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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    edmonton, alberta, canada
    Posts
    9

    Default 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    Hey all. Need some thoughts on a situation.
    Im into my second year of bee keeping and its been great up here in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Looks like my 5 hives have just made it though the winter this year (knock on wood as there is another month before any blooms happen.

    I started with 3 packages last spring, made a nuc during he summer and captured a hive making the 5th. Now that 5th one is interesting. A couple a 1/2 mile away bought our old neighbours yard and was about to reside the garage when he noticed a lot of bees coming out the side. He called us and sure enough they are honey bees. Carnolians no doubt. So I made a bee vac and dad and I proceeded to rip apart the side of the building and we ripped and we ripped till we uncovered a 7' high hive of comb between the studs. Some wax was so old it just crumbled in my hands when I held it. Pretty cool. We captured most of the bees and got the queen in there at some point cause eggs were laid that week. We talked to the old lady who owned the property before and she said she has not had bees there for over 30 years. 30 years!! Wow! They survived there for that long with no outside help. So now I'm wondering if these bees maybe are a little special? Are they? Wishful thinking maybe.

    My question is, should I attempt to make some queens out of this genetic pool in hopes to gain some sort of advantage over mites or just gain overall survival strength? My concern is that maybe these bees swarm easily and thats why they are able to overcome the mites. When I treated them last fall with formic acid there were mites on the bottom board although not as much as with the other hives. There is another hive in the same building in the other corner that I am hoping to capture this spring and another in a hollow tree probably of the same genetics.

    What are your thoughts?

    thanks
    Ben

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    YES! Those are defs the survivor genes we want to keep!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    I'd buy a queen from that hive!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    949

    Default Re: 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    Are you sure Yours or someone elses didn't just move into a hive that hasn't had bees in it for 30 yrs?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,146

    Default Re: 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    They aren't the same bees. Over the years that space has been occupied by bees and vacant some years too. It's what happens to feral colonies. So, all you know for sure is that there have been bees in that wall from time to time over the last 30 years, producing the comb that you saw. But the bees have changed.

    Keep them in your hive for a cpl years and you will know what their characteristics are. Maybe they have some good characteristics, maybe some less than desirable ones. I don't see what it would hurt to graft from it. But grafting on assumptions? I don't know.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,780

    Default Re: 30 year old hive with survivor bees. Breeding stock?

    They are free bees. That is always a good price.
    Tom Seeley did some great research with feral colonies. You should read his book "Honeybee Democracy" You wll find that they are probably less than a year old.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

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