Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    278

    Default Feral hives doing well

    Today I checked the 3 feral hives within a mile of my hives and they all made it through the "winter" just fine and are bringing in pollen. They are all in hollow valley oak or live oak trees. Four years ago I started looking for feral hives in the Fremont Older Open Space (where my bees roam) and I am now convinced that every oak with a suitable cavity has a feral hive. The ones I found are near the trails since I don't want to wade through poison oak to check on other big oaks. During that time only one hive didn't survive the winter and that was because a high power line crew trimmed some top branches and I assume the chain saw guys killed the hive so they could do their work. This year it's back big time.

    So all the feral hives I know about near me are doing very well. I also noticed that of my 5 hives, the 3 that have the most feral genetics (years with local drone input and swarms from feral colony) are showing very little mite drop through the SBBs. The other 2 hives are from silicon valley swarms and they have a heavy mite drop. I'm thinking the feral genetics may shut down brood production more in winter, thus suppressing mites. Does anyone know of any verification of this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,503

    Default Re: Feral hives doing well

    That is a pretty small sample to make any sweeping conclusions, but I would treasure that genetics until you figure out otherwise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    278

    Default Re: Feral hives doing well

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    That is a pretty small sample to make any sweeping conclusions, but I would treasure that genetics until you figure out otherwise.
    Right, just enough to make me wonder.

    The only thing sustainable is adaptation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,038

    Default Re: Feral hives doing well

    interesting observations ms, similar to what i am seeing here in northeast alabama with my bees that have ferals contributing drones. i also am seeing a big time shut down in brooding prior to winter, and these bees are very frugal with their stores, in addition to coping well with the mites off treatments.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,643

    Default Re: Feral hives doing well

    Downtown you are picking up swarms from the several hundred Olivarez packages that the SCBG imports. Olivarez says: if you don't treat my bees they will die".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: Feral hives doing well

    I was talking with the commercial beek just down the road from me last week, and he said he strongly prefers local bees to the southern bred queens we can get from breeders here. We almost always have a significant drought in August and September (great for wine grapes, not so hot for bees) and we really need bees that shut down brood production quickly. Br. Bitner is of the opinion that the southern queens are bred to product very large amounts of brood since it's typical to split migratory hives four ways every spring prior to heading out on the pollination circuit. Works great under those circumstances, but we end up with bees that eat all their winter stores in August and starve in January. Fall flow here is erratic, not usually a good year.

    The side benefit here is mite load reduction at a critical time. If the bees quit raising brood for three weeks in August (which mine pretty much did) and then raise a big crop of winter bees in September and October, they not only retain more goodies for winter, but the mites die off prior to winter bee production.

    Works out great for us. No mites at all on the sticky board in either hive this fall, and so far they look pretty good. I'm going to have to lift the hives tomorrow to check for weight, but my brother's hive (by now "feral" since it's 8 years old and I'm sure open mated at least every other year) seems to be essentially free from mites as well.

    For local beekeeping, local survivor bees are what you want. If you truck your bees all over creation, then that's a different story, you will require bees that perform well for you under those conditions.

    Peter

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads