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Thread: AHBs and drones

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Novato, CA
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    554

    Default AHBs and drones

    My local beekeeping club has a report of an Africanized hive here in the SF Bay area...I guess they had a collective order for queens a few years ago from back east and ended up with some so now there are genes in the area...

    Some people are saying to close up the hive and let it die; others requeen.

    Arguements are this is in the middle of a town and neighbors are already nervous and there is no way to open the hive to requeen it without another display of aggression in public.

    An arguement I'm interested in is that there are now drones from this hive out there breeding available for breeding, something I didn't think about before.

    So for those of you living with AHB regularly do you just requeen or do you shut down a hive? Do you think about the drones spreading those genes?

    I hope this doesn't come common in this area but no one really knows why they have not invaded on their own yet...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: AHBs and drones

    You know, African bees have been around my area for so long they really aren't that big an issue any more. I just re-queen the bees that are runny/nervous, too defensive, uneasy to manage, or swarmy. To be honest, most of them I run across are not much meaner than normal bees, every so often you do run across a truly nasty hive though. The genetics appears to be somewhat watered down. The Brazilian bees are mostly vagrants and don't really live here (it's too cold), and many of the ferals have a touch of Intermissa/Iberica in them. You can spot the difference pretty easily. On the good side of things - the wild bees now have some very good VSH traits... the bad side - they tend to be a bit swarmy and runny, and can be temperamental. Don't drop a tool on their hive!

    If there are truly aggressive Brazilian/Africans in your area (as in places like Texas), requeen after the second generation. That will keep them from producing a supercedure queen with Brazilian DNA mated with another Brazilian DNA line. What I do is either totally requeen, or give them a virgin and surround them with hives of more desirable bees. Eventually they will water down. Giving them a protected queen cell usually works OK. Total requeening sometimes takes a very strong stomach. I usually don't mess around and shake them through an excluder - not a pretty sight. Make sure they are broodless for a bit too. That helps, otherwise they may kill the new queen and grow a new one - but don't wait too long because they go laying worker pretty quick.

    Chances are you probably already had AHB genetics in your area and didn't know it. They are just about everywhere now in some manner.

    Rule of thumb - don't worry about genetic origin - requeen if they are too defensive/aggressive, runny/nervous, or unproductive. Keep lot's of domestic hives of known origin nearby so you can flood the area with good drones.

    If you see a defensive, nervous, runny hive that comes out when opened and beards around the outside of the top box and produces small amounts of honey, it is a good sign you need a new queen in my area. I move those hives to a remote location and give them new queens.
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 09-25-2012 at 05:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    7,056

    Default Re: AHBs and drones

    requeen, drones are a concern as queens tend to mate with AHB drones more, and use AHB semen most - 90 percent more
    The most probable encounter with Africanized bees occurs when a virgin queen mates. Africanized bees produce more drones in the mating seasons. More importantly EHB queens use African semen 90% of the time in a study by DeGrandi-Hoffman. The queens were artificially inseminated with 50-50 EHB AHB semen. You might know the queen can elect to fertilize an egg or not, but now they select “the daddy.” ARS entomologists believe this is the strongest factor of AHB replacing EHB in a region. The solution is in the Florida BMP, use a mated marked EHB queen and replace her regularly.
    http://americasbeekeeper.org/Africanized_Honey_Bee.htm
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: AHBs and drones

    I had a scandal in my local bee-club (I posted this in some other thread). The bottom line is that bee-club is against permitting hobbyist beekeeping in Los Angeles. Their argument is that all feral local bees are africanized and thus may not be used in urban beekeeping. Sounded reasonable, but the problem is that the feral bees we have, may contain some african genes by DNA analysis, but it is not enough to call them "killer bees"! If they will do analysis of my genes (pure slavic in many generations) - they will find some african genes for sure! Why? Because we all originated from Africa! It is not a reason to call me (or my bees) africanized... I agree with posts above that bees needed to be judged by behavior. Truly aggressive behavior in urban environment is not appropriate. Sergey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: AHBs and drones

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    I had a scandal in my local bee-club (I posted this in some other thread). The bottom line is that bee-club is against permitting hobbyist beekeeping in Los Angeles. Their argument is that all feral local bees are africanized and thus may not be used in urban beekeeping. Sounded reasonable, but the problem is that the feral bees we have, may contain some african genes by DNA analysis, but it is not enough to call them "killer bees"! If they will do analysis of my genes (pure slavic in many generations) - they will find some african genes for sure! Why? Because we all originated from Africa! It is not a reason to call me (or my bees) africanized... I agree with posts above that bees needed to be judged by behavior. Truly aggressive behavior in urban environment is not appropriate. Sergey
    This is very true. Many of our bees in my region may have "African" genes, but they are not nescessarily Brazilian. I think most people would be shocked if they sent their domesticated bees out for a DNA test. African genetics have been imported into the USA on many, many, different occasions as documented in the history books and by the USDA's own records.

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