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  1. #81
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by beyondthesidewalks View Post
    If this is true than Texas is still in a transient status. I catch feral bees in my area that are definitely not AHB. I also catch bees that are black and of German descent but much more agressive. I think that many of these are confused with AHB. I've also caught a few hot bees but I managed them and they're not hot anymore.

    Is there any indication of how long this "transient" status will last?

    I admit that I'm not sure I buy it. I'm very skeptical of any AHB sensationalism. I'm not in denial. I live in a county that our government says has been taken over by AHB yet I still keep bees and I'm not experiencing anything like people are describing as AHB.

    I may be wrong but I think that AHB can and will be managed.

    My biggest fear (bigger than AHB!) is that the government will declare that all honeybees in our "confirmed" AHB counties will have to be destroyed. That would be a shame but I can imagine, especially, our current regime trying to push something like that on us.
    First: Texas is a very large state, having the southern most point in the continental U.S. save for Florida Keyes, Areas further west than Denver and as far East as Des Moines Iowa, and within 40 miles of Kansas border.

    The demarcation line for AHb runs through Houston, Austin, and San Antonio (this should not change). During the summer Ahb are capable of migrating 300+ miles, north of this line, but during normal winters these bees would die out because they don't cluster and therefore can't survive the winters. You are about as far north as we are, and we are not on the list for Ahb. So that being said, although you may have incidences of AHB, I doubt that they would ever become established to move from the transient status; thereby eventually destroying ehb influence. Also your area; although remote and rural, has much commercial beekeeping (or at least used to).
    Another consideration in this study is that AHB are not able to spread in areas which have 50+ inches of rain per year which is spread equally throughout the year. This is the case for our area but not for areas which only receive monsoonial rains. This is why AHB have not become established in our, or areas east of us.

    Second: Logically speaking the length of transient status would vary due to environmental conditions as previously mentioned. I wouldn't think that it would ever end in your area.

    Third: I doubt that your area has been taken over but rather has had an incident where ahb have been confirmed. This could be because of migration followed by mild winters or migration other than natural swarming, such as hitching rides on trucks, autos, trains, etc.

    Fourth: I have had one purchased colony (from location south of me) which was Africanized. When you have it you know it. There is no comparison to the aggression. My gloves were covered (solid black with bees), and so was my veil. There has been some sensationalism in the movies but don't doubt the dangers. Also, they will never be tolerated here in the USA because of liability from a legal standpoint. Just isn't going to happen.

    Fifth: Yep, me to for control purposes.

    Familiar with your area, spent from 1963 through about 1971 in Bellmead and currently have a brother in the boonies outside of Leroy/Mt. Calm area
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  2. #82
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Argentina has a longer exposure to AHB than the US and has big areas of similar terrain to the southwest US. Buenos Aires province is a world class honey exporter and they have done some large Mitochondiral dna studies to address these concerns about the EHB / AHB interaction and to get definitive answers.

    I found it interesting they can id haplotypes to the geographic origins of Iberia and North Africa for example which would go back to the 1800s Spanish settlements. I think the conclusions are that the EHB stock has not been taken over or even mixed in most of the province and its a patchy mix to the north and west where it is hotter.

    http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/20080611_115

    I've got a copy of the pdf if you want it emailed. I don't know if they have done anything similar for TX, GA or FL.

    Oh, one interesting thing is about the comparison for Buenos Aires province. The province is huge, about 1/2 of TX which I was surp. to find. I show 307,571 km2 for BA prov.
    and 696,000 for TX. So this BA study covers a giant honey production area with very pro-active beekeepers as far as AHB is concerned.
    I think BA province then represents a best case vs. AHB because of the relative density of the beeks and EHB colonies. TX I have to think would be much more difficult,
    bigger, much lower beek and EHB density, larger feral environment.
    Last edited by JBG; 08-14-2009 at 08:16 AM. Reason: New facts, info.

