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Discussion Starter #1
The pun is intended.

I am in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. So I guess I am one of the few African bee keepers on the Forums.

I started keeping bees in 2008 after inheriting three Langstroths (one colonised) from a friend who emigrated. The other two have since been colonised too.

I work with the African Bee and I can testify to its aggressiveness as well as its high productivity.

My wish is to go commercial and become a full time producer in the next three to five years.

I am a soon-to-retire banker.

I hope the other forumites will be able to assist me attain a high colonisation rate to achieve my target of 250 hives by December 2012.

It's good to be here!!:)
 

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Are your bees the ones that have the green backs and legs? I am going to Nigeria in January 2011 and I was going to bring a hive (no bees). I wanted to set up a hive when I am there but I was thinking that the real mean bees were in Tanzania and were isolated by a desert, otherwise what would keep the AHB from migrating to Europe?
 

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seamuswildhoney,
I believe the bees that BEEYA is talking about are most likely Apis mellifera scutellata. One of the pure subspecies of honey bee native to Africa, or another African native subspecies (there are several). Not Africanized Honey Bees (AHB), which we have here in the America's. AHBs are hybrids between Apis mellifera scutellata and other subspecies, usually of European origins, such as Apis mellifera ligustica, etc.

I once knew a fellow who spent more than a decade living and working Apis mellifera scutellata, there in South Africa. He described how there were strains of these bees which were as easy to work as our gentler strains of European bees. Perhaps BEEYA, if it were an issue with you, you could locate some of these more gentle strains.

As far as colonising your idle equipment, I expect that if you set empty hives with bait (empty combs and/or lemongrass lures), that your empty hives would be occupied quite readily.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are your bees the ones that have the green backs and legs? I am going to Nigeria in January 2011 and I was going to bring a hive (no bees). I wanted to set up a hive when I am there but I was thinking that the real mean bees were in Tanzania and were isolated by a desert, otherwise what would keep the AHB from migrating to Europe?
No - these ones have black and yellow abdomens and entirely black legs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
seamuswildhoney,

I once knew a fellow who spent more than a decade living and working Apis mellifera scutellata, there in South Africa. He described how there were strains of these bees which were as easy to work as our gentler strains of European bees. Perhaps BEEYA, if it were an issue with you, you could locate some of these more gentle strains.

As far as colonising your idle equipment, I expect that if you set empty hives with bait (empty combs and/or lemongrass lures), that your empty hives would be occupied quite readily.
I have seven colonized hives and all seem to have the very aggressive types. Two weeks ago a friend and I had to abandon trying to harvest one of the hives because the bees would not even be subdued by the smoke. We had to replace the roof without removing the second super and found shelter in the truck. Even there they followed us forcing us to drive off to a safe distance. You cannot work without full protection including wellingtons and elbow length gloves. My friend did not have wellingtons and suffered multiple stings to his ankles through the socks. Fortunately he is one of those who do not react adversely to stings.

What is the best time time of day for harvesting?
 
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