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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted to take this off the Weaver post and let's take a look at what I'm being told is a change in attitude about buying queens and bees from Africanized areas. I would appreciate links on any new studies. It would really be helpful to hear from anyone ordering queens from AHB areas and your experiances over a season or more. (anything less than 6 weeks had not value for comparison since that is the norm for AHB traits to show up from cross bred stock).

Here's my take:

When was the last time you bought from them and what were the queens like?
4 years ago? Queens were exceptional as always. But this debate truly is not about Weaver it's about queens from Africanized areas. I met Binford at the 1997 ABF convention in Norfolk, they are the picture of the best beekeeping and quality people. AHB may be bigger than them at this stage of the game. Please prove me wrong.

Read what others who are familiar with BeeWeaver are saying about their managing their mating yards to protect againt AHB. No one is advocating that.
Certainly they are. Clarissa makes that point in her post and clouding the truth is a denial. You may not be openly promoting but it is apparrent you have accepted it. Has anyone accomplished flooding areas with European Drones to prevent Africanized genetics? Research says you must apply several protocols to impact AHB of which flooding the area with EHB drones is one.

No, they have good survivor queens from a pool of 8,000 colonies to select from with minimal chance of being AHB. Does that mean the potential isn't there?
Let's be clear, it's not potentially, the breeder is honest enough to say it is and even you say the same potential exists. In 2005 or 2006 SHB hit texas hard and many were decimated by SHB. Do you know if your breeder was, I know, you should find out. The area was AHB and that huge EHB pool did not exist. We know because of the nature of the shorter brood cycle once AHB establish they have priority in the breeding pool. The concept of flooding areas with EHB to prevent Aficanization has been attempted and consistently failed. I think there are 6 reccommended protocols. Maybe Weavers are doing this as well but all I'm aware of is flooding.

Right:rolleyes:! Another ludicrous statement. Sure seems like someone has an agenda here.

Ludicrous like aggreeing this is a north south issue. For the record the Mason/Dixon Line is no longer a political boundry so give me a break. I keep bees in NY and SC and I have family in both places and we are all Americans!

I do have an agenda. Not spreading AHB genetics by making the choice to not buy bees from Africanized areas. When an AHB hives happens in GA or NY or Minn and the worst happens the press will grab it and then beekeepers, especially the hobbyist, will be the lepars of the farming world. Ludicrous. More so than chosing to buy bees a breeder admits have been Africanized? Let's think about this logically.

Beekeeper buys bees that even the breeder is saying are potentially AHB. Open bred queen, maybe only bred with one AHB drone out of the 8 to 15 drones the queen mates with. 1st. maybe 2nd summer Hive swarms and it's time to raise a new queen. What will the new queen genetics be? AHB because that brood cycle is shorter than EHB the AHB queen will always have genetic advantage if the old queen was bred with and AHB drone. Now we have AHB dominate drones and there's the real issue for surrounding beekeepers. That's one reason they are so successful in the wild. She not only hatches earlier now she can destroy the other queens in their cells. Now your hive is headed by an AHB queen. At this point your population demographics change drastically and the issue of if I have a problem becomes I do have a problem. Not a problem of hot bees but a problem of bees that may kill my neighbors dog or kid mowing the lawen if I'm keeping bees in my back yard or a populated area that are Africanized.

Yes, AHB genes are spreading with migratatory beeks like everything else we spread such as SHB, mites and Cernae. So would you order bees the breeder was saying had these issues? I don't think we should hurry the spread along. I can tell you there are very few experianced professionals looking to take a chance on AHB. I wouldn't be in hurry to get them in my back yard! I think everyone is hoping over time the EHB will dominate but 2 or 3 decades over several countries of spread with hundreds of efforts to inject EHB genetics has not been successful. AHB genetics consistently find a way to prevail.

I'm expressing my opinion. I encourage plenty of research but by all means do what works for you. Talk to your state inspector and your homeowners insurance. Cloud it with whatever serves you best if you think I have an agenda. Bottom line, AHB has a decades history, read it. See what scientist are saying who have worked on this for 20 years. Flooding an area one of 6 or so protocals required in combination for for any success. Clearly it has been shown no one protocol works it takes many. I carry 2 million in business liabitilty which protects me somewhat. If you can afford the risk in your hobby or business that's fine, I can't. I'm sharing some of my thought process that prevents me from making what I think is a bad choice for my operation and beekeeping in general, buying stock from Africanized areas anywhere.