  3. #83
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    I picked up a hive that had taken residence in a gas grill. The owner said the were pretty gental. I went to pick them up, and when I got 20 feet away they were on me big time. I suited up fully. Put the whole gas grill in the back of my truck..When I got them back to the house, I had to suit up in my truck. Hundreds of bees poundind my whole body. stung thru suit can't count the numbers. Hundreds of stingers on my gloves.
    I put them behind my shop. Good thing it was on a Friday evening. Sat could not even be in the front of my shop. One bee headbutting, then 3, then 8, then 20. These bees followed me 20 yards before they got disinterested and 10 minuits of waiting.
    I didn't go back till Tuesday. Peeked around the corner of the building and pow 3 hit me on my forehead area. I run away with my tail tucked and desided to distroy them that night.
    Covered the whole gas grill that night with a cloth cover covered that with a plastic tarp and placed a gasoline motor with a exahst extension under the covers and started the motor. Good redense. If I get any more African bees, they two will be distroyed. Don't want them breading around here.
    I can deal with agressive hives but not them. You,ll know if they are African.

  4. #84
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    One thing I recall reading about when they first appeared in Argentina is that the first waves came in as real bad-a,,es but after they got established they calmed down somewhat. I can't recall the article but I think that is a typical
    experience but not due to interbreeding it seems. In Brazil the apiary I took over started by trying EHBs before AHB spread there. EHBs were a consistent failure, never really got established so they were happy to get a viable income source when AHBs showed up, which is the story all thru South and Central America. Given that there is no alternative, Brazil has turned the situation into a big marketing advantage in the production of fully organic apiary products.
    You have beekeepers who can't afford and don't need apiary treatments and
    who are located in areas that are still quite wild or protected. This is a nice example... http://www.cearapi.com.br/
    I have a pdf (or maybe I can find the link) where one of the coop beeks there talks about how they collected honey before
    they got organized. It was right out of the stone age using fire and taking stings. The way he phrased it in Portuguese is very poetic, something like
    "it was a time of fire and pain"
    Let me seee.....
    Last edited by JBG; 08-14-2009 at 07:36 AM. Reason: typos

  5. #85
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    For some reason the ARS site (shown in my post #79 herein) is not accessable anylonger. There were some interesting observations in this research. I wish now that I had copied the paper and saved it but I did not, but will share with you some of may recollections.

    First: This paper discussed the transient nature of of Ahb crossed with Ehb.

    Temporarily there is a crossing and thereby reduction of the Aggressiveness of AHB.

    However, it was found that Ahb drones flew farther, and were more aggressive in breeding virgin queens. Also Ahb colonies were constantly in a swarm mode and therefore always had large populations of drones.

    Ahb queens emerged a day earlier than European queens and therefore destroyed the late emerging european queen cells.

    Hence the reason for the transient nature of crosses between ehb/ahb. Eventually in ahb established areas the european (unmanaged) populations are eliminated.

    Second: Ahb have not spread throughout the southern tier of States as first anticipated. It was found that areas that had 50+ inches of rain per year, when the rain was evenly distributed throughout different seasons prevented the spread of Ahb. However, areas with 50+ inches of rain per year in monsoonial weather patterns (rain only in the moonsoon period) did not restrict the spread of Ahb.

    Hence, Ahb are better estabilished in Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas. This is probably why my county is not on the list of AHB.

    Now other observations from other studies.

    Ahb are able to migrate about 300 miles per year with certain weather patterns (see above and observations following). The first Ahb in the U.S. were found in 1990 in Hildago county Texas. That was 20 years ago and hence all areas where Ahb can become established has already happened. 20x300=6,000 miles.

    A distinction must be made between an 'established' population, one where ahb are predominant and one where they can be found on occassion. Ahb do not cluster, nor keep large winter stores of honey, hence cold weather destroys a colony.

