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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    294

    Default German black bees

    Hi, I was wondering how productive, gentle, disease and mite tolerant, And good at wintering the German black bee is.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,162

    Default Re: German black bees

    I've read there is one part of the US back east that still has them in the wild. Genetics are probably pretty diluted by now though.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Telford, TN, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: German black bees

    We have a hive of black bees, black and brown that we inherited from our bee mentor. These bees are very productive and we don't treat our hives so since they have survived for three years now, I would call them both disease and mite tolerant. Great at overwintering too. However, this is a very aggressive hive of bees. First time we opened them this year all three of us got stung through full bee suits and veils. We let them requeen themselves this year and they are not as aggressive as they were, but that I am sure is because they would have mated with the Italians and Carniolan bees that surround them. We are careful to control this hive and eliminate most of the drones by using drone frame and removing the frames to the freezer as they are filled. I like all the qualities of this hive excluding the aggressive behavior and do not want a bunch of aggressive bees in our queen rearing operation. Boy will they fill the honey supers though! The last two years almost two to one fill rate over any of our other hives. We are moving them away from the queen rearing operation all together, but would like to keep the rest of these qualities in the gene pool we are using.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Macon County, GA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: German black bees

    I am in Georgia watching large numbers of the black honeybee gobble down my sugar water due to the drought. Seem to be aggressive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,601

    Default Re: German black bees

    Gentle they ain't. Hard to find they are.

    Apis mellifera legustica? Or germanica. germanica seems logically correct.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,016

    Default Re: German black bees

    The true German black bees, Apis Melifera Melifera (AMM) were once common in my country. As others have said the temperament was bad, more so in the hybrids than the pure ones. However they were SO savage that in some cases the hive was virtually impossible to work, a guy who had a lot of experience with africanised bees told me the worst of the AMM's are just as bad.

    The other bad feature is they are very swarm prone.

    But other than that, they are an awesome bee. They work very hard and will outproduce any italian, if you can only stop them swarming. They keep a tidy hive, and go through winter on a fraction of the honey an italian would need. I used to think if we could just somehow combine all their good features, with the good features of an italian, it would have to be the ultimate bee.

    They were seen as the scourge of beekeeping in my country, because they were too aggressive nobody wanted them. But there were plenty of wild hives of them. They produced more drones than italians, plus each drone had double the amount of semen than an italian. So they had quite a mating advantage, and hives left to requeen themselves would often slowly move towards being AMM. So we had to constantly breed away from them, selecting pure italians only as breeders.

    However AMM's have almost disappeared from my country since mites arrived. Certain aspects of their lifestyle, such as more drone comb in the hive, and that nearly all of them were feral and therefore not treated, made them more susceptible. Some of their genetics is still in our bees, but I have not seen anything approaching a pure one for many years.

    However, for those interested in this bee, Robert Russell, of Russell Apiaries, has managed to produce a non aggressive version of this bee, and is selling queens of them.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    hamilton city, new zealand
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: German black bees

    There are still some AMM available in isolated pockets in north island.

    The feral population in the south island has not completely wiped out by varroa yet. So lot more AMM in south island than in north island.

    I did get two queens of black bees send to me by a beekeeper from south this season.

    They seem to be ok to work with a little bit of smoke. Definitely collects a lot more pollen than italians and carniolans. Cant say about honey production yet. Will be able to assess next year.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,016

    Default Re: German black bees

    Quote Originally Posted by josethayil View Post
    Cant say about honey production yet.
    Stop them swarming, and you will be surprised how much they get. But swarm control is very difficult with them.

    How can you be sure they are not part carniolan, and which area did they come from?

    Also, for an older guy like me there is a funny side to this. Way back, the idea of someone actually obtaining queens of these bees and introducing to a hive would have seemed ludicrous. However now they are rare I can see the interest.

    If they really are pure AMM though, I'm picking that in a few years when they have hybridised with some of your other bees you may decide to eliminate them.

