Dee does believe (and I would suspect that Barry believes) that there are some very aggressive bees out there now and there didn't used to be. The issue is the term "Africanized". When they can't seem to come up with a definitive genetic test and their biometric test (FABIS) finds all the small cell bees to be "Africanized" then there seems to be a problem with even defining the term AHB.
Do we know that these overly agressive bees are or are not "Africanized"? From my view when I see bees that hot, I don't really care. I don't want to keep bees that are that viscious.
Buckfasts by their own linage have some "African" bee strains included. So how would you distinguish them from AHB?
I guess I don't care what you call them, in 30 years I've never seen bees behave that way and I think we need to do what we can to eliminate bees of this demenor. But I think we also shouldn't be destroying the feral bee population just because they are smaller. All of them that have been out there for a few generations of swarms are smaller and those feral survivors may be our best hope for the future.
The fear of AHB seems to drive a lot of policies and a lot of publicity that is not necessarily good for beekeeping or for eliminating these viscious bees.
Nursebee; My comments re management techniques were in reference to some serious managment handicaps pointe out in the article cited above in this thread.
First, if the AHB drone is so much more virile that he makes 60% of the matings where he exists, the beekeeper will have trouble getting purebred queens. A "management technique" is to flood the area with EHB drone hives, but this is no guarantee.
Second, if the queen mates with both EHB and AHB drones, she selectively fertilizes with AHB semen. How does the beekeeper compensate for that?
Third; if the AHB is in the area their swarms are likely to appropriate EHB hives. How is that to be managed?
Gotta go, kids are here.
The reasons always cited on WHY AHB drones have an advantage is that they are smaller and lighter. So are small cell bee's drones.
The reasons always cited on why AHB queens have an advantage is early emergence. Dee for one, is breeding for this in queens, but you also get early emergence from workers just by virtue of it being small cell. I have not had the opportunity to do a lot of measurments on capping and emergence on small cell queens, but hope to some day. Probably not this year because I have too many other experiments going. But if all of these things are true, not because of genetics, but because of small cells then the solution may be to go to small cell bees.
By all accounts of people who have been to the Lusby's their bees are quite docile and as nice as bees typically are. Yet other's not that far from Lusby's have trouble with AHB. Why? Maybe because Lusby's have small drones and fast emerging queens already so they aren't infiltrated by AHB's?
Or maybe it's like in the cartoons where they don't know about gravity so they don't fall.
I would have to consider Oxankle's assessment of the inability to completely manage queen selection to be "right on the mark".
Several years ago (about the time of arrival of AHB in Texas), I was down at the Weaver's location and I asked Binford Weaver about this coming problem. His best guess was, they ought to be able to maintain about 95% of EHB matings with EHB queens by his planned use of "drone flooding" an area. Since I talked with him so long ago and they probably have some actual history now, I don't know what they're really experiencing. But even back then, they were expecting/planning on the possibility of 5% Africanized matings. And since they are past owners of a large Hawaiian queen breeding operation, it's obvious that contingency planning is an integral part of their business strategy (as well, it should be).
As the article points out, once AHBs invade a region, it turns out to be a very complete and permanent presence (at least for the feral bee population).
I have no experience whatever with Hawaiian queens.
Do any of the breeders ship small lots? Do the bees arrive in good order? How long are they in shipment?
I can see that it should be possible to obtain late queens from breeders in the NW or the central US, but early queens for the hobbyist might be a problem.
As for raising queens here, last year when I used Apistan and removed it for the honeyflow I had no drones at all after mid-June. Things were so bad I abandoned any thought of a crop and treated with Apistan again to save my bees.
What a difference FGMO has made.
"Can you validate this statement? Recalling this does not make it true."
I can. It happened. I live in Illinois and remember the story/article in the press at the time.
"one that is Africanized (even though Barry doesn't like that term)."
The term Africanized I have no problem with. Just tell us all what the definition is!
"You're welcome to come southwest Texas and see if you still have this belief after you've worked a few hives down there"
Texas doesn't have a corner on the Afro bees. There are plenty of them in Arizona. I had my share of being around the kind of bees you talk about.
"(but don't wear a veil that uses the white, plastic helmet...they'll get through those openings!)"
You make it sound like AHB's are the only one's that get through the helmet slots. My small cell bees do the same thing here in Illinios.
From my experience getting bees out of houses and trees, especially back when I was starting and not very good at it, if enough bees are angry enough some will get in somewhere.
But that was 30 years ago in Western Nebraska and there were no Africanized bees there and they didn't act like Africanized bees. Just hot bees. But hot bees eventually get worked into a pretty good frenzy if you work them long enough.
