Last edited by mike17l; 11-09-2017 at 10:57 AM.
Note that "morphometric analyses" are, more or less, just size and shape measurements.African honey bees cannot be distinguished from European honey bees easily, although they are slightly smaller than the various European races. Laboratory personnel use morphometric analyses to determine the likelihood that a given colony is Africanized or fully African. With honey bees, the measurement of wing venation patterns and the size and coloration of various body parts (morphometry) are important determinants of identification at the subspecific level. Morphometry has been used to differentiate honey bee races since the 1960s and remains the first round of identification when suspect colonies are discovered. Morphometric analyses were first used to differentiate Africanized and European honey bees in South America in 1978.
And as far as AHB stings being 'no different' than stings from other honey bees, that may be true for a single bee sting, but a colony of Africanized Honey Bees are more likely to deliver multiple stings to the victim.
I'd say its hard to claim that multiple stings are no more painful than a single sting.While European races of bees may attack a nest intruder with a few bees (usually no more than 10-20 bees), African bees may attack the same intruder with hundreds of bees.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
I'm not about to take the time to measure them. I just assume all of them have some level of AHB influence. If they are consistently hard to be around, they get a new queen. If I have to scrape them off the veil during a removal, they don't get to come to my house to play.
> For instance the article constantly refers to African bees Apis mellifera scutelatta, there are no African bees A.m. scutelatta in the US. The bees in the US are Africanized, they are a hybrid between A.m. scutelatta and European Honey bees A.m. mellifera. This blatant inaccuracy makes one question the entire article.
For reasons that escape me, that seems to have been the convention since they arrived... to call them scutelatta even though they are clearly a hybrid.
Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.
Africanized honeybees (AHB), Apis mellifera scutellata, are the hybrid offspring resulting from the crossing of domestic or naturalized honeybees (Apis mellifera) of European descent and descendants of the more aggressive African honeybee strain, A. m. scutellata, that was intentionally brought to the New world for cultivation and later accidentally released to the environment. They are sometimes dramatically referred to as "killer bees."
... and Columbia University:
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
I just heard a presentation from Canada's bee lab that about 10 % of the bees they tested had Africanized mitochondrial DNA. This means queenlines are present. Somebody has decided that this is acceptable and is of no concern It seems highly probable that Africanized genes have infiltrated and mixed with European races in North America without any overt behavioral problems. It is probably a good thing as these bees may have traits useful in mite/pathogen/hive beetle resistance. It would be really great if more detailed analysis was done with nuclear DNA to see what the actual extent of the infiltration is, and what traits are being selected for in bee populations. At the same conference I heard a preliminary result that traits like aggression aren't strongly linked to resistance traits.
I've had bees since 1969 starting with two colonies given to my dad. I caught swarms that were clearly and distinctly A.M.m. up to 1993. Most of the A.M.m. genetics were knocked out by varroa. I requeened with good quality Italian queens until 1988 when trachea mites wiped out all of my bees. I purchased 10 colonies in 1989 and requeened with Buckfast queens purchased from BWeaver. The Buckfast were wiped out by Varroa in the winter of 1993/1994. I had a single A.M.m. colony caught as a swarm still alive that spring. I split that colony 3 ways with Italian queens purchased from Miksa and produced a small crop of honey. Apistan strips kept them alive for the next 10 years until I was able to get mite resistant bees. I found a single queen with significant varroa resistance in 2004 caught in a swarm. This queen showed significant influence from A.M.m. as evidenced by spring foraging, temperament, and swarming tendency. In 2005, I got 10 queens from Purvis which I used to produce drones and raised queens from my mite resistant queen to mate with them. I selected from the offspring over the last 12 years currently running @30 colonies of bees. I have not treated for varroa since the winter of 2004/2005. My usual management strategy is to split all strong colonies with a walk away split in late March letting them raise a queen. Weak colonies are either combined to make a stronger colony or are split into nucs to raise a few queens. In a good year, my average for overwintered colonies is about 80 pounds. I am in an area that does not have strong spring flows which affects my average significantly.
1. I've worked A.M.m. and know what aggressive bees are like.
2. I've worked gentle Italians and know what they are like.
3. I've worked Buckfast and know what they were like prior to the incorporation of A.M.Saharensis and I got queens later with Saharensis genetics.
4. I developed my own line of mite resistant bees between 2004 and now.
5. I got queens from BWeaver in 2015 and found out exactly what it is like to work Africanized bees.
So Mike, my suggestion is to get some BWeaver queens and find out for yourself. At this point, I expect you to say salt is pepper and vice versa. Noting that you still have not admitted being wrong and not expecting any different.
NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest
As I stated earlier, I grew up in the county they were first discovered (in the US) in. I now live 100 miles from there. I know what AHB are. I do live removals in this area. I have picked up customers dead dogs, chickens, and goats. I have removed bees from a home where the owner lost his life only a few weeks prior.
When you see what you think is aggressive, it is far more likely a result of poor handling technique than it is Africanization. You want nothing to do with Africanized bees, as you have no idea what they are.
I sent 150 queens to British Columbia this past summer. To obtain the import/export permit, my breeding stock had to be tested for African DNA. The tests were done by the Tarpy lab at NCSU. Rather expensive. No African DNA found.
A complete DNA test would be expensive. They only test mitochondrial DNA I suspect, which would mean your queen lines are European. But its quite possible that African genes could have infiltrated through mixing with drones and all the queen movement. Of course anything detrimental would be weeded out re overwintering etc as you move north. But there are probably some useful traits as well that stick around.