    I can remember many years ago, having a look at a 600 hive operation near Whanganui, with a view to buying it. All the hives were jet black AMM. my first thoughts were if I buy this, everything gets re-queened. But then I realised they might not get any honey in those parts if they went italian. Anyhow, couldn't agree on price so in the end I never found out.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    hamilton city, new zealand
    Posts
    172

    Default Re: German black bees

    They came from west port in south island. When comapred with the carniolans you can see that they have much darker hair on the body and are bulkier than the carniolans. Carniolans have a more slim shaped body.

    I have grafted a few from them and put them in nucs. Will see how they do with temperment and honey production next year. They would have mated with italians and carniolans which are around. Hope they dont go aggressive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,016

    Default Re: German black bees

    OK well that description does sound like AMM.

    Not sure but I suspect, that the AMM carniolan hybrid is a lot less aggressive than the AMM italian.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: German black bees

    Russell Apiaries has them. Sometimes apparently.

    http://russellapiaries.webs.com/apps...s/show/2019319

    Oldtimer already pointed this out
    Last edited by ccar2000; 05-23-2011 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Noting the obvious
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,016

    Default Re: German black bees

    Yes I'd LOVE to get some of those RA AMM, a non aggressive AMM would be an interesting hive.

    Unfortunately illegal to import to my country.

    If anybody has had some of those how do you like them?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,315

    Default Re: German black bees

    I just caught a swarm a couple of days ago and the queen was as black as the ace of spades while the workers were what appeared to be of different genetic lines, some black, some brown, some black and brown, and some Italians. It seamed to be a real mutt mix, and after reading the previous reply's to this thread I am looking forward to see what they will turn into, but I am sure not wanting any aggression.
    Last edited by WWW; 05-24-2011 at 12:37 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Willow Springs, missouri,USA
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: German black bees

    As a child in Timaru (south island NZ) i helped a gentleman with about 15 hives of the black bees. I don't remember them as being extremely aggressive but they were defensive. I was shown to use little smoke and then give them time to eat before opening the hive then spray them lightly with sugar water, yes they would attack the sprayer but would calm down in a short time. The queens were as he put it "real runners" the hives would start to swarm if they came even close to running out of room.
    Here in the Ozarks i haven't heard of anyone having Germans but some people keep what they call the black Russian bees which are described as having the same characteristics as the Germans. To me, through the cloud of years since 1974, look to be the same bee. I wonder if they are just renamed by the Russian emigrants that have been in the area since the time of Laurie Engels Wilder.
    Dose anyone know?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sumter SC
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: German black bees

    "They are meaner than ****" Quote from a southwestern Missouri beekeeper friend of mine. LOL

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,016

    Default Re: German black bees

    An Ozark Kiwi! Nice to meet you Beesty!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Garfield, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: German black bees

    Quote Originally Posted by dixiebeeco View Post
    "They are meaner than ****" Quote from a southwestern Missouri beekeeper friend of mine. LOL
    My uncle had three hives of those in southwestern Mo when I was a kid and that's my remembrance of them. He called them "little black boogers" Said he and his brother cut the original hive out of a bee tree with a cross cut saw three ridges over from the house. I remember them being good producers, but they'd meet you about 20 feet out. Don't want any
    Last edited by CharlieN; 05-24-2011 at 05:54 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitowoc WI USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: German black bees

    I am thinking, maybe, to put some of those little black b** near a building that often has unwanted visitors. 20 feet, huh?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,643

    Default Re: German black bees

    Just a reminder of the rules:

    Language/Profanity. It is not acceptable to infer the use of a profane word by an acronym or using **** or $^@*!. By the use of such characters it's being acknowledged by the user that the word implied isn't acceptable. Respect the sites desire to not have any form of profanity used in it's forums.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitowoc WI USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: German black bees

    b** is for bee!

    Ha!

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