When I adopted feral bees, my great concern was safety my neighbors since we are in urban area. I asked for advise my local bee-club and everybody suggested re-queen. The argument was that SoCal is "africanized" and thus, all feral bees are AHB. I took the risk and decided to give them a chance - those bees ARE protective, but they do not exhibit typical AHB behavior described above in this thread. I am living with these bees for more than a year. Beehives are situated 20' from the house and 10' from my morning tea-place in the garden. Nobody was re-queened. I got stung occasionally 1-2/mo. Neighbor's gardener was stung once. After deep invasive inspection 2-3 bees patrols my backdoor for a few days - I learned that I have to plan my outdoor parties with bees in mind.
I feel it is not right to eliminate feral genetics just because of suspicions on AHB. AHB is already here and we need learn how to live with it. Frequent re-queening eliminates local useful traits and made bees more vulnerable (sometime) to deceases etc. One need to understand that re-queening - effectively replace one colony to another. Sergey
From bees prospective, we do not do inspection in close proximity to the party's date. Normally, MY bees calmed down within 2-3 days after inspection... If bees do not cooperate - we plan the party after 4 p.m. Also, it is important to "train" them by having "morning-tea" in the garden 10' away from bees as often as bees permitted (normally every day)
Humans need to be trained also - mainly by consuming bee-products including the mead!
I think, my situation is slightly special because our tiny property is on the steep slope of the hill. So bees are on the narrow terrace facing open space, the street. The house and backyard/garden are behind the beehives and we hardly see any bees in the garden, which is disappointing because bees supposed to pollinate my garden...
Thank you cerezha. I may use my area for some NUCs this Spring, NUCs are ususally less aggressive than strong hives.
I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)
Truetide: I live in an area where AHB's is a concern, also. I haven't been long at this, but from what I have been told by the much more experienced Beeks, you WILL know when it is a true Africanized hive, right from the very first puff of smoke. Getting popped off the veil or suit is to be expected doing a removal. I haven't done too many removals, but enough to realize defending their colony is to be expected. Please don't judge the temperament of the hive and queen based on behavior during a removal, JMHO. Let them repair and recoup, and re-assess in a few weeks. A couple of my most gentle hives were b-tch-s at removal, and some of my most aggressive/protective hives now were like a purring kitten at removal. As (I think) G3 says 'Bees will be bees and do as they please'! As somebody else mentioned, I think the AHB thing, though real, has been used as such a fear tactic by PCO's that the bees are getting (still...again...) a bad rap. They are after all, wild creatures, that are created to maintain and defend their colony. Relax a bit for now, and time will tell. Again, this is JMHO....this plus $ 0.50 will net you .50! I hope they turn out to be a wonderful colony for you! Time will tell....patience, grasshopper. It really didn't sound like they went "nuts" on you during the removal...from what I have been told, Africanized bees will swarm you and chase...and chase...and chase... Again, I can only go by your description, but it sounds like the bees were doing what they were supposed to do, and though defending, weren't overly aggressive. JMHO. Best to you! Keep us posted!
The biggest indicators for me have normally been the bearding trait, lack of honey in the brood nest, and the fact that they are hellaciously runny on the comb. The aggression trait I have found to be unreliable.
Normally, I do a removal and let them sit for about a month - when I open them up again and they are horribly runny, I know what I am dealing with... usually before the test results are back.
However... AMM have many of the same traits - hard to distinguish sometimes, and they are still out there in isolated pockets. I have also found Russian-ish bees to share some of the same traits - just my opinion.