The more of a frenzy and the longer they have to find a way in, the more of them will get in. With the AHB (or whatever you want to call viscious bees as opposed to hot bees or nice bees) are in that state before you even open the lid of the hive.
I agree I don't know what I think of the terminology since no seems to be able to come up with a definitive genetic test, but I have seen vicious bees and they are no fun, wherever they came from.
Perhaps we should hire the services of an African pygmy tribesman whose clan has been robbing bees since time began. He might be able to tell us how to handle the AHB.
They seem do do all this without the benefit of veils or bee suits.
I do notice that taking a bar from the top bar hive seems to excite bees less than jerking the cover off a hive. Just a puff of smoke seems to keep them in the house.
So what do the AHB do?? I mean do they take over existing hives and kill the queen then move in or do they just swarm and make new hives???
Luckily we dont have any hear yet but I would like to be prepared.
>So what do the AHB do?? I mean do they take over existing hives and kill the queen then move in or do they just swarm and make new hives???
They swarm and travel long distances to set up housekeeping.
They also have all the advantages that small cell bees have over large cell bees.
The smaller drones fly faster so they are more likely to mate with your queens. The queens emerge sooner so they are more likely to be the first one out and destroy the rest of the cells.
So if there are AHB around the odds are that your queen will mate with their drones and your bees will end up hot even if your queen isn't AHB.
And the next generation will have even more AHB.
Unless, of course, you have small cell, in which case your drones have a chance in the race.
I caught a swarm last week. It is incredible how quickly they built comb. They are the most aggressive bees i have ever come across. I opened them for three seconds pulled out a frame, set it down and shut them. I was covered. Almost the whole hive emptied on me. The cells of the comb are tiny. They look almost half the size of normal cells. I am in the process of killing these bees. They seem to be africanized. I live in Muenster, TX (Cooke County)
Just requeen them. No need to kill them. The workers will all die off in a month or so anyway.
That's what small cell bees look like. If you put the AHB on large cells they will be as large as "regular" bees. If you put "regular" bees on small cells they will be as small as the AHB.
NOT GOOD ADVICE if he lives in a tightly packed subdivision and has this hive in his backyard. Please don't give potentially dangerous advice if the specific situation isn't known.
Besides IF they are Africanized (which, of course remains to be seen), he would technically be breaking Texas law (unless he gets a permit specifically to keep an AHB colony - issued by the state Apiary inspector, which isn't likely unless he was conducting research on them and they were sufficiently isolated).
My advice would be exactly opposite, and error on the side of caution - kill them if you think they are vicious.
>NOT GOOD ADVICE if he lives in a tightly packed subdivision and has this hive in his backyard. Please don't give potentially dangerous advice if the specific situation isn't known.
When anyone offers anyone advice I expect people to take into account their specific situation. Obviously if I suggest you should drive down to the hardware store you should obey the traffic laws and stop for kids running into the street, if there is a bridge out you should not drive across it and if your radiator is curently empty you may need to skip the trip altogether.
Certainly if I lived in a very populated area and had viscous bees I would do something immediately. Personally, I would probably pack them up that night and move them to the country and requeen them, but I would certainly not try to keep viscious bees in town. In fact I would not try to keep viscious bees anywhere, but would requeen as soon as possible.
But, personally, unless I had a very good reason, I would not kill them.
>Besides IF they are Africanized (which, of course remains to be seen), he would technically be breaking Texas law (unless he gets a permit specifically to keep an AHB colony - issued by the state Apiary inspector, which isn't likely unless he was conducting research on them and they were sufficiently isolated).
I certainly have never advocated breaking the laws. But I think it would be overkill for me to put disclaimers on all of my posts saying you should obey applicable laws for your area. Of course you should obey the law!
>My advice would be exactly opposite, and error on the side of caution - kill them if you think they are vicious.
And that is your opinion. I'm sure there are also locations where honey bees are considered endangered and you would be breaking the law by killing them UNLESS they were certified as AHB.
I am simply stating what *I* would do if it was me.
> I am simply stating what *I* would do if it was me.
And I guess that's a pretty moot point since he already said he was in the process of killing them (which sounds like the right decision to me).
But since neither of us knows his specific circumstances, it's hard to know if that's truly the ONLY viable option for him. I accept your explanation that all "advice" on this board needs to be taken with a certain amount of 'common sense' applied - I was only cautioning against sweeping, carte blanche advice to "Just requeen them. No need to kill them" when individual circumstances might dictate otherwise (especially in a potential AHB area such as Cooke County). Being more judicious in your advice will go a long way in insuring that beekeeping retains a good name with the general public.