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  1. #1
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    I have been told over and over that honey bees were brought to the new world. I have also heard others on this forum hint that they think they my have been here before that. I tend to think that they may have been here before the white man but I'm just guessing. Does anyone have any strong opinions on this?

  2. #2
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    heres a site chief that tells about bee's being brought here and also about a american bee fossil being the oldest ever found.

    http://www.research.ku.edu/scicoal/2003b/bee.shtml
    Ted

  3. #3
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    There are lots of strong opinions, believe you me.Organicbeekeepers had quite a "discussion" about it not too long ago.

    My opinion, based on what I have been taught and what I have found in research on my own is that Apis mellifera mellifera was brought to this continent along with many other non-native plants and animals. Such as three plants that I heard something about today that I think is neat. Kohlrabbi, ruhbarb and the pointsettia were all three introduced to this north american continent by thwe same person, whose name I didn't get into my memory bank, sorry.

    There is my opinion(what? is that peggjam coming? i'd better duck.). You asked.

    Mark Berninghausen
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #4
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    There is no evidence to support the wishful thinking
    that there might have been any type of honey bee
    (one that stores "surplus" for overwintering)
    in the Western Hemisphere before immigrants brought
    them over.

    One clear form of proof is the Native American
    legends. They had stories about every animal
    known to them, and there are no stories about
    bees that pre-date the immigrants.

    Yes, there are a bunch of different types of
    bee native to North America, but none of them
    are honey bees. Most of them are solitary bees.

    The primary proponent of the whole "honey bees
    were here before the immigrants" idea is a
    single beekeeper in Arizona, one who regularly
    comes up with a number of highly creative ideas
    that consistently keep this beekeeper "in the
    limelight" within a small circle of people who
    are apparently incapable of critical thought or
    independent reasoning.

    No, there is no solid proof that honey bees
    in one form or another were not in North America
    prior to the immigrants, but it is also hard to
    come up with "solid proof" that will convince
    some folks that the Loch Ness Monster does not
    exist, as proving a negative is often problematic.

    Not quite yet, anyway.

    The "bee genome" project will likely put this
    suburban myth to pasture once and for all, as
    it will be trivial to trace DNA back to
    "ancestral roots", much as can be done with
    human DNA today.

    But even that will only force the true believers
    to simply modify their claim - they will promptly
    switch to saying that the "native honey bees"
    all died out, leaving no trace to be found.

    As fossilized insects are rare finds, they would
    be "safe" with a claim like that, as it would be
    even harder to disprove.

    Another easy cross-check is that it is well known
    that the stingless bees of Central and South
    America were the only bees known to the cultures
    in those areas, and were managed for their (tiny)
    honey yields well before the arrival of the
    European immigants in North American, so if any
    form of honey bee that stored significant
    honey existed anywhere in the Western Hemisphere,
    it would have either spread southward by natural
    means, or been discovered and "brought back home"
    by the Central Americans, who made regular
    forays into the heart of North America, and
    certainly would have both noticed such a bee,
    and realized the obvious potential for domestication.

  5. #5
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    >There is no evidence to support the wishful thinking...

    Bee that as it may, I still fail to see why anybody really *cares* beyond engaging in a purely intellectual exercise. Sure. Interesting, but relevant? Some people sure can get excited about this topic though. I just don't get it.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  6. #6
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    as legend tell it chief along the north eastern coast, native americans commonly called the honey bee 'white man's flies'. don't know if that should be recognized as prima facia evidence, but it certainly should be viewed as a clue.

    as a side bar, one of mizz tecumseh university entomologist types tell me there are 700+ species of social 'wasp' in texas alone. and yes there is a ground dwelling bumblebee that does store a bit of honey. local legend sezs that some folks use to collect this bumblebee honey, but as big and as bad as those girls are I do find this part of the tale a bit hard to believe.

  7. #7
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    Very well written piece Jim. I could not agree more....

  8. #8
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    >as legend tell it chief along the north eastern coast, native americans commonly called the honey bee 'white man's flies'.

    Actually that's as Thomas Jefferson tells it and many people quote him on it and I have been trying to find a coroborating source and I have not found one and no one has been able to provide one.

    There are American Indian stories with bees. Of course the problem is proving they predate the Europeans with only a verbal history to fall back on. In Lakota, anyway, there are real names for bees, honey and beeswax, unlike the made up compound words for horses and monkeys and other European animals and things.

    I know of no way to prove or disprove the pre-european existance of honeybees here. Even the documents from Eurpoeans that SAY they were native here (yes there are some) are discounted (at least by the experts here) as being late enough that some COULD have gotten here. But then the Vikings and others from other places were here before Columbus so those Europeans may have brought some too.

    Saying they were or wern't here is all speculation. Popular speculation is often accepted as scientific fact.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    "There is my opinion(what? is that peggjam coming? i'd better duck.). You asked."


    [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img]
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #10
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    >>Popular speculation is often accepted as scientific fact.

    What?!? Maybe among uninformed members of society, but not among members of the scientific community.