    The demarcation line for survival of the Ahb line runs through (in Texas) Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. But consideration must be given to the fact that Ahb can migrate 300 miles in a year with conducive weather patterns. Consideration must also be given to those years when there is mild winters and the Ahb are not winter killed, thereby allowing migration to extend beyond the 300 mile demarcation line; although this would only be temporarily.

    Also, Ahb swarms also hitch a ride on trucks, trains, and even automobiles so they can be spread over large areas, however, they still would not become 'established'.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  6. #86
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    DRUR,

    Thanks for the info. I think this may be the new location for the article you mention:

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archiv...4/bees0304.htm

    It looks the same, but it worked for me. If this doesn't work, a search on their home page for "bees0304" will get you there.

    Walt
    "Having Fun with Nature"
    www.rgf-tx.com

  7. #87
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    One thing the US does not have that is a big factor in South America is the Andes mountain range which has naturally blocked AHB from Chile. They can't overcome either altitude or cold. Uruguay is a mixed bag but there are some
    really interesting specialty beeks there who keep the lineage of some of the old Spanish "criollo" (I think) bees. I think they have remained AHB free but these are exceptionally skilled guys in micro-climates. High value honey too.

    Question, I should be able to figure this out but i'm lazy, where is that 50'' rain area or line? That is a big big rain ammount. Generally the AHBs are better adapted to prolonged rainy conditions but this is different than monsoonal deluges.
    Last edited by JBG; 08-14-2009 at 09:26 AM. Reason: spelling

  8. #88
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt B View Post
    DRUR,

    Thanks for the info. I think this may be the new location for the article you mention:
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archiv...4/bees0304.htm
    Walt
    Yes, this is it Walt, thanks for sharing.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  9. #89
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    I like this statement from the ARS article,
    "
    And everyone expected AHBs to spread across the southernmost tier of states. But, as of January 2004, AHBs have been found only in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

    This is a really good article, but that "only" is a bit ironic. Now we got FL and
    maybe GA on the map that sure is a heck of a big part of the south. Oh yes isn't Utah a bit of a surprize given that it gets pretty cold in the south of UT.

  10. #90
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    Question, I should be able to figure this out but i'm lazy, where is that 50'' rain area or line?

    That is a big big rain ammount.

    Generally the AHBs are better adapted to prolonged rainy conditions but this is different than monsoonal deluges.
    JBG look on a map of Paris Texas In Northeast Texas, then find Huntsville, Texas, just north of Houston on I-45. Draw a north to south line through these cities and everything east of this would probably fit into that category.

    Well, maybe for some areas but not for here. I remember one year back during the 80s when we received 120" of rain in one year, now that seemed like a lot. That was the year I was bitten on my achilles' tendon by a cottonmouth.

    No, it is not the monsoonal deluges which serves as a barrier, but rather and even distribution of the 55" throughout the year.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  11. #91
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    Hacienda Heights, Ca, USA
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    Default My experience with Suspected AHB’s

    I got a swarm earlier this summer and combined them with a very week queenless hive that I had been nursing along. After a couple weeks the bees got very defensive of that part of the yard (“I’m a back yard keeper in southern California). I got stung twice and my daughter once, while watching them or working in the yard. I had been using sugar water to work my other hive but this one the sweet water didn’t work. When I tried smoke the bees went nuts. They filled the air in a cloud of bees and started running around like bees on speed. I though “wow, this is weird” then I heard a taping sound and looked down at the spray bottle and they were attacking the spray pump-handle…it was black plastic and they were going nuts attack it. Dive bombing it, crawling all over it with stingers out and thrusting, the whole nine yards. That was enough for me, I requeened with an Italian from up north (above the dreaded AHB line) and now ~month and a half later they are doing fine, just like my other hive. They keep their heads down when the smoker is lit and no more stings. I don’t know if the hive behavior was due to a “bad” queen or that she laying AHB’s (I didn’t send any in to the county to be checked), but it sure made a difference (and the bad experience convinced me to get a bee suit and gauntlet gloves). For the short time I had them in that state, I don’t see any difference in the production but while the old queen was in place the bees were noticeably smaller and ran around really fast when compared to their Italian sisters in my other hive.

