Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 46

Thread: Ferals

  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: Ferals

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan View Post
    Is there any evidence (other than anecdotal) that ferals are becoming more prevalent again? ie, longer term ferals which are not derived from recently escaped swarms from managed stock.
    If ferals are becoming more prevalent it implies that mite tolerance is improving.
    This presentaion by DR. Deborah Delaney outlines her findings about the genetic diversity of US bees, and she gives an account of the seeming presence of two separate populations, the apiary bees and the ferals, with some sort of 'wall' keeping them apart.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDQNoQfW-9w

    Implicit in the presentaion is the notion that the ferals are resistant to varroa, and she speaks at one point their desirability as breeding stock.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    Well, scientific or not, I love the ferals over here in the USA - at least in my region. They have their pitfalls, as everything does, but you can't hardly kill them, unlike the package bees, etc. That's my unscientific observation. Now loading them on 5000 pallets and shipping them to almonds, that is a recipe for disaster.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default Re: Ferals

    Genetics of feral populations:
    http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.160...F%5D2.0.CO%3B2

    They must be finding feral bees to study:
    http://www.apidologie.org/articles/a...6_ART0003.html

    And, of course Seeley's work:
    http://www.apidologie.org/articles/a...063/m6063.html
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Ferals

    "I've taken chimney swarms three years in a row from the same place. I always ask closely to try to ascertain continuous vs repeated occupation, and are often convinced that accounts of 6 or more years continuous occupations are "

    I have talked with many people who claim that the feral hive has been there "for years"....I wonder how closely they truly watch the hive to see if there is any kind of break in the occupation of the hive....usually they see bees there for a few years, then they might be gone a year, then have a different swarm occupy again; in their mind the bees have been there "forever".

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,192

    Default Re: Ferals

    I would live to see a feral swarm. I have been the same area for years and have seen, or heard tell of, a swarm ..feral or managed, or a bee tree or any feral bees.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  6. #26
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Re: Ferals

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    I have talked with many people who claim that the feral hive has been there "for years"....I wonder how closely they truly watch the hive to see if there is any kind of break in the occupation of the hive....usually they see bees there for a few years, then they might be gone a year, then have a different swarm occupy again; in their mind the bees have been there "forever".
    Yes, its worth questioning carefully. But I often find people are fascinated by bees living in their house or garden, and pay close attention.

    I see no reason not to believe the reality is that there are viable ferals in some places and not in others. And so we hear the testimonies: 'lots round here'; 'never seen any' and the inbetween: 'we have some but they mostly die out after a year or two'.

    There is good reason to suppose that in areas with high concentrations of systematically treating apiaries you won't find many - escapees will perish and treatment-dependent drones will tend to undermine any resistance that would otherwise arise.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    393

    Default Re: Ferals

    Still a lack of formal evidence though which was is what I was interested in finding out. I am aware that there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence that feral numbers are on the rise in the US and that some of them appear to be long lived.
    Of, the 3 links that Mike Bush posted above, the first reference refers to Australia where there is no varroa so I would never have assumed any shortage of ferals there. The third is the Arnot Forest link I mentioned at the start of the thread so only one actual new reference (to ferals in California) so far. Surely there must be more references.

    This one also looks at nest sites of ferals in California but dates from 1989 so not much use. It does not address the issue of longevity either.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,408

    Default Re: Ferals

    I think there were two I remember on Beesource but I couldn't find them now. One was in reference to the ferals in Florida and their Iberian decent. The other was comparing feral genetics to commercial similar to a recent study I saw presented at EAS. That one I think is this one: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/conten...00006/art00017 with this being the more recent one presented at EAS: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1603/008.102.0411
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    You guys are more than welcome to come out and catch the ferals here. There are a ton of them.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    393

    Default Re: Ferals

    Thanks for the links Mike. I am still surprised there is little or nothing more recent in print given the amount of chatter about ferals surving for longer and possibly dealing better with mites than they used to.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    No economic incentive. Too disruptive of the queen breeding and package bee industry.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    393

    Default Re: Ferals

    I would say there is a huge economic incentive to develop a mite tolerant bee irrespective of where the genetics comes from.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    One would think that would be the case, but there is a huge industry here of people selling queens to replace the ferals caught in swarms or relocated from cut-outs. Everybody has something better to sell you to replace the natural product.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Ferals