    I can understand why Lakota would have words for bees and honey and beeswax. Bees are native to North America, just not honey bees. Anyone else ever worked with bumblebees? They make small amounts of honey (measured in ounces at the end of the year, as opposed to pounds), and they make wax comb, too. Bumblebees are native to North America.

    Systematists rely on biogeographical information to make determinations about ranges of organisms. For another example, look at rabbits or hares in Australia. Are they native there? In the case of honey bees, we recognize distinct races or strains in different regions of the range. Apis mellifera mellifera in northern Europe, A. m. scutella in Africa, A. m. capensis in Africa, A. m. liguistica in southern Europe, etc. Where are the representatives of an American race? (Remember that preserved insect specimens last a long, long time in collections -- specimens collected hundreds of years ago remain in collections still, but none of these belong to an American race or species of honey bee.)

    In short, the scientific theory now is that no honey bees (in the genus Apis) are native to the western hemisphere. That's a theory, not a scientific fact or a scientific hypothesis. Theories are backed up by many experiments and loads of data. Hypotheses are the original, testable statements or ideas. Facts are data points. (For instance, "A honey bee collected in Brookings, SD, on 12 August 2005 has six legs," is a scientific fact. "Honey bees have six legs," is a scientific theory. "Exposing honey bees to microwave radiation will result in bees with only four legs," is a hypothesis.)

  11. #11
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    The man who took the famous picture of the Loch Ness "monster" has recently been reported , on national news, to have died. It has also been reported that that person reveiled that the picture was facked and even how it was facked.

    Thought you aught to know.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #12
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    thanks BjornBee, mwb
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  13. #13
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    >>Popular speculation is often accepted as scientific fact.
    >What?!? Maybe among uninformed members of society, but not among members of the scientific community.

    LOL!!! Oh... I'm sorry, I guess you were serious.

    >Bumblebees are native to North America.

    Lakota have a word for bumble bee and a different one for honey bee. Just like we do.

    >Where are the representatives of an American race?

    The early reports from the Spaniards concerning native honey bees say they are black and indistingushable from the black honey bees in Europe. They also talk about various native stingless bees and wasps.

    >"Exposing honey bees to microwave radiation will result in bees with only four legs," is a hypothesis.)

    Not if you've done it and repeated it. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    >There is no evidence to support the wishful thinking...

    What's wishful about it? I don't care if they are or aren't.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    >>Popular speculation is often accepted as scientific fact.

    Yeah, I was serious. Just as a test of your claim, can you give examples of popular speculations that have been accepted as scientific fact by the scientific community?

    (By the way, see my above comments about scientific facts, scientific theories and scientific hypotheses. Since these terms are widely used and accepted in the scientific community, a "popular speculation" by definition could NOT be a "scientific fact.")

    >>Lakota have a word for bumble bee and a different one for honey bee. Just like we do.

    I'd like some enlightenment on this one. I'm not Lakota, and I don't speak or understand any Lakota, so I don't know how this one works out. In English, though, we use three words to differentiate between the two groups by common names, "bee," "honey," and "bumble." Since bumblebees do make some honey, I would assume the Lakota would have a term to refer to this honey. Is the word or term used to identify honey bees, too? Does Lakota contain a term or word for a "bee" in general, or does each specific type get its own distinct name?

    >>The early reports from the Spaniards concerning native honey bees say they are black and indistingushable from the black honey bees in Europe.

    OK, I recognize that they weren't necessarily biologists, much less taxonomists or systematists, so to some people they might be indistinguishable, but doesn't it seem odd to you that bees would have specialized to form distinct races even between northern Europe and southern Europe, yet the "native honey bees" (if indeed they were) were the same race as the northern European bees? Personally, I would expect some different races -- not just one, but, for example, distinct races native to South America and Central America and North America, just like in Europe and Africa, and well as maybe some distinct races even within North America. Obviously, some of the races from Europe have advantages in different parts of the country (overwintering abilities, for example), so I would expect similar forms to have inhabited North America if, indeed, they were native.

    Having said that, that still doesn't change my comments about specimens. "Descriptions" in papers were often pretty far off. In your citation, you even refered to the native stingless bees -- couldn't these "indistinguishable" black honey bees really have been one of the stingless bees? If you want more examples, go back and read some of the old descriptions of armadilloes and oppossums and, one of my particular favorites, "unicorns." The unicorns were described in detail in old papers as horses with single horns, and the descriptions were backed up with physical examples of the horns that had been cut off the unicorns. Those horns actually came from narwhals.

    >>Not if you've done it and repeated it.

    That's true. Then it becomes a theory. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  15. #15
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    <Kieck>
    What?!? Maybe among uninformed members of society, but not among members of the scientific community.

    Michael, you cannot argue with this since he has invoked the name of scientific community.

    By the way Kieck, invoking the name of scientific community is a common way of getting the uninformed members of society to accept popular speculation as scientific fact. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

    fact: something that has actual existence : a matter of objective reality

    <Kieck>
    "Honey bees have six legs," is a scientific theory.

    No it's not, it's a fact!

    You can count them and see. Also it is a fact by definition since honey bees belong to the class insecta and the definition of insecta includes a requirement for 3 pairs of walking legs.

