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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Horry, SC, USA
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    60

    Question What type of bees are these?

    I have some robbing going on in one of my weak hives. Could anybody tell me what type of bees these are? The ones with the shiny black abdomens are the robbing bees. I have identified them with the green pointers.

    Thanks much!




    Here's another shot of one of the robbers.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Cookeville, Tennessee, USA
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    66

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    My guess is just a mixed breed honey bee. I had pure Italians until a queen was superceded and now half my hive is colored as those.

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Alot of my Carni hybrids look like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    I am almost certain that they are honey bees. Coloration and pattern are no longer strongly affiliated with genetic origins. Modern breeding can produce bees of nearly any color combination, despite the predominance of any particular subspecies used in the cross.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    249

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Joseph,

    So I guess the gist of what you're saying is that a honey bee is a honey bee, since appearance basically doesn't mean anything anymore? So when you buy or sell bees, you just tell folks that they are honey bees?

  6. #6
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    Feb 2005
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    They can be derived from various genetic sources, they can be selected for assorted traits, but unless color is one of those traits selected for, they can all look the same, or they can each look different, it all depends on the breeder. No, I'm not saying that all honey bees are just honey bees, what I'm saying is you can't depend on their outward appearance to identify them, definitively.

    In other words you can develop honey bees, predominantly derived from Caucasian stock (known to have a grayish coloration), but cross them with a light brown colored bee, then select for the lighter color, combined with other traits, known to be associated with the Caucasian, until you have a light brown honey bee, that is in all other ways, a Caucasian (it just doesn't look like a Caucasian, anymore).
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
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    737

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Old robbing bees.
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  8. #8
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    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    249

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Thanks, Joseph for the helpful information.

    I have people ask me occasionally what kind of bees I have, and I tell them I believe they are Italians. I guess it's not so simple from what you've said.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Fortunately, most breeders, I believe, try to maintain traditional colorations, already associated with particular races of honey bee, when they select for other desirable traits in their production queens. So, most honey bees, derived from Apis mellifera ligustica (Italian), will still look like an Italian, and the same for Caucasian or Carniolan.

    One of the more interesting twists, is with the use of the Cordovan trait. It is a recessive trait that suppresses dark pigmentation of the honey bee exoskeleton. But, is only expressed in workers when both the mother queen and drone father both contribute the gene to their workers, of course, drones only have one set of genes, so if they carry it, it will be expressed. The Cordovan trait can be bred into any strain/race/breed of honey bee that can interbreed with Apis mellifera. It lightens the color of each breeds exoskeleton, but is more noticeable with breeds that are already a lighter color.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Horry, SC, USA
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    60

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    These bees, whatever they are, are overpowering my bees. I have tried to block the entrance, but they come right back as soon as I open up the entrance. Even with it reduced down to let just one bee in at a time, the bad guys are winning. They are just shoving their way into the hive like a bunch of bullies. This is the third day of the looting. I hate to block it completely because it's been in the 90's all week, but I am using SBB's, so that might help.
    Last edited by A_Bee_Guy; 08-18-2012 at 04:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2009
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    Eatonville WA USA
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    169

    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Hey I had the same problem but I fixed it by giving the robbers an open place to feed . I use a paint can punched holes in the lid with a thumb tack filled with sugar water placed it about a hundred yards from the robber hive and wait it takes a few hours but they find it and leave the weak hive alone. I forgot to mention I place two little sticks under the paint can to provide bee space so they can feed.

  12. #12
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    May 2012
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    Horry, SC, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    John,

    I have done some open feeding this year with frames that were harvested. I figured I'd let the bees lick them off, but then I noticed that it set off severe robbing in a few of my hives. So, because of that experience, I'm kind of hesitant to try open feeding again. I don't have a hundred yards to work with or it might work for me too. It's been a rough year for robbing.

    Thanks for your advice though, I do appreciate it!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Some of the variability you see is a result of multiple drone matings. I have bees in my hives that look like all those bees. They were supposed to be an Italian/Carniolan mix. Now, I have bees from open mated queens that superceded their mothers.

    I restricted entrances today with metal screening (hardware cloth). I cut it about an inch and a quarter by the length of the entrance (minus the opening I wanted)...Then, slipped it in the opening, allowing it to anchor on the top of the bottom board and the bottom of the hive body. Air circulates well and the entrance is restricted. HTH
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Thanks, Lee, for the great information.

    I've learned a lot from this posting! Thanks to all who contributed!

  15. #15
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    May 2011
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    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    Some of the variability you see is a result of multiple drone matings. I have bees in my hives that look like all those bees. They were supposed to be an Italian/Carniolan mix. Now, I have bees from open mated queens that superceded their mothers.
    Check your 'genetics 101'. They don't need to supercede in order to show visual differences from open mating.
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  16. #16
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    Horry, SC, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    I restricted entrances today with metal screening (hardware cloth). I cut it about an inch and a quarter by the length of the entrance (minus the opening I wanted)...Then, slipped it in the opening, allowing it to anchor on the top of the bottom board and the bottom of the hive body. Air circulates well and the entrance is restricted. HTH
    Lee,

    How long do you leave your screen in place? Do you totally restrict entrance or leave enough room for 1 or 2 bees to enter / leave?

    Thanks in advance!

  17. #17
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    Thumbs Up Re: What type of bees are these?

    Bee Guy, I've reduced the entrance until I'm confident guard bees can successfully fight off bees intending to rob. That was an opening of about half an inch to an inch...Robbers were handily turned away with that opening on these hives.

    Reducing the entrance is a time honored deterrent to robbing, its just that it is hot now and I wanted to insure adequate air circulation. Your results may vary.

    My hives are young, and as long as I'm concerened they can't turn away the robbers, I will leave the reduced entrances in place.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  18. #18
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    1/8th inch or 1/4 inch hardware cloth?
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Gypsi, the holes have to be small enough to keep the bees from passing through....1/4 is too large, eighth inch would be fine.

    P.S. Bee Guy, reduce the entrance until the robbing stops. I used the hardware cloth because right now I do not have screened bottom boards. With your screened bottom boards, you can use wood. Don't know why I missed that in your post above.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: What type of bees are these?

    Bee space is stated as 1/4" to 3/8" so to contain bees we have to use smaller mesh. But, even #6 mesh will allow some smaller bees through. The "cat's meow" is #7...but *very* hard to find. 1/8" is the common "stand-by".

    A robber screen would help the robbing situation. They divert the colony bees to a different, smaller entrance that is several inches away (above usually) from the normal entrance. The robber bees don't readily figure this out and target the area where the hive's scent is coming from...naturally they can't get through the screen that is blocking the entrance hole. The colony bees coming out of the hive instinctively walk up the screen and find the entrance, they re-orient a little bit and begin using the "new" entrance....the robbers on the other hand (hopefully) give up and leave. The problem, from what I understand, is that the robber screen only works for a few days before one of the robbers stumbles upon the hidden entrance.

    Here's some images to help explain it...
    http://www.google.com/search?q=using...w=1152&bih=697

    Ed

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