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Africanized bees

3078 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  iivydriff
We just came back from bee college a the beginning of March. One of the speakers, Dr Kearn, spoke on Africanized bees. Since we live in Florida and the State says that 70% of the bees tested are Africanized and we do lots of cutouts we thought it would be important to attend this lecture. One of the things discussed were how far and how many bees will come to defend a hive.We have done over 30 cut outs in the last year or so and have never experienced any of the aggressive behavior Dr. Kearns described. Since we live and work mostly in in Pinellas County which is a peninsular we think that we may be an exception to the rest of the state because the county is more isolated. I would be interested in hearing from other bee keepers in Florida who have had experiences with feral colonies. Please post your experiences both pleasant and unpleasant and the county in which you keep/work bees.
Thanks for the input. Jim
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I think between a lot of hype and lack of good data it is really hard to tell how far they really spread. The maps of the spread keep changing from year to year and don't reflect the numbers, just the fact that AHB were detected there. If you trust those maps only southern half of Florida is affected.
I agree with Bee-52 a lot of hype and lack of good data... Im slightly north of your locations about an hr. or so from St. Pete an 20 min North of Tampa. I have 6 colonies going right now 2 started from nucs last year 2 swarm captures and 2 splits from my original colonies. So far I've got one colony that I would consider to be a little hot, it is a swarm that I captured, I've just attributed their bad behavior to bees being bees, But... I have considered weather of not they may have some AHB attributes. Ive never had a colony come out of a hive like this one dose on occasion. I inspected them about 2 weeks after capturing them an boy were they feisty. They also had some issues from carpenter ants below the nuc but got that situation resolved and they seem to have settled down a little, definitely don't recommend opening that hive without a lit smoker in hand... The other capture is sweet as kittens. I do think there is some AHB genetics in our area, how diluted those genetics are is a toss up. I think with time the AHB and EHB together may make a better bee in general, better able to deal with Varroa and maybe even a little more productive. Time will tell..
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>We have done over 30 cut outs in the last year or so and have never experienced any of the aggressive behavior Dr. Kearns described.

I know people all over Florida who collect cut outs and swarms with the same experience you have. I think you now know it's hype, not facts. Bees CAN be that aggressive, but they are just as likely to be Apis mellifera mellifera or Apis mellifera iberica or some hybrid cross as they are to be some Apis mellifera scutellata cross. I think the most contributing factor to hot bees is when people keep bringing in pure Italians hoping to calm down the bees and getting F1 crosses when those supersede.
70% of the ones tested. Who gets bees tested unless they suspect them to be africanized in the first place.
I have removed probably hundreds of feral colonies and possibly have seen only a couple of hives that I would consider possibly Africanized. This whole concept is blown all out of proportion.
The Darger Thesis is a 'Bombshell'.

It provides evidence for why Southern Honeybees being called 'Africanized' are, in fact, false positives.

They're just 'mean bees'.

The tests used need to be revised/replaced.
I waded thru the data. It would be better if were organized different but I think the conclusion is that the way the state tests using morphetrics (I am not sure of the spelling) is not really telling the story on the how the bees behave. Doing some other reading It seems it takes about 10 years after Africans move in to an area to have them consolidate their hold on the genetics and become the dominate bee in the area. With the thousands of managed hives here in Florida and with so many migratory bees keepers who take their bees to environments more hostile to the African genetics and then bring them back I am hoping that Florida becomes the place where the genetics change and the "killer bees" fade out of public thought. As we do bee removal we try to educate our customers (and a lot of times half the neighborhood) that bees are good, that they are generally safe and the world would be a sad place with out them.
We usually start off fully suited until we have evaluated the situation but frequently end up with just a veil or sometimes nothing. it really helps drive home the love we have for the bees.
I still would like to hear from some south Florda bee keepers since that seems to be where Dr. Kearn based many of his examples.
Keep the comments coming.
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I've done about twenty removals and have experienced about two
hot colonies.

But some seem very nice until the lawnmower or weed eater comes out.

I recently moved a hive down to a farm because they went after me when
I mowed. That's my main litmus test as to whether they remain in my back yard. And of course, this doesn't even mean they are Africanized. It just means they hate lawn equipment.

But I also believe the AFRICANIZED deal has been blown way out of proportion
in Florida. It's just bureaucrats trying to scare the public into propping up their
cush jobs.
Im starting to think this is all a bunch of hype myself. I live in Texas and were supposta have africanized bees EVERYWHERE, we just don't. I do alot of removals and a couple of bees were much more aggressive than others. But some of this we could blame on weather or stressful conditions (extremely hot and dry summers)

But heres what we now have, states that want people to pay for inspections by inspectors and license fees for bees. SO Now these big Gov/state Gov guys can collect more and more money. I guess what im trying to say, its all about the money. Meanwhile we give free healthcare to illegal aliens, pay people to sit on their asses, welfare fraud, yada, yada, yada. Don't get me started
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