    JohnF
    JohnF INTP

  16. #16
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    <Kieck>
    That's true. Then it becomes a theory.

    scientific fact

    n : an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)

    No it isn't, it becomes a scientific fact.

    JohnF
    JohnF INTP

  17. #17
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    >>>Honey bees have six legs," is a scientific theory.

    >No it's not, it's a fact!

    Then it's wrong. I personally have seen bees with fewer than six legs (likely because of amputations). So, as soon as it becomes a fact, it becomes wrong.

    >>Also it is a fact by definition since honey bees belong to the class insecta and the definition of insecta includes a requirement for 3 pairs of walking legs.

    That one's also wrong. Many butterflies naturally have only two pairs of legs. Period. Praying mantises only have two pairs of walking legs (the other pair is used for grabbing prey only). Or maybe those insects don't qualify as belonging to the class Insecta?

    >>By the way Kieck, invoking the name of scientific community is a common way of getting the uninformed members of society to accept popular speculation as scientific fact.

    Like I asked Michael, provide some examples of
    popular speculation being forced on uninformed members of society through the invocation of "scientific community." Can you list some specific examples? You made the claim -- back it up! [img]smile.gif[/img]

  18. #18
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    You two guys (Kieck and John F) remind me of a couple of film critics I used to watch on TV. Great pair. Never could agree on anything. Totally opposite likes and disklikes in movies and apparently, everything else. Always got along though. I could never figure that part out.

    Anyways, keep it up.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  19. #19
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    Ugh, you tax me man.

    <Kieck>
    Then it's wrong. I personally have seen bees with fewer than six legs (likely because of amputations). So, as soon as it becomes a fact, it becomes wrong.

    This is context shifting. You know I was speaking specifically the species and now you want to shift to individuals.

    Ok:

    Honey bees don't have stingers.
    Honey bees are wingless.
    Honey bees are crunchy dead matter.
    Honey bees have no legs.

    Ugh...

    <Kieck>
    That one's also wrong. Many butterflies naturally have only two pairs of legs. Period. Praying mantises only have two pairs of walking legs (the other pair is used for grabbing prey only). Or maybe those insects don't qualify as belonging to the class Insecta?

    I didn't make it up. I just looked it up. If you biologist guys want to make definitions that you can't keep straight, then go right ahead. My point was that insecta is defined as having 6 legs and honey bees are insecta.

    So, if insecta are defined to have 6 legs and honey bees are insecta then honey bees have 6 legs by definition, which means honey bees have 6 legs is a fact by definition.

    I don't know nuth'n about 4 legged butterflies or how or why a biologist would define the legs of a mantis. You need to get with your biologist buddies on those.

    But hey, let's just switch my definition above to honey bees belong to the class hexapoda. You have to agree that hexapoda have 6 legs, right? So now can we say that honey bees have 6 legs is a fact by definition?

    <Kieck>
    You made the claim -- back it up!

    It is often spouted as a fact that members of the scientific community are immune to accepting popular speculation as scientific fact.

    Not good enough...

    Early scientists believed the planet flat. It was scientific fact until proven wrong.

    Still not good enough...

    There is a group of scientists that espouse as scientific fact some of the theories of quantum mechanics that cannot be explained or rigorously observed.

    More??? ...

    There is a group of scientists that promote the theory of the big bang as scientific fact which I know cannot be observed.

    To be fair...

    And there are scientists that argue that intelligent design is a scientific fact. They go so far as to have proofs.

    JohnF
    JohnF INTP

  20. #20
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    The entire idea that there might have been
    a native North American honey bee that somehow
    escaped being found, hived, and documented by
    the Central Americans in the same manner
    as the stingless bees that WERE managed by
    the Central Americans for their tiny honey
    "crops" is so preposterous that you'd not only have
    to put your brain on hold to believe it, you'd
    have to remove it from your skull, toss down the
    stairs, and then stomp it into a bloody mass.

    While it is a shame that the North American
    natives neither built large stone edifices nor
    kept records that survived, I'd like to ask
    which specific words in Lakota are used to
    describe various bees. (I have some good
    friends who grew up "on the rez", and can
    ask some elders for a cross-check on the
    linguistics. Not to doubt Michael on this,
    but I've seen even those fluent in Lakotah
    since childhood debate the "actual" meaning
    of this term or that one, and they've always
    used old guys as their "Oxford English Dictionary".)

    If one wishes, one can do one's homework on this
    general issue, or one can take the easy route,
    and thus view all scholarly inquiry to a mere
    "stance", one able to be questioned by mere idle
    speculation.

    As for "theories", I'd like to point out that
    our understanding of the force of gravity is
    classified as a "theory". I for one, will
    be happy to renounce my endorsement for this
    "theory" the moment anyone drops an object,
    and video tapes it flying upwards rather than
    downwards. Theories have data to back them
    up, making them very different from "speculation"
    or "wild guesses", and the singular form of the
    collective noun 'data' is NOT 'anecdote'.

    And if there is a "scientific community" anywhere,
    you would not want to live there - just imagine
    the zoning ordinances! [img]smile.gif[/img]

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