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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    McLeansville NC
    Posts
    448

    Default I would like to know?

    I know that all reports and records indicate that the honey bee was not indigenous to North America, and prior to the arrival of Europeans by ship, there were no honey bees here. I grew up in the mountains of Western NC, and I recall an old man talking about the native honey bee, and described it as being small and black. From reading reports on here, and following some early ideas on what they were, it seems that this may well have been a German Strain of Honeybee. I still don't know how accurate the statemsnt is, claiming that there were no honeybees here and that they were all brought here, but I certainly was not here to verify, so I will go with it.

    My question is this, the Native Americans that were here, lived here, survived here, and harvested crops here. In fact, if it were not for the Native Americans, many of the earliest Europeans that came here, would not have survived. So what polinated there crops? I know that all we read states that 1/3 of all crops are polinated by honeybees? But something polinated on this Contenient prior to our arrival. I see as many bumble bees in my garden as I do honeybees, and I have a hive 30 ft. away. I see twice as many bumble bees, and carpenter bees on my blueberries as I do honeybeess.

    Just curious.
    Ron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default Re: I would like to know?

    a ron young snip...
    I grew up in the mountains of Western NC, and I recall an old man talking about the native honey bee, and described it as being small and black. From reading reports on here, and following some early ideas on what they were, it seems that this may well have been a German Strain of Honeybee.

    tecumseh:
    as the name suggest* these 'native honey bees' were not native... but I have heard old beekeeper speak in much the same language (from the same mountain range or area).

    *tagged here as the german black bee my old abc-xyz informs me that these bees origin was actually danish.

    another ron young snip..
    So what polinated there crops? I know that all we read states that 1/3 of all crops are polinated by honeybees? But something polinated on this Contenient prior to our arrival. I see as many bumble bees in my garden as I do honeybees

    tecumseh:
    I think your thinking is on the proper track. there were no social pollinating insects here anything like the european honeybee. this does not mean there were NO social pollinating insects just none that were organized into such large communities as what we call honeybees. even one of the bumblebees (and quite likely one of those you watch) collects honey. the number of smaller and often time overlooked pollinators (most native to this side of the pond) is quite remarkable. an entomologist (phd type) who buys my honey inform me that there are about 500 species of bee here in texas along.

    of course other insects besides bees and wasp can pollinate crops, some plants are self pollinate and others are wind pollinated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: I would like to know?

    The Native Americans cultivated and harvested the 3 Sisters - corn/maize, beans, and squash.

    Corn is wind pollinated. I see just as many (or more) carpenter, bumble, and various little bees pollinating my beans and squash.

    Please keep in mind that Native Americans were not cultivating hundreds of acres and getting modest yields. A few bees can pollinate an acre or two of crops much easier than hundreds of acres, so you could still get all your crops pollinated back then with a low bee density.

    Native Americans called the Black German bee that colonists brought over "White Man's Fly", because when Indians saw the bee, they knew whites were near by.

  4. #4

    Default Re: I would like to know?

    If you do a little research on some of the native solitary bees such as mason bees, you'll find that they are more effective pollinators than honeybees. So plants were being effectively pollinated prior to the importation of honeybees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: I would like to know?

    Here's what I've found:

    Bees are native to North American but Honey Bees are not.

    The bee that is known to produce honey and is used by bee keepers and is sent to pollinate crops is the European Honey Bee, an Apis type bee. These are the types of bees that build the wax honeycomb structure we are all so familiar with.

    According to Wikipedia: "Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bee, in nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.:"

    According to Wikipedia: "There are no honey bees native to the Americas. In 1622, European colonists brought the dark bee (A. m. mellifera) to the Americas, followed later by Italian bees (A. m. ligustica) and others."

    This article starts out: "Honey bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognized species of honey bee with a total of 44 subspecies (Engel, 1999) though historically, anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognized. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Graham, WA
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: I would like to know?

    This is really a great thread that has put together a lot of the questions I had. Nice input everyone.

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