insect pollinated", that pretty much takes into account all insects, wether honeybee or other. I also stated that bees would collect corn pollen. As far as tomatoes go, I tripled my tomatoe crop last year by having a hive of honeybees in the garden, IMHO, honeybees beat bumblebees hands down in that dept.

    "As far as where I saw an implication in statements listing AHB as a GMO, it's right here:

    "Anything that is GMO has the potental to be "really bad", as in the case of AHB's....""

    This one I will do, because you are reading something into that sentance that just plain isn't there.

    And I'll do this one...

    "Most of our food is not pollinated by honey bees."


    Ok, the rest of the worlds food is pollinated by insects, honeybees being part of that host of pollinators. LOL
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  20. #60
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    Peggjam

    I realize it. I AM a picky fellow. [img]smile.gif[/img] I don't mean any personal slight, just trying to avoid sensationalism of a different sort. (Remember, we started talking about sensationalism on Fox News in relation to AHB here, but overstating "good" information can be sensationalism, too.)

    I questioned the emphasis of importance by honey bees as pollinators after this statement:

    "Had we not introduced honeybees we wouldn't be able to pollinate the crops that are nessacery for feeding our ever growing population."

    I realize you never said specifically that honey bees are responsible for pollinating most of our food. I made the jump to that conclusion. But, seriously, do you really think the crops we raise in this country wouldn't be successful if no honey bees lived here? You really think yields of wheat and rice and corn and all other crops would be so low that we couldn't even sustain our own population?

    I'm surprised to read that you found honey bees to be far more successful at pollinating tomatoes than bumble bees are. That contradicts everything I've read comparing the two in scientific journals.

    I suspect, if it wasn't some other factor last year (such as weather) that the results might have been due to sheer numbers. For instance, let's just say that bumble bees are 10 times more effective at pollinating tomatoes than honey bees (I don't know the real numbers, I'm just throwing around figures to try to give a broad indication of how it might work). A large colony of bumble bees lives at the edge of your field of tomatoes. This large colony might have 100 workers in it.

    For comparison, you set up a field of identical size with the same number of plants in it, but you set a hive of honey bees in it. This hive is a small one -- only 10,000 workers. Even dividing by 10 (assuming bumble bees are ten times more effective as pollinators of tomatoes), that would be the equivalent of 1,000 bumble bees.

    I think that's the big advantage to moving hives of honey bees. Honey bees are fair, general pollinators, but they make up for their moderate abilities with their sheer numbers. We can move them more easily than we can move other pollinators, and we get that tasty crop of honey off of them.

    I'll agree that most of the plants in the world are pollinated by insects, and honey bees are among that host of pollinators. Many of the big staple foods for humans, though, are grasses or derived products from grasses (beef, mutton, etc.), and grasses are wind pollinated. Remember that pollination isn't so much the collection of pollen by insects as it is the transfer of pollen among plants. Honey bees collecting corn pollen to feed to their larvae isn't a case of pollination; it's just grabbing pollen, not transferring it to another corn plant.

    As far as reading an implication into the AHB statement that included a comparison to GMOs, I wonder if I'm really the only one who sees a link there? If I am, I apologize. I wasn't trying to blow things out of proportion, just trying again to avoid sensationalism.

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