Make certain to read Mike Bushes comments. A long time Buckfast man but possibly he has an agenda too.

Here's some previous posts on the subject
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215290
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221322
 

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I to do not buy queens from any area even remotely close to AHB teritory. In my opinion, you are guaranteed at least some AHB genes in doing so. This doesn't mean that I think those breeders are bad or dishonest people. I just don't want to help AHB along!
 

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Ludicrous like aggreeing this is a north south issue. For the record the Mason/Dixon Line is no longer a political boundry so give me a break. I keep bees in NY and SC and I have family in both places and we are all Americans! I do have an agenda.
When in the world did I mention anything about the Mason/Dixon Line, it was you who brought that up. And I just love the way you take my quote without taking your statment which caused my statement. This is your statement from the other thread which cause my ludicrous allegation statement above:

My suggestion before anyone decides to buy potentially Aficanized stock from anyone is to contact your Priest, Lawyer, bee inspector and neighbors in that order.
And yes your statement above is ludicrous, and no I am not really interested in rehashing this issue for the upteenth time.

Let's see now there is a thread bashing Australian bees, which states the Southern Beeks should do more in providing bees to the rest of the country so we don't have to import, and now a thread bashing Southern beeks for raising queens where they might 'potentially' have some AHB gene. No, I don't think I will give you a break. There is a reason Northern beeks want southern bees, and a reason why commercial beeks migrate to the south during the winter. Go and read the other threads and find out why. It doesn't have to be rehashed over and over again and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Quote and comment added:
4 years ago? Queens were exceptional as always. But this debate truly is not about Weaver it's about queens from Africanized areas. I met Binford at the 1997 ABF convention in Norfolk, they are the picture of the best beekeeping and quality people. AHB may be bigger than them at this stage of the game. Please prove me wrong.
How about this, Ahb arrived in Texas in 1990 (let's see that is 20 years ago), they spread at and average rate of between 150 to 300 miles per year. That is between 3,000 and 6,000 miles since their arrival. In damage that could be done all the way up to the North pole, has been done. The world hasn't stopped turning, and we don't need to "contact your Priest, Lawyer, bee inspector and neighbors in that order", do we.


Kidest Regards
Daniel Unger
 

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I contend that there are no hives in the US that don't have some AHB genetics in there. Magratory beeks and any queens that come from AHB areas (CA, TX, and FL to name a few) have ensured that the AHB genetics have been spread for decades. If you collect swarms, do cut outs, or open breed you're picking some up there. Supercedures and swarms in ones own hives ensure that you open breed whether you like it or not.

I've got mutts for bees. I add swarms and cut outs to their genetic pool every time I collect one. Non productive queens are removed. When I get a hot hive is it because they have AHB, Buckfast, German, Russian, or unknown genetics? I don't know, I honestly don't care. I simply remove them from the breeding pool. On occasion we all end up with a hot queen no matter what. I pinch the queen and replace her with a homegrown grafted queen from one my nucs. Ironically I just bought 3 B Weaver queens this morning to add known mite resistance to my muts and to see how they do in relation to my queens. If I find they are superior I may graft off of them

There's simply no way large southern breeders could stay in business if they offered queens that are regularly too hot and or unproductive. Thinking one can avoid AHB genetics by not buying from Southern breeders is whistling past the graveyard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Dan,
I posted this in hopes of getting some real information! Maybe I could suggest spending some time checking with some better sources. Cornell, Penn State, ARS, AAI........ the list goes on and on for any of the hundreds of other scientific reference efforts out there if you do a 10 second search on google. Virtually every source classifes AHB as a pest alongside AFB, Varroa and Cernae. These are our bee experts who are still working to prevent the spread and mimimize the impact of the what is virtually a catalog of negative AHB traits to US beekeepers and others. Then maybe we can get past the rehash stage. For some reason they haven't read your posts saying AHB impact is complete and there is no more reason for concern. AHB have traveled 6000 miles in the US since 1990's :) like to see where you got that figure. Okay, I'll concede don't call your priest but really do call the others if you're looking to get into raising AHB. I'm looking for facts and agree, no need for you to keep rehashing. In the mean time share some of your research resources with the rest of us.

