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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Rutherfordton nc
    Posts
    79

    Default African genes used in brood stock

    Has any body heard rumors about commerical
    beekeeper purposly introducing them to thre operation. I know bee weaver tells it has just wander how common this is.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidnewbeeboxbuilder View Post
    Has any body heard rumors about commerical
    beekeeper purposly introducing them to thre operation. I know bee weaver tells it has just wander how common this is.
    I don't know if it's on purpose. I will say that when I was working on procedures for my cutouts, I talked to a guy that owned a company in CA or AZ (can't remember) and he said "people are going to hate me for saying this, but the Africanized bee was the best thing that ever happened to beekeepers".

    Here's the issue that I'm concerned with. There has been some theories that an Africanized queen hatches out earlier than her European sister. The genetic predisposition to hatch early has a correlation to the gene that causes aggressive behavior. So, what that means is that if this is true, you could mix European and African bees all day long, and if there is any African genetics in the mix, the aggressive tendency will accompany that. You could almost assume that if the primary point of African genetics is aggressive behavior. That's why they go after mites, ants, and beetles - it's an aggression factor against a hive intruder, not a cleaning behavior.

    Lets put it another way. If this is true, and we left all the bees in the South alone, eventually all of them would be Africanized, because now that we have brought African pests like the mites and the beetles, only the African aggressive tendency can deal with them. The European queens would die out and the African queens would replace them. At some point there may be a thick band of overlap, but the United States could be split between Southern Bees that have African tendencies and Northern bees with European tendencies. During the summers, there's a large overlap band as the bees migrate, and there may be Northern states where someone imports an African hive from the south, but without severe Beekeeper input, they won't make it through the winter.

    I have noticed that many of my more aggressive, larger hives will tend not to make it to the winter just because they keep their hive sizes too big near the fall. Many species vary in the tendency. Italians sometimes have trouble making it through the winter becuase the winter cluster is just too big, and with fall mites, they really suffer. I believe the African hives will have the same issue. Through genetics, they wouldn't have a tendency to dramatically reduce hive size in the winter in an African situation. They may have more of a tendency to do so due to dry conditions than cold ones because of where they're from.

    Just my thoughts on this issue, but haven't seen a lot of conclusive research, and those with Africanized hives could weigh in more.

    Rob
    www.mongrelbees.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,735

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    I don't think saying that B. Weaver purposely introduced AHB into their operation is the proper characterization of what happened. The B Weaver operation was in place a LONG time before AHB came onto the scene. Of course they could have picked up shop and moved to avoid the interaction, but instead they held their position and are doing their best to deal with the current conditions of their site. Couple of statements from their website:

    "BeeWeaver tolerated more stinging to produce bees that did not perish when hives were left untreated for varroa and tracheal mites. Between 1996 and 2002 our bees were more defensive on average with the chance of extremes in both directions (super gentle to intolerable). Since 2001 we have been able to refocus on all the traits that we want our bees to have including good attitudes. Each year there has been significant improvement. "

    "Our mating grounds are in an area where Africanized bees have been for about 20 years. We feel the African bee incursion did severely affect our stock's temperament for the first 5-10 years, beginning in 1994. In the ensuring years, many of those feral African colonies have been watered down by our bees, existing feral bees and other US beekeeper's stock. Inter-breeding with feral Africanized bees does undoubtedly continue but we take measures to minimize their influence."

    I guess you could "spin" this to say that they introduced AHB, but I believe they took the conditions handed to them and did the best they could. Is the result bees that are superior against varroa? I'll let the forums debate that.... Don't get me wrong, I think that they have done a remarkable job given the circumstances imposed upon them and seem to have very good reviews and a loyal customer base.

    However, back to your question, I have no clue if purposeful introduction of AHB has been done by commercial queen breeders, but it seems like a risky endeavor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    I have heard, weather it is truth or rumor, and I think it is truthfull, that USDA introduced African Stock into the US in the 1950's. It was "tested"and released to US queen breeders.I heard it produced alot of brood, was somewhat hot and had a tendancey to swarm....... I can remember package bees that came by train, took a week from the south, and they swarmed a lot

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    I once bought 25 queens from a breeder in Mississippi and not a one of those colonies made it thru the winter just south of the border in ND. The outfit went out of business because none of the queens sent north wintered. The rumor was they were africanized breeding. I hate to mention a name because this was in the seventies and I might very well remember wrong and i don't want to slander anyone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Rutherfordton nc
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    Yall know other than over wintering up north they could really help stock survive but i figuire this would be alot of peoples thinking. As far as pollanation service providers theyll hate africanized but poor beeks will apricate them small amouts of honey beats a white box full of dead bee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,228

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    I disagree intensely with most of the above. There is no reason why a person has to put up with aggressive bees in order to keep bees alive and producing. Get some stock that has the right traits and you can maintain gentle stock that produces honey and never has to be treated for mites or beetles. I have two colonies sitting on my porch and walk by them daily with zero issues... except that I had to show the mailman that he could walk right by them too.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,085

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Davidnewbeeboxbuilder View Post
    Has any body heard rumors about commerical
    beekeeper purposly introducing them to thre operation. I know bee weaver tells it has just wander how common this is.
    How can BeeWeaver not? Thery are surrounded by AHB genetics. As far as others, I don't know why they would if they weren't already in an AHB infested area.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    Aggresive bees would put an end to beekeeping for the majority of beekeepers, because I am quite certain that many hobbyist's and small beekeepers live in populated areas and not in the middle of nowhere, and mean bees cause problems with neighbors, besides, who wants to work mean bees all the time. The claim that aggresive bees produce more honey would be hard to prove. Do AHB's have a benefit when it comes to varroa? Possibly, but what is it due to, aggressive behaviour, or because they are a smaller bee which has a smaller cell, and a shorter gestational period, or both. John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    My experience with queens purchased from southern states that happen to mate with a few africanized drones do show quite aggressive tendencies and quickly die when the weather turns cold. This is not death by starvations, but in fact death by their inablility to shiver and generate heat. So far all the good from africanized bees cannot overcome this problem. northwestqueens.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: African genes used in brood stock

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestQueens View Post
    My experience with queens purchased from southern states that happen to mate with a few africanized drones do show quite aggressive tendencies and quickly die when the weather turns cold. This is not death by starvations, but in fact death by their inablility to shiver and generate heat. So far all the good from africanized bees cannot overcome this problem. northwestqueens.com
    Our African bees down here in the freezing NM desert overwinter just fine in the cold. I don't think it is the cold, but moisture that gets them. Honestly, the only difference I can tell in them and the ones you get from a commercial dealer is they tend to be a bit runny and nervous, and don't keep much honey in the brood nest. They are not always mean. Can't kill them either. I end up with a lot of them from removals. They live in a special yard out in the desert. I don't sell them or breed them and they simply wait out there until they can be re-queened with one of my bred queens.

    Our bees are a bit unique though, and testing for African genetics doesn't always work. I have heard the Spanish imported bees when they conquered Central America. The ones they brought over had AMI in their genetics. They show up as African in a test. I have noted two distinct varieties here. The dark ones that overwinter just fine, and a lighter one that usually does not.

    It is amusing to me to hear people debate this issue when they do not live in an area with them. It's really not that big a deal in my opinion. Most of the really mean bees I have dealt with have turned out to be EHB, go figure. We have bees up here in the mountains that seem to match the description of Black Bees, and they are a far, far different variety of aggressive than any I have ever seen that test out as African.

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