Texas is not the only source of Buckfast bees. There are several Ontario queenbreeders that will ship them to USA.
Don't know much about the bees in Arizona or the politics, but all those thousands of beekeepers south of the border don't have much money or much of a political agenda. Yet, they have changed their ways of beekeeping since the ahb spread. Something has changed or they wouldn't have. A very interesting article to that effect appears in the last American Bee Journal. A very interesting read!
Some of the changes have been for the better and others have been for the worse, but the unusual aggressiveness of the cross is generally expoused. The bees can be as gentle as any but can change with little notice and become lethal.
I worked for a guy who went to Brazil to study and observe the AHB before it became a resident of the US. He brought back some very interesting stories/observations. Agression is not the only unique characteristic of this bee.
Beekeepers often work the hives in shorts but the approach, prep and working are done very differently than we do with our honeybees in the US. A helper is employed just to run the smoker which is hugh with bellows that require two arms to pump! He brought one back and it produces more smoke in a single puff than I use in a whole beeyard!
I have tried bees from Africanized areas in the US. One of these hives was as aggressive as Michaels hive and killed small birds that were flying overhead. They attacked the black molding on my truck and ran me inside it. It took about 30 seconds and continued the rest of the afternoon. All this after only removing the migratory lid without smoke!
These bees had some of the other behaviors associated with african bees. I think they were africanized.
Fortunately these bees were out in the country about 1/4 mile from the nearest road. I stayed the rest of the day to make sure no one got into trouble along that road. What if some kid riding a bike on the road were attacked. Yikes!
The threat of AHB or any aggressive hives should not be minimized. Beekeepers should be the first to protect the public from any kind of bee nuisance. It's a duty that can insure our value to a society which is now far removed from it's agricultural roots.
"And by the way, where does culling of drone brood come into play, when referring to "doing things the natural way"."
It comes into play because it is not natural to have a large primate remove combs regularly for his/her enjoyment. This regular comb removal inevitably leads to damaged combs sooner or later, and this damaged comb is often repaired as drone comb. This leads to an "unnatural" amount of drone comb in the colony, and culling pares it down to a more "natural" level.
Anyone who doubts the reality and severity of the temprement change that "Africanized bees" bring has got their head in the sand. My wife is from Panama, and we frequently visit Panama. In the past, hives with European strains were kept in the back yard, 20-30 yards from the homes. Many people had a hive or two to supplement the income and provide honey for home use. Everyone destroyed all their hives when the "African" strains moved in. Severe stinging incidences were common. Now only a few people who have transportation---(trucks) can keep bees, as the bees now are kept a long ways from human habitation. Since most people in Panama are poor and don't have transportation, they have simply given up beekeeping and destroyed their hives.
The USA has a lot more hives than Panama,so the question is what happens when these bees migrate into an area with many thousands of European hives?What is the situation in Southern Cal?Anyone there feel these bees are taking over or are they just being absorbed into the general population.I dont follow this as closely as some as there are more immediate threats to deal with.
Knowing that there are people, who think aliens come all the way to earth to do nothing more than crop circles, lets me believe humans can believe anything. Some even tried to catch the last comet to heaven. With our technology, we have troubles going to the moon. But I can imagine in some far off galaxy, some alien asking " So gorp, what are you doing this weekend?" "Well I'm going to zip off to that place called earth, and do a crop circle to play with their heads". Maybe you believe this also because you "read" it somewhere.
As for the comment about "the way things have been for millions of years,".....stay with me on this....you can't say you do things the "natural way" as has been for a million years and also keep bees in hives, perform manipulations and control them in other ways, and say that your way is somehow "natural", or the way its been for millions of years. No human keeps bees the "natural" way. Period.
To say that culling is needed for drones due to the amounts of drone comb made in response of beekeeper manipulations, I wonder what you do to your hives to cause this much damage?
I'll believe the thousands of reports on aggressive bees, beekeeper testamonies, documented papers, and years of research. You can believe, up till now, the only person I've heard so far (see first post), that there is no such thing as "africanized" bees, or that its a goverment spending ploy.
It had been hoped (in the early years) that once they expanded their territory to reach the U.S., they would, in effect, run "into a wall" of European managed colonies. And this "wall" would stop them and force them to assimilate (kinda 'Bork-ish', huh?). However, good 'ole Mother Nature has this idea about dominate genes and recessive genes and most of her "laws" are not too flexible. So, as it's turned out, the aggressive (really, defensive) characteristic/behavior has proven to be genetically dominate. Thus, as they move into an area, they're proving not to become more mellow as was once hoped. So the danger becomes even more widespread since AHB drones can mate with European queens and some (or all) of her offspring can become hybridized AHB.
The upside (if one can be found) of all of this, is that research on the South American continent has pretty well established their range - which is very temperature dependent. I don't have the figures readily at hand at the moment, but suffice it to say that they don't (can't) stay permanently established where the average winter temperature is below 'x(?)' degrees. But as we all know, some Winters are colder and some are warmer. So I believe the South American research came to the conclusion there is about a two hundred mile wide range where they "freeze back" during cold winters and expand into during warm winters. So I expect we'll see a similar two hundred mile wide band more-or-less establish itself in north America also.
Ok,doesnt look like they will be a problem in the areas I operate in.Trucking those kind of bees around for pollination would be a nightmare!I wonder what is slowing the eastern migration towards Florida?
The last "projected" territory map I saw (a few years ago), showed pretty much all the southern and southwest states included. And a fairly long, narrow region going up both the east coast and west coast (as I recall, the west coast projection was almost to Oregon but didn't reach inland very far). My area (Dallas) was projected to be either permanently covered or at least within the 200 or so, mile band I mentioned earlier. This has since come to pass.
