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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    Hello,
    I am relatively new to beekeeping although I had a hive a couple years ago which sort of relates to this thread. My hive I had a few years ago began as a wild but docile hive from a swarm that moved into my langstroth hive I had laying around in my backyard because I hadn't had the chance to really get into beekeeping until then. As the summer months progressed, they became very very aggressive, to the point where I had to burn the hive. I suspected that they had been taken over by AHBs, because in all of my life I have never interacted with a hive which was that aggressive. I really want to get into beekeeping again, but I don't want to have to deal with AHBs. Do any of you have advice as to how I can prevent this from happening again?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    You could have re-queened....

    The best prevention for AHB is a managed EHB colony (though the AHB genetics will eventually have an influence). I deal with the same genetics here. Don't be afraid to get back on the horse... I just make sure I am properly protected when I have to be invasive to the hives. They have never bothered me if I am just doing an entrance check, or mowing, etc... And remember always, ANY and ALL bees will be more aggressive when they have more to defend. They are BEES, not a 'kitty cat'. They are defending, which is a natural instinct. Very, very aggressive to me is 300 bees slamming my veil. It's all relative. I do not have any very, very aggressive hives, so it is all in what you are willing to tolerate. Keeping a very very aggressive hive is irresponsible though, IMO. Fortunately, I have a follower or two for 20 feet or so....though I know it can be VERY different! So I guess it comes down to what you determine as aggressive.

    For what it's worth, prior to burning, you could also have sent a sample of bees to your State Agency. They would either confirm your diagnosis, or called you a sissy...lol. (the sissy part is a joke...) In AHB territory, they are always willing to do a genetics test. Good luck, and I hope you choose to get back into it. Get a good suit, and it's no big deal. Florida is finally realizing that it is what it is....and we are going to have to learn to deal with it. We can TRY to do all the 'right' things...but bees are bees! Good luck, and jump back on the horse!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    Ah, you're right, I probably should have re-queened. But for my first time beekeeping, they were too aggressive for me to handle. They would start swarming around the hive when I would mow the lawn. Perhaps it had something to do with the heat in AZ. I'm not used to aggressive bees (I come from Denmark, but I moved to the US 10 years ago), so it was really strange to me. Anyways, I plan on getting back into beekeeping next year and I'm debating on whether to get a top bar hive (I heard it was better for beginners) or a langstroth hive. What do you think I should do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    If I were stuck in an area like that. I'd have several hives with over half of them setup with mostly drone comb. I'd flood the area with gentle drones.

    Since drones hop hives. They will go mingle with the feral ones and likely mate with their queens when they requeen/swarm.

    I think all the 'africanized' talk is likely more garbage than truth. They are just evil bees with weak queens.

    The bees my grandaddy had when I was a kid were just as hot. They were black bees. You couldn't get within 30 yards with a tractor from them long or else you'd have them stinging you. This was behind the hives. Not in front.

    I'm glad they are extinct.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Mesa Arizona USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    Hello I keep bees in and around the Gilbert/ meas area also. There are a couple of guys in town who would likely sell you a nuc. I personally would not mess with catching swarms, to much risk of them getting frisky after they grow a little.most of my yards are close to town so people are in the area.if i am using European queens I have a lot better chance for my hives to remain gentle. And the people who own the land seem a lot more comfortable/allow me to keep bees on there place.good luck with your bees GB
    George Brenner @ www.valleyhoneyco.com
    Mesa, AZ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    First off - there is and has been African genes in the southwest for a long time. That's just how it is. Requeen them if they have traits you don't like. Don't let them re-queen themselves past the second generation - give them a new queen. our ferals aren't so bad, but every so often you run across some with strong Brazilian traits. they are mostly just runny wild bees in my area. Very hard to kill them - you can basically neglect their hive and they thrive.

    I have a special yard I take my removals too where i surround them with nice well behaved bees. They typical do calm down after a while and after I give them a virgin to mate out.

    Ralph3 - I do agree with you for the most part about AHB being hyped up garbage. The AMM were definitely worse. Though the AHB are basically turning into a new version of AMM as the move north. There IS Brazilian AHB, but they are mostly down in mexico. The ones we get up north are not really the same.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,332

    Default Re: Dealing with AHB in Arizona?

    No need to burn a hive. The only reason for that would be AFB. I would requeen them, but even if you wish to kill them, there are less destructive ways of doing that.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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