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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Identifying honey bees.

    Hello, this is my first post and I'm an inexperienced beekeeper.

    About a month ago, I came across a massive bee swarm and safely transferred it into a hive. Pictures below. However I didn't ask myself what kind of honey bee I was dealing with, until now. These seem to be much more aggressive compared to European honey bees (which is to be expected) but they almost seem as aggressive as Africanized honey bees. Simply approaching the hive gets them all rattled up and ready to sting. I live in NY and I though Africanized honey bees were a thing of the south. Their abdomens are slightly darker than those of European honey bees, but I'm not sure if this characteristic alone is enough to identify these bees.

    Moreover, I have two other hives, both containing docile Italian bees and I don't want these hives to get attacked by this new colony.

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.
    IMG_0600downsize.jpg
    I'm having trouble posting more images, does this forum allow for multiple attachments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,971

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    The swarm you have collected is of little danger to your other hives unless the others are too weak to defend their hive. Reduce their entrances and that won't be a problem. You have to decide if these new bees are too hot to handle. If they are, you need to requeen them. In six weeks all the meaners will be history this time of year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    That was a large swarm from the looks of things and larger hives are more defensive. Also are you sure they have a laying queen? Queenless hives can be pretty grouchy also.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    Could be just mean mutts, not used to having a beek poking their head into the colony every now and then. I'm from the opinion that coloration really means nothing to variety. It may hold true in general senses, but just having a darker ab doesn't mean a thing to me. Maybe they got a good tan while swarming. I think colorization can be influenced too much from environmental factors to tell you anything decisively. Like Vance says, requeen if they don't calm down, and once all those wild bees are gone, you'll have a nice colony of whatever queen you ordered. Kind of defeats the purpose of collecting a swarm to me, since basically you made them do all this work and are killing their genetics off cuz you don't like them but such is life and what I think shouldn't matter to you. In the end you'll get a new colony no matter what for the cost of a new queen or a nice hive of bees for free if they calm down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    Also are you sure they have a laying queen? Queenless hives can be pretty grouchy also
    I checked not too long ago and yes, they have larvae and eggs, although I was not yet able to find the queen (I can't inspect the hive for too long before things start to get out of hand). This hive has become very, very large they haven't had much time to settle in, but they've already filled up much of the hive.

    I'm not planning on re-queening the hive. As a biology enthusiast, I know how harmful artificial selection can be for the gene pool of a species. I was hoping to counter the trend by harbouring some feral bees.

    These bees have proven to be very successful, it's the only one of my hives that seems to be doing very well. The other two look pretty pathetic, almost as if the queen was old. It doesn't make sense though, the queens are only a year old.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    I like your approach Felix. Maybe they just need some more room too or are you sure there's enough feed available for you bees, that makes them cranky as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    Under right (wrong) conditions lots of races of bees can produce a HOT hive. I stopped working with Russians due to their tendancy to get mean. I currently am experimenting with a couple of Buckfast hives and have heard that they tend to get on the mean side. The German Black bee was so mean that it is now hard to find any of that line.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dutchess, New York, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    I'm sure there are enough flowers for them. I have an immense yard and just a few weeks ago, the honeysuckle bushes were in bloom. There were more flowers than the bees could effectively visit. Right now there are small flowers here and there, but it wasn't as impressive as a few weeks ago. I'm waiting for when the acacia trees start to bloom the aroma is ambrosial. I'll bet the honey is just as good as the smell of acacia flowers.

    I'm trying to post a closeup of the bees, but this system for uploading pictures is a little odd.
    Here's a picture of some of the bees on a comb built in the wrong place. Notice the darker abdomens. The Styrofoam™ was a temporary arrangement.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/6110726...in/photostream

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,848

    Default Re: Identifying honey bees.

    Felix, I just upload to photobucket first and paste in the link PB provides for posting on forums for the pic. Flickr should have something similar I would think.

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