Your question about their slow expansion east has been probably the greatest mystery concerning the AHB. I've read several hypothesis why this is the case but so far, at least to me, nothing makes sense. This aspect of their migration certainly wasn't expected.
What bee in their right mind would want to go through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, just to get to Florida. I dont blame them.
Actually the research I've seen indicates, if you think in terms of EHB's that we raise which are on enlarged cells, the the dominance of the AHB's has a lot to do with small drones that can outfly the oversized EHB drones. Small cell could counter a lot of this.
Also the survival seems more related to small cell than to genetics of the AHB although genetics may also play into it. The shorter time to emergence is a product of cell size, as I and others have observed and measured in EHB's on small cell. And this shorter time from capping to emergence plays a big role in the AHB's fighting the mites.
"So gorp, what are you doing this weekend?" "Well I'm going to zip off to that place called earth, and do a crop circle to play with their heads". Maybe you believe this also because you "read" it somewhere."
You're right. The fact that I believe something is POSSIBLE indicates that I must have read it somewhere, and being unable to think for myself I believe it to be 100% true. The fact that you and I may disagree on that something means you need to point out what an idiot I must be, and do it quickly.
"As for the comment about "the way things have been for millions of years,".....stay with me on this...."
I don't believe I made any comment at all about "the way things have been for millions of years", but thanks for reminding me to stay with you because my slow moving mind was having a hard time focusing...
"No human keeps bees the "natural" way. Period."
C'mon, really? gorp and I could never have figured this one out...again thanks for the info.
"To say that culling is needed for drones due to the amounts of drone comb made in response of beekeeper manipulations, I wonder what you do to your hives to cause this much damage?"
My thoughts on why there would be more than a natural amount of drone comb in one of these unnnatural hives. It never occured to me that experts such as yourself don't ever do any damage to any of your combs, so it's probably just my inept clumsiness. Please ignore my ideas, and write them off to someone that just "read it somewhere."
"You can believe, up till now, the only person I've heard so far (see first post), that there is no such thing as "africanized" bees, or that its a goverment spending ploy."
BjornBee, I did not indicate in either of these posts what I think about the ahb debate. I did allow that I think "spending ploys" are possible. But somehow, you have managed to get inside my mind (you know, the one that reads but does not think,) and figure out what I believe. Thanks for that, and thanks for quickly pointing out how wrong I am in such a positive, constructive manner.
And thanks also for taking away just a little bit of the fun of coming to this forum.
You have responded not once but twice to my original post on this strip. And a further post after my second post. Please realize that you do not have to acknowledge or respond to my raving babbling.
Since my last post on this topic, I have been reprimanded by "administration" for comments on another forum. I have stated that I would not take part in such discussions again. I have come to the realization that others may not enjoy jabbing back and forth, some may take it personal, and while others may just have thin skin. It may also be less than whats expected from administration.
I being "one", am truly sorry for outwieghing the comments of 1054 other members. I will make an effort of not responding to your further posts so that you may again fully enjoy this forum and focus on the other 1054 members. Please accept my apology.
[This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited October 31, 2003).]
Anyone get a chance to read that article in the ABJ on Africans in Mexico? For me, it's hard to question the experiences and observations of all of those affected beekeepers.
Now, I don't know whether the bees in Arizona are African or native or what. But the physiography, climate and even some of the plants are close relatives of those found in the African bee's native range.
I would think that if the southern Arizona region would be a most hospitable place for African bees compared to other locations in the US. As these bees were imported into this country a handful of times in the last 100 years, maybe their offspring had naturalized there. The area might also suit the iberian bee as well.
Another choice my be that a native bee,as Dee asserts, is aclimatized to that region. Chances are it would in some way resemble bees aclimitized to similar environments.
Maybe not much difference exists between the naturalized or natural bees in that area and the AHBs that have migrated north into the area. Could this explain the difference in Dee's observations and those of beekeepers farther south?
>Could this explain the difference in Dee's observations and those of beekeepers farther south?
There you go thinkin' again...
Here's a guy in your home state that you probably should give your, "no such thing as an AHB" talk to:
Rick Gibson, listen up!
I have been reading Mark Winstons "Killer Bees-The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas".It is a fascinating account of their studies in Central and South America.It seems to confirm pretty much the negative comments on this bee.Aggressiveness,extreme swarming and absconding are its survival traits that make it something we dont want in our hives.I am still interested in any comments from southern Cal. as to its behaviour in that area.
"It's not possible to coexist with wild bees."
Boy, I know lots of people who have bees in their house, their trees etc. Someone should tell them. I know an older lady who has had bees in her house for at least the last fifty years. Wait! If she's had bees in her house the last fifty years, she IS coexisting with wild bees. Imaging that! But it's in the news, so it has to be true.
That statement struck me as false,also,since it isnt true if we are talking about European races.But in the context of the feral bees being almost totally Africanized in his area,it may be true.Apparently the feral hives tend to revert to almost a pure African type in tropical areas because the survival traits of this bee make it THE dominant source of drones available for mating virgins of whatever breed.The hybridization with European types becomes more pronounced as they enter more temperate climates where the European survival traits make them the dominant bee.So that is what I am trying to find out,how much of the original 'bad' traits are getting bred out as they meet the huge number of European bees in the temperate areas.I think that must be the limit of their range,but there must be a lot of hybrids right on the edge of the range.The article from Arizona seems to confirm that as he says it is hard to distinguish between them based on physical chracteristics.Winstons book points out that in tropical Central and South American areas the feral bee is almost identical to Scutt bees in the area of Africa that the original importations came from.