I'll stand on the platform promoting AHB in any form as being neutralized and safe is simply not responsible beekeeping at this stage of the development.

Here's a few links to get you going.

http://vivo.library.cornell.edu/individual/vivo/individual16544 (older article for some perspective)
http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=414849
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/target_pest_disease_profiles/ahb_profile.html
 

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The only way you are going to defeat AHB is by breeding them down to gentleness. They are already out here, and have been. Dee Lusby is in the thick of it -- on the front lines if you will -- and her bees are fine. Do they have some african genetics? Yes, probably. Are they African Bees? Nope. The henhouse door has been open for 20+ years, and you are recommending shutting it now? This is futile and foolish. There have always been Hot bees. There always will be (maybe). You cull them out and move on. I am just a few hours north of Weaver, and half my ferals are gentle as can be. Many others are not, but I give them a chance. The only real mean bees I have gotten in the last couple of years came out of Florida and cut-out of barns here. I also had mean bees in New Mexico (north of the line) and New York, and Louisiana. There are many inexperienced beeks in Vermont who think they have "africanized" bees, just because they are hot. I would like to hear some common sense from some ancient beeks out there from the 1950s/60s talk about their experience with mean bees as this is before my time...
 

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Y'all sound like politicians arguing their point is correct. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Do what works for you in your particular area, share your opinions... but keep the conversation civil. And for the record for those that may not know, what possibly makes African Bees any more dangerous than any other honey bee is not the power or strength of their venom. It is the number of bees in which stings a person due to their aggressiveness when riled up. This forum should be about learning, teaching, sharing positive information and advice. NUFF SAID
 

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I am interested in this thread because I live in an area with identified AHBs and am trying to avoid getting these in my hive. I am new to beekeeping BTW.
I ordered bees from Rossman Apiaries that are due to arrive in May. From what I understand, one of the preventative measures for avoiding getting AHBs is requeening every year. Is this true? And if so, should I always buy a queen from a specific area? I realize now that Rossman is in Georgia, and Georgia has AHBs, but that doesn't mean that Rossman has an AHB problem.
Thanks in advance
 

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I went beyond the standards of common decency and of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and am correcting that entry directed towards Joel.
 

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Unfortunately, I do not have a PhD in Entomology (mine is in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) but David DeJong does. He will be giving the keynote address at the University of Florida 2010 Bee College. Here's the link: http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/HoneyBee/extension/Bee College/2010 Bee College Program.pdf. Dr. DeJong has nothing but good things to say about AHBs in Brazil when managed appropriately. Here's a link for one article: http://www.beebusters.com/abj_note.html

Returning to genetics, which is my specialty, I will make the human analogy again (and yes, I do realize that drones are haploid but this is only an analogy.) There is such a thing as Sickle Cell Anemia (Tay-Sachs and some other rare RBC deforming genetic diseases) because when you inherit only one gene from a parent it confers considerable resistance to malaria. This is a handy, genetic trait when you live in areas with endemic disease. If you inherit a gene from both parents it is deadly....

Without modern intervention. Which brings us back to A. mellifera and people like the Weavers. If AHB genetics (not AHBs, with all their nasty habits) can confer resistance to pests like SHBs and varroa, then why not intentionally include them in your stock? This seems especially true if your source is a a trustworthy one, with a record of exceptional products, good customer service, and a replacement policy for anything "mean" that slips through. If someone has managed to separate superior hygienic traits from aggression then I'm all for giving it a try. Saying that all our problems will be solved by the Russian bees (or put your favorite panacea here) is like saying we don't need tetracycline because we have penicillin, in my opinion.

Americans are mutts from all over. Our bees should be too, I think. Outbred populations are always the most resistant (I'm tempted to make another analogy involving H. sapiens royalty, but I shall refrain.) Though, returning to that North/South divide, I do have to wonder if AHBs could tolerate a northern winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Catdance -Contact your state inspection or extension serive. They'll provide you with good information on how close the issue is to you. Inspection can be a pain but in a problem they can be a good tool.