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan View Post
    I would say there is a huge economic incentive to develop a mite tolerant bee irrespective of where the genetics comes from.
    If that were the case I'd have people begging to take my feral bees off my hands but proving mite resistance isn't as simple as that. Nor are my area feral bees considered gentle or "productive" in a uniform sense. Industry beekeeper's perception of what ranks as primary valuable traits leave most feral bees out of the equation, as many would be happier treating them to death in a t-shirt and a veil, so they opt for easy European genetics rather than feisty Italian/AHB hybrids.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Belfast, Ireland
    Posts
    393

    Default Re: Ferals

    It's not the fault of 'industry' that docility and productivity are sought after traits. Most ordinary hobbyist beekeepers want those traits. Did Seeley not find that when ferals were moved from one place to another they lost their ability to survive untreated for some reason? None of this is simple like you say.
    You should be able to reduce aggression levels in any bees you start with if you breed from the more docile colonies and requeen those which have undesirable traits. The other thing would be to try and stabilize the population by avoiding mixing up the genetics all the time. I don't think there is any correlation between aggression and mite tolerance per se. Unless it is something which comes from scutellata, and not all surviving ferals are africanized.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    703

    Default Re: Ferals

    I see no evidence that the California queen breeding industry is suppressing a search for mite resistance. On the contrary, the queen breeders I know engage in epic efforts to secure and test resistance.
    One of Glenn's last efforts before he retired was to secure and test the last solitary survivors of the Santa Cruz Island Varroa bee extermination experiment. Breeders keep multiple TF and essential oil treated colonies to test response, and select from the best for grafting source.

    Part of a cult's ethology is to develop a "persecution complex". This belief that evil industry overlords are sabotaging resistance is part and parcel of that. California breeders are working with due diligence to test mite response. In my own experience, I see no improved resistance in wild caught swarms from the wilderness compared to domestic queens.

    I worked with patently Africanized bees in Costa Rica for a number of years, in Mexico and Guatemala, and now with their relatively tame half-breeds in southern California. These bees swarm constantly, and keep multiple queens so they can abscond and divide. That behavior is key to their mite escape -- constant swarm and division. Not a domestic trait.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 03-25-2014 at 07:48 AM.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    I could not care less about cult theology or breeding. I am speaking of economics on a larger scale. It is simply how capitalism works.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Ferals

    @ Jonathan, you have accurately described my 5-10 year breeding plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I worked with patently Africanized bees in Costa Rica for a number of years, in Mexico and Guatemala, and now with their relatively tame half-breeds in southern California. These bees swarm constantly, and keep multiple queens so they can abscond and divide. That behavior is key to their mite escape -- constant swarm and division. Not a domestic trait.
    With respect you cite this observation, mantra-like, every time the issue of AHB hybrid/feral mutts and mite resistance comes up. I work extensively with those same tame half-breeds all the time, though not as a commercial beekeeper, and I haven't seen any evidence that they are any more or less swarmy than domestic breeds. I would posit that perceived swarmy-ness has as much to do with brood nest management as inherited traits. I have several hives going into their third year without treatment that I have yet to see throw off a swarm, but then I let them expand their brood nest seasonally without excluders. The hives that others maintain of similar genetics throw off swarms when crowded or honeybound, but really what hives wouldn't?

    Feral bees- even the So. Cal Ital/AHB mutts- are hardly monolithic in their expression of traits, which gives me a lot of hope in selecting commercially viable mite resistant stock.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ferals

    Mine aren't very swarmy either. Not any more than regular bees. My oldest hive died at 4 1/2 - only threw one swarm I knew of. They were totally feral and most likely partially African. I never tested them because I could work with them and they made a lot of honey for me. They could also handle our, sometimes very cold and snowy, environment. Our bees are not really the same as the California bees though. I have seen some as Mr. Chestnut describes, but they are not that common here.

    I can also see how dabbling in ferals would not benefit a commercial operation. Sort of like expecting wild mustangs to make good thoroughbreds.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    654

    Default Re: Ferals

    Since Paul and I live in basically the same environment, just different latitudes, I do think it would be interesting to bring some of his ferals here to see if they express different traits further north. Im 96 miles north of the NM border.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
    Facebook

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

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