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  1. #1
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    Default Apis cerana japonica

    My father is gearing up to start his first hive of native Japanese bees, Apis cerana japonica.

    They are not as prolific in terms of honey production.

    I'm very curious to see how this goes. Not many of us can say that we have kept a species other than mellifera.

  2. #2
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    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Where is he keeping these(state/country)?
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Japan.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2008
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    hamilton city, new zealand
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    I have kept bees in Saudi Arabia(Mellifera) 10 hives and in India(Cerana) 200 hives and i still keep bees in new Zealand(Mellifera) 3 hives.

    i can say that cerana does have a lot of different characteristics and some subspecies do build up as big as the mellifera and produce better than mellifera. The temperment do vary between subspecies and within each subspecies just like in mellifera.

  5. #5
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Jose, what race do you keep in New Zealand? Italian? Carniolan? German Dark Bees Apis mel. mel.? I read before that New Zealand still has larger areas where the old dark bee apis mel mel is dominant. Is that the case?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    He is sending me updates on his efforts. I will ask him to start a blog with pics. If not interested, I will see if I can post his emails here (w/ his permission).

    That is, if there is interest.

  7. #7
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    Central Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Quote Originally Posted by arthur View Post
    He is sending me updates on his efforts. I will ask him to start a blog with pics. If not interested, I will see if I can post his emails here (w/ his permission).

    That is, if there is interest.
    I would definitely be interested.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2008
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    hamilton city, new zealand
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Hi, I keep carniolans now. used to keep a mix between the Dark bees and italians before. Not much of bark bees left in the north island now.

    but still a good population of british dark bees left in the south island. I think the varroa which is spreading through the south island now will mostly wipe out all the feral colonies of native british black bees in a few years time. I think that will be the loss of some well preserved genetics of pure dark bees.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2010
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    Beer's Settlement, NY USA
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Apis cerana is not really an alternative to honey bees. They are honey bees.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Apis cerana is not really an alternative to honey bees. They are honey bees.
    This is not true, not exactly.

    For example in Japan, my understanding is that no bee operations keep Apis cerana. Not productive enough.

    Also Apis cerana have different behaviors, and require different equipment (for example, regular honeybee foundations do not work for them).

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Apis cerana are honey bees. And they are kept in hives throughout Asia. They also occur in the wild, as does Apis dorsata, Apis florea, etc. which are also honey bees.

    All the Apis species are true honey bees, whether they live in boxes, have many combs or just a single comb hanging on a tree or off a rock. Honey bees can not be an alternative to honey bees.

    In China both Asian honey bees and European bees are kept in hives. While the European bee is generally more productive, the Asian honey bees are resistant to Asian mites, and other predators.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vll_2...layer_embedded

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Irrespective of whether this is the right subforum or not....

    My father's quest to find an apis cerana japonica hive in the wild continues. He and a friend went to a foraging area, caught and anesthisized a bee of this species, then tied thread to it, with a bit of tissue paper tied to the thread. When the bee woke up, it flew away with string and tissue paper, above a tree and out of sight.

    No luck so far finding a hive.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Article on traditional methods of keeping Apis cerana on a small Japanese island situated between Japan proper and Korea--Tsushima. If you get to the meat of the article, it has pictures and description of how they keep bees in hollowed logs.

    http://www.tokyofoundation.org/en/se...anese-honeybee

    I mention this because my father will be going to Tsushima in a week, to meet beekeepers on this island. No European honeybees are kept on this island. I'm hoping I get a honey sample eventually.

  14. #14
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    Port Townsend, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Arthur, this is really interesting I hope you keep this thread updated. I have seen several documentaries about apis cerana japonica. There are even several Youtube videos about them and especially there interactions with giant hornets. Yes you could say they are very similar to our bees but they also have a unique look and behavior about them. Most people here are focused on regular old European honey bees which I understand that. Native bees and alternative pollinators may really gain peoples attention in the future should our bees continue to die off.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Thanks, ehallspqr. I'm ok writing to empty chairs, but nice to know someone is interested.

    Quick update. My dad could not go to Tsushima because of bad weather. The trip is postponed.

    He recently caught an Asian Giant Hornet in a butterfly net. But it escaped through a hole in the net, before it could be collected. When he described its size, I said "sounds like a bird." And he replied by saying in Japan the name for it is actually Giant Sparrow Bee (in Japanese of course). If you read about the sting these things pack, as well as how they attack honeybees, and how japonica fights them off--very interesting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet

    A coworker of my father has built a box that is used to geotrack bees. I forget what they call the box. But it has three chambers. It is essentially a rectangle composed of three boxes. The foraging bee is placed in the first box, and then through a trap door is allowed into the second box, where there is a nice supply of honey/sugar/syrup. The bee is kept in the 2nd box until it is sated, and then a trapdoor is released allowing the bee into the third box. The bee is released from the third box, and the direction of its flight is observed. Observers can watch standing as normal, or better yet, lay down on the ground and stare up. Often the bees will do a small orientation flight before heading for the hive. You do this for many foragers, and you after collecting several points from several vantages, they should all hone in one direction/point. Anyway, this has been started, but no hive located yet.