Typically it takes a couple of brood cycles to identify an AHB queen as it may take awhile to get enough AHB individual bees to cause a problem. 6 weeks or so is a good average. Any bees can be hot, if you're in an AHB area be vigilant for hot bees and requeen if they become difficult. Always a Good Idea when your new to the craft to look around. Somewhere nearby is an experiance guy who most likely will mentor you through the beginning. Requeeing yearly has many benefits including better brood and thus honey production in many cases as well as reduced swarming and in AHB area's clear knowledge of your stock. Marking your queens will help as well since you'll know if she is superceded or replaced.

Good Luck!

Thanks for the links Clerssa, this is stuff we can see and learn from!
 

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Though, returning to that North/South divide, I do have to wonder if AHBs could tolerate a northern winter.
Claressa: I am glad it was you who said this and not me, as I have stated this in numerous other post many times before at the point of ridicule. Makes me wonder how/why we choose to forget that AHB do not form an effective cluster; and therefore cannot survive the harsh winters. Many also, choose to ignore the 34th parallel line of demarcation. This is part of the point that I was trying to show in my previous post on this thread. This line of demarcation was reached long ago in this country. Also, makes me wonder why government money was given to Penn State to research Ahb.

Kindest Regards
Danny Unger
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Unfortunately, I do not have a PhD in Entomology (mine is in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) .
Thanks for some good links and insight. It's good to be challenged with facts and have to think!

AHB do not seem to have broken the climate barrier in Europe but after their failure to thrive in LA there could be other factors holding them back.

I'll read the links and check back!
 

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You're very welcome, Joel. I hate when people make arguments without documentation also. I'm too OCD to tolerate that!

Does anyone have an estimate of AHB damage in 'infested' areas? I grew up with the Swarm 1970s movies and am sure they exaggerate, but how much? It seems folks south of the border were in a bind because they didn't really have a history of beekeeping prior to AHB introduction (hence, the whole enterprise in the first place.) Could AHB aggression be ameliorated by our native population of EHB drones? I know it's been difficult to flood an already infested area and completely breed them out. Has it really been that bad in the US?

Maybe I am ill-informed and "whistling Dixie" ;)
 

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While I don't consider myself exactly ancient :rolleyes: I've been in the biz for a while. Yes, there have always been hot bees and yes they get pinched if we notice them. We have ordered some queens from AHB effected territory (hard not to on a commercial level) and while we could be more tolerant of hot bees, our customers and our land owners expect (and deserve) otherwise. We have not seen any increase in aggressiveness, but if a particular part of the country or a particular breeder showed marked change, we would do business elsewhere.
This is not a North/South issue. Quite correctly northern beeks need southern queens and thankfully the responsible queen breeders are doing their best to hold the line. Hopefully the huge influx of European bees across the southern tier will dilute the AHB genetics into something more manageable.

Encouraging complacency and nonchalant acceptance of this pest is not in anyone's best interest. How long do you think migrators from uncontested AHB territory would last at their northern locations if they set down an apiary of AHB alongside the road used by the horse and buggy Amish to go to church (which we do now, with no problem)? Or 1/8 of a mile from a school yard (as we do now, with no problem)?
A hive's demeanor can change over the course of the summer due to size, weather, and outside stimulus; stimulus such as a 12 year old riding his ATV on the path 50' away from the bees late in the afternoon. "Some AHB genetics" is one thing but undiluted AHB is entirely different. "Some AHB genetics" might get him stung, undiluted AHB could kill him.
I suspect it would take approx 1 publicized AHB attack and we would lose many of our bee yards.
Wisconsin and much of the upper midwest, isn't like some areas where you might have a chance to isolate bee yards and if the yard is AHB only the beekeeper and hapless varied wildlife would know. You couldn't go 1/4 mile in most of our area without running into a farm house and the vacant land between is either used recreationally or is managed by farmers, neither of which would tolerate AHB.
Commercials would not be the only ones negatively impacted. Hobbyists would mostly go the way of the dodo. You don't see many hobbyists in uncontested AHB territory, certainly not in close proximity to people; it is just too dangerous. In our litigious society, how much liability insurance would you feel is enough, even if zoning didn't outright outlaw honeybees?

Someone asked earlier why Mexico wasn't allowed to bring their bees into the CA bloom. The simple answer is that people, pets and livestock would die as a result, period. IMO, anyone who thinks AHB is something to encourage just does not understand the ramifications. It was this sort of naivete that brought these bees to our hemisphere to begin with.
Sheri
I would like to add that I feel Australian imports are a more immediate risk than AHB, and something which we could (and should) control. Will we be assessing the impact of another devastating mite in 10 years? Very likely.
 