  12. #92
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    I like this statement from the ARS article,
    "
    And everyone expected AHBs to spread across the southernmost tier of states. But, as of January 2004, AHBs have been found only in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

    This is a really good article, but that "only" is a bit ironic. Now we got FL and
    maybe GA on the map that sure is a heck of a big part of the south. Oh yes isn't Utah a bit of a surprize given that it gets pretty cold in the south of UT.
    This 2004 states I quote:
    "But, as of January 2004, AHBs have been found only in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Southern Florida would be hospitable to the bees given its temperature and rainfall,"

    Now of course there are 'established' populations in Southern Florida as anticipated. But there is a difference between 'established' populations and some ahb colonies. The progression maps show incidences and not 'establishment'. An incidence can occur because a swarm has caught a ride on various means of conveyance, or invaded by northern migration, only to be killed during wintertime. These other states are not 'established' populations. The farther from the demarcation line (north) the easier to control, and less stringent management procedures are required. Also, the rain barrier may be broken in drier years, but no establishment would occur.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  13. #93
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    How about Cuba? Jamaica? ,,,

  14. #94
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    That 2004 information is both wrong and outdated. This shows the current border of AHB spread in Oklahoma, which is really the border of the spread for the central part of the country:

    http://www.ok.gov/~okag/forms/cps/ahb-map.pdf

    I have found some AHB maps that show no AHB confirmed in north Texas. That is only because they stopped monitoring for them. They are there, and they did not jump from central TX to southern OK.

    The counties in Oklahoma that are to the north seem to have occassional sightings so far. However, some of the counties in the middle of Oklahoma have established populations that seem to be doing well.

    I did not get them tested, but I believe that I had some AHB genes in one of my hives last year. They were some nasty bugs. I had to tie a shirt around my neck to keep them from burrowing into my veil. If that were the norm, I would have to abandon urban beekeeping due to safety issues. Fortunately, there are always nice Cordovan queens, which is what I probably will go to exclusively in time. That way, I can look at a hive from outside and feel comfortable that they are nice, yellow bees.

    One problem with AHB hives is that they are really hard to requeen with EHB stock. It may be just as easy to kill them all and start with new bees and a new queen.

    Dewey Caron and Jerry Hayes spoke to our local bee club last spring. They are both AHB experts. The current predictions, based on weather and what happened going southwards in South America, is that AHB could spread over most of Kansas and maybe even into Nebraska in the plains states.

    Neil

  15. #95
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    In Argentina I think they made it as far south as Rio Negro province which does have a decent winter. I'm not sure of that and not knowing where in a big area like that does not help too much. I would be surprized if they can make it thru the winter anywhere in Kansas or Nebraska. You really have to look at Buenos Aires province I think to get some ideas. The caveat is that I don't think the US has a state with the kind of absolute colony and beek numbers and density considering that the province ranks in the top five in world export for honey.

  16. #96
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    JBG look on a map of Paris Texas In Northeast Texas, then find Huntsville, Texas, just north of Houston on I-45. Draw a north to south line through these cities and everything east of this would probably fit into that category.
    Wow, I am getting an education in Texas geography. Way more diverse and complicated than I thought. In my mind is the old LBJ or GWB ranch or where they filmed "No Country For Old Men" which is a trendy area now.

  17. #97
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilV View Post
    That 2004 information is both wrong and outdated. This shows the current border of AHB spread in Oklahoma, which is really the border of the spread for the central part of the country:

    http://www.ok.gov/~okag/forms/cps/ahb-map.pdf Neil
    Neil:

    First lets get some facts straight Neil according to all research which I know of, if, however, there has been research which show otherwise, please give us the place where we can examine the research.
    1. AHBs do not cluster and therefore do not survive harsh winters.