    One more thing, my dad has been looking in a Japanese beek catalog. The accessories are very different. I forget all the details. But veils and clothing and such are different.

    With japonica, frames are not typically used. I was describing Michael Bush's suggestion to me in another thread to use a guitar wire "guillotine" to free up my hybrid TBH, and he said Japanese use the same method with their japonica hives in boxes. A cross-x is formed inside the honey super. The description didn't make sense to me, so I can't describe it further.

    And yes, I am kinda ticked that my father doesn't have a camera!
    Last edited by arthur; 05-17-2010 at 08:08 PM.

  16. #16
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Bee lining box! Jim Fischer has written quite a bit about them, and his dad makes/made them.

    If somebody starts a collection to get your dad a camera, I'll chip in!

    Also, if there is an online version of a japanese supply catalog...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    "I'm ok writing to empty chairs, but nice to know someone is interested"

    Yes these types of posting about alternative pollinators are very interesting to me and others. I lived in Japan and checked out their beekeeping scene. It is different in some respects but mostly they used the European bees/equipment also and are having the same issues with disease and parasites. Many countries have had serious problems with their euro honeybees dying off so there is a renewed interest in their native bees. In many parts of the world their turning to the Stingless bee species. Checkout the Meliponicultura scene in South America or the Sugarbag bees of Australia. You can also type in stingless bees on youtube and see many videos.


    "He recently caught an Asian Giant Hornet in a butterfly net. But it escaped through a hole in the net, before it could be collected. When he described its size, I said "sounds like a bird." And he replied by saying in Japan the name for it is actually Giant Sparrow Bee (in Japanese of course). If you read about the sting these things pack, as well as how they attack honeybees, and how japonica fights them off--very interesting"

    He's braver than me. Those giant hornets are nasty. I saw them when I was in Japan and they are horrible scary creatures, this coming from a guy who fears no bug. I'd say the queen is a good 2.5 inches, maybe more. They'll kill a whole hive of euro honeybees in a few hours. That's one of the reasons for renewed interest in the native honeybee as they can fight off an attack by smothering the hornets and cooking them.


    "The bee is released from the third box, and the direction of its flight is observed. Observers can watch standing as normal, or better yet, lay down on the ground and stare up. Often the bees will do a small orientation flight before heading for the hive. You do this for many foragers, and you after collecting several points from several vantages, they should all hone in one direction/point"

    I have used a similar method to find wild hives. Bees always fly in a straight path when returning home. By placing a bowl of honey out I can watch which direction the foragers at the honey dish fly when returning home. Then I move closer and closer until I home in on the hive location. Then it's just a matter of looking for the in and out hive traffic. Also viewing the bees flight path at the time of day when the sun is low in the sky will make a difference. By standing at a certain angle in relation to the bees flight, the sun will highlight their wings/body and you can see their flight path for a much greater distance.


    "And yes, I am kinda ticked that my father doesn't have a camera!"

    Buy him a cheap digital camera with batteries and extra memory sticks and send that to him. He should be capturing this on film.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    My mother is bringing him a camera, or supposed to anyway. He says he will buy one if she doesn't.

    I asked about the European bees over there. He says they can only be kept with intensive management (i.e. chemicals). He's seen some of them, and remarked that they were very calm bees (worked without gloves). Of course, this is also the man that has led me to be criticized on beesource, due to his keeping bees that are a tad on the aggressive side (stateside).

    I asked him why they don't import some hygienic bees from the states. It turns out all bee importation into Japan is banned. Probably a very good thing for Japan. US would be better off with the same policy, IMO.

    He says he can purchase a package of apis cerana j. for $200. But that they are very prone to abscond. This is coming from a man who has never bought a package in his life, and hadn't bought a queen in years. He and a dollar are not easily separated. So this will be a great dilemma for him, lol.

    Ehall, I will mention the honey bowl thing to him.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Here are some pictures of hives that are purpose-built for cerana japonica.

    These pictures were taken by a friend of my father's. And I did secure his permission to post the pictures here.

    This hive is in Tsushima.



    This hive and the following one are both from Kubokawa, Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture. Notice the holes that appear to be drilled in the front.



    You will noticed the potted plants next to the hives. They are orchids whose scent the bees are attracted to. Swarms are often found on these plants. So the orchids are placed next to these hives to attract swarms.



    My father tells me a couple of things about how these bees are different than European bees. For one, when bees are outside of the hive, fanning, they face outward, instead of toward the hive. Also, when they abscond, they eat their larvae. So he says.

    No update yet on any capture or purchase efforts.

  20. #20
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    Port Townsend, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Apis cerana japonica

    Great pictures. These look like the old style Box Gum hives. The top picture looks like a two chamber hive with a log gum sitting on top? I wonder if these type hives are the norm or mainly kept by the old school traditional beekeepers? There are no frames or top bars in those are there? It would be interesting to see the inside of one of these.

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