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Has it really been that bad in the US?

Maybe I am ill-informed and "whistling Dixie" ;)
That depends on who you ask. Ask the beeks that aren't familiar with the problem and they think that anywhere there has been an AHB sighting people and animals are being attacked and killed daily. Ask those that live in those areas and proper managment techniques have been implemented to deal with the problem. I have had one colony which exhibited strong AHB trait. This was purchased and the queen had been raised in an area known to have AHB populations, an area well south of me (Woodville, Texas area), and which bordered a large national forest where commercial beeks would not be allowed. I split and requeened and solved the problem. I have a BeeWeaver queen which I worked today without gloves or veil and only smoke. My son was gloved and veiled up and dropped a frame of bees and I received a horrifying one sting; although 20 to 30 flew in the air and I did receive about a dozen head butts.

Claressa, what you may not know is that this issue has been hashed and rehased in many threads with adequate research referenced. Just do a search for "africanized", (a thread title search otherwise you will be overwhelmed. The problem is great south and along the demarcation line "the 34th parallel", and in most areas 50 miles north of that line the problem is not noticable. However, this line will bulge somewhat in areas which have milder and dryer winters north of this line. In one of the other threads a NASA mapped out these areas provided by one who posted.

Kindest Regards
Danny Unger

P.S. in some of these prior threads Dejong's work has been also referenced.
 

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DRUR: Pish and tosh! Polar bears don't live in Florida because they can't. AHB's don't live in Vermont because they can't? Can you provide some links on that 34th parallel thing? Having been on many a government research awards committee, I can guess that Penn got the money because they had a very good proposal. They are likely to be considered the 'control' group much like the 'placebo' group of Viagra trials and whatnot. However, I think they are collaborating with Keith S. Delaplane at University of Georgia. Thus, having bees on both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Lest it be misunderstood, I am in no way advocating the advancement of AHBs in the US, only beneficial AHB traits that might be conferred from open matings in AHB endemic areas. In short, I see no problem with buying queens from responsible breeders in Africanized areas.
 

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DRUR: Pish and tosh! Polar bears don't live in Florida because they can't. AHB's don't live in Vermont because they can't? Can you provide some links on that 34th parallel thing?
Yes, as previously noted, this has been discussed in the other threads. In particular you might find (mid 2009 thread) which has the NASA map which maps out areas where AHB could be enviromentally surviavable. Sorry, I just don't have the time, this time of year to go back and dig up this research. But, I will say this that Dr. Dejong references this demarcation line in some of his research. If you are going to a meeting he is going to speak at you need to present the question to him. I kept bees in the late 70's and early 80's and this line was the same before they ever reached here.

I can guess that Penn got the money because they had a very good proposal.
I was a delegate to the 1980 Republican convention in Dallas in which Ronald Reagan was elected and my experience tells me that most of this money (a.k.a. pork) is awarded as political favors.

Lest it be misunderstood, I am in no way advocating the advancement of AHBs in the US, only beneficial AHB traits that might be conferred from open matings in AHB endemic areas.
Can't agree with you there. It was the miscegenation of the African and European races that caused this problem in the first place. Personally, I feel selection of resistant traits from within the race of Europeans is the answer and not the genetic modification of those races, whether it be naturally or induced by modern science. This corruption of the seed (Gen. Chpt. 6) is what brought about the judgment of God with the Noahatic flood to begin with.

In short, I see no problem with buying queens from responsible breeders in Africanized areas.
That is as long as they implement proper management techniques to minimize the problem.

Kindest Regards
Danny Unger
 

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I shall diligently research AHBs and the NASA data. There is certainly arbitrary partisanship involved in government awards, but not as much as the voting public thinks despite the occasional $5000 toilet. The money really does go to a worthy cause in most cases. If you care to start a tangental thread I'll tell you why it is perfectly right and proper that we genetically test bears, or whatever your Senator has made seem ridiculous.

I guess my question is, do you think it is possible to keep AHBs (genetic traits merely or full-blown, you make the distinctions and qualifications) out of the population at large? For how long? Shouldn't we just prepare for the inevitable? Why not?

Thanks in advance for you insights.
 
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