    2. AHBs move to locations without natural swarm expansion, by hitching rides on trains, trucks and autos. This could (but maybe not) account for your so-called jumping.

    3. The ARS map shows areas in Texas and Okl. And other states which showed new AHB confirmations in 2009, so for you to say that these are no longer being monitored in Texas is just not correct. Last Year I saw bee bags in Davy Crocket National Forest just south of Weches.

    4. The ARS map and Oklahoma maps on report confirmed cases of bees but not necessarily where the bees are established. A confirmed colony (even if a random confirmation) would qualify, but source of these bees are unknown. In other words they could have hitched a ride on car or truck and in fact there may no longer be any AHB currently in that area. Once they have been confirmed they are not removed from the map when the bees are removed from the area.

    5. The Oklahoma maps a first confirmation of bees in 2009 for a county that the surrounding counties had confirmations in 2004 (northwest), 2008 (north), 2006 (northeast), 2007 (east), 2004 (south). This does not show a normal swarm pattern migration.

    Neil: There are conclusory allegations, which are conclusions based upon a mere allegation (these are totally worthless); and there are conclusions supported by interpreted facts (which may or may not be viable depending upon the interpretation). Statements made by you are not supported by facts.

    >That 2004 information is both wrong and outdated.<

    Conclusory allegation.

    > This shows the current border of AHB spread in Oklahoma, which is really the border of the spread for the central part of the country<

    Conclusory allegation

    >The counties in Oklahoma that are to the north seem to have occassional sightings so far. However, some of the counties in the middle of Oklahoma have established populations that seem to be doing well.<

    Conclusory allegation

    >I have found some AHB maps that show no AHB confirmed in north Texas. That is only because they stopped monitoring for them. They are there, and they did not jump from central TX to southern OK<

    Conclusory allegation

    > Dewey Caron and Jerry Hayes spoke to our local bee club last spring. They are both AHB experts<

    Conclusory allegation

    > The current predictions, based on weather and what happened going southwards in South America, is that AHB could spread over most of Kansas and maybe even into Nebraska in the plains states.<

    Conclusory allegation

    "nothing but the facts" Jack Webb, Dragnet
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  18. #98
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Here is a reason to like wikipedia.....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragnet_%28series%29

    "Just the facts, ma'am"

    While "Just the facts, ma'am" has come to be known as Dragnet's catchphrase, it was never actually uttered by Joe Friday; the closest he came were, "All we want are the facts, ma'am" and "All we know are the facts, ma'am". "Just the facts, ma'am" comes from the Stan Freberg parody St. George and the Dragonet.
    ........
    I could swear I did hear Joe Friday say "Just the facts, ma'am" in several episodes but the Wiki obsessive gets the nod.

  19. #99
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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    I have a friend in florida that does pollination and he has worked his hives with just a veil, he had hives tested and found out that most of his hives had AHB genes but working them he could tell because they were calm, he re queened all his hives since because he is in some kind of a anti AHB thing they have going in that state.

    Now on the rain and cold barrier, I don't believe this will last because the AHB hives breed with feral hives and they will get the traits needed to survive in those area's, why wouldn't they? I have always heard that the AHB in the states are crossed with European bee's and the main trait that tells you they are AHB is the agressiveness, with bee's being trucked and catching rides from confirmed AHB states it is just a matter of time before they can survive anywhere I think. I watch a show on AHB the other night and it showed the same locations as this map http://www.stingshield.com/all-us.htm and you can see that there is even a location in northern Alabama now, so I think it is just a matter of time so we best get ready for them.
    Ted

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    Default Re: Africanized Bees - Are they really that bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    I humbly stand corrected, thanks JBG, just to let everyone know that I am human also, hmmm, I guess my statement was just a conclusory allegation unsupported by "nothing but the facts mam", Laughter is great medicine and I just got a dose. Thanks JBG.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

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