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What I don't understand is whether Africanized honey bees can blend into the general bee population, adding traits, or do they 'revert to type' somehow?

If a virgin queen in Texas or Arizona went out and mated, she might get some brood that are half AHB, and the rest of the brood would be regular Italian/mutt. So the other bees could keep the Africanized ones warm during the coldest weeks of winter, but in the longer run, wouldn't the traits that make AHB cold-sensitive help to control them?
 

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The current research appears to indicate that the African types slowly "revert" to a more AMM type bee in temperate regions. I can assure you, the ones I see locally can definitely withstand freezing conditions. Water and rainfall seems to be the limiting factor. The true African/Brazilian bees have a brood/swarm cycle based on the rainy seasons.
 

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rwurster - from this and other threads you seem quite proud of your love for African bees. Can you tell us why?
 

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Probably because they don't die.
That would be it. I love all bees except really aggressive ones and I can fix that problem. I have bee yards out in the sticks, i have a friend whos family has 50 square miles of ranchland where I can put a hot hive until it's successfully requeened. They're coming, and no one is going to stop them. I'm a beekeeper who does removals not a terminix caller and not a guy with his head in the sand. If there was a way to make them all go directly to my house so only I had to deal with them, I would make that pact right now. Yes the prospect of Killer Bees coming to my home town excites me. Will I take them if they're the hottest hive anyone has ever seen? yep (even if they had to be destroyed :( ). Will I take them if no one knows theyre africanized and acting like european bees? yep. I never approach a swarm or hive as though its a trivial matter. Its good to see this news is rattling people, it should reinforce what most should instinctively know: Dont screw with a beehive, I will :) :thumbsup:
 

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A lot of beeks down here in NM have learned you cannot change what is, and work with what they have. Incomes are very small in my region and many of them cannot afford to purchase packages or requeen at the drop of a hat, especially when what is freely available is usually workable, and very hardy. Granted there are some African traits floating around, but that is just life in the Southwest. You don't keep the mean or runny ones.

Packages normally die anyway down here. I know someone who lost 99 out of 100 hives last year.
 

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Accepting that they will arrive and dealing with that (if that is indeed the unavoidable outcome) is different than cheerleading their arrival.
 

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Whether AHB or any hot hive is a problem depends on a person's situation.

If a person has their hives in locations 100's of feet from the public, then I can see a hot hive not being a problem.

I am a hobbiest and keep my hives in my backyard. A hot hive is a big problem for me because a road and sidewalk are about 20' and 50', respectively, from the hives, not to mention being similarly close the normal day-to-day foot traffic of a typical residence.

Last year, I received a nuc from New Mexico, which, over the course of about 10 days turned into a very hot hive. The bees would come pouring out of the hive on the attack like black oil whenever I got within 20' of the hive. The cloud of bees around my head would be so thick that it was hard to see what I was doing when working the hive, the smell of alarm pheromone overwhelming. The bees would follow me for 100's of feet after I worked them, only giving up when I walked through bushes. The bees would chase pedestrians and bike riders down the road. The bees would attack the lawn mower guy as he got out of his truck. The bees would attack the mailman and UPS guy as they made deliveries to our door. We had to sprint between the garage and the house to avoid being attacked. After working the hive, a cloud of bees would form at the nearest window wherever I was in the house, following my scent to attack me. The situation was completly unworkable and caused some serious domestic strife. I called my mentor for help finding a location to put the hive while I requeened it, and he wouldn't touch the situation. I made the same request to my bee club for help, and no one lifted a finger. I finally was able to move the hive to a friend's outyard and requeened. The next option would have been a spray bottle with soapy water.

While it is true that Italians, Carniolins, etc., can be that hot, it would be an anomoly. While it is true that AHB could be docile, AHB are far more likely than Italians, etc., to be hot, and therefore, their significant presence in the local gene pool raises the likelihood of unacceptably hot hives for me. I can not keep such hot hives at my house. I have no other place to keep hives (the hot hive moved to the outyard, mentioned above, being a favor from a friend). If the situation evolves to where a signficant percentage of hives are that hot, I would have to give up beekeeping. I think a large percentage of hobbiest beekeepers are in the same boat.
 

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They're just wild bees. We've been living with them for years and the world hasn't ended. Treat them like the wild bees they are and not pets. They are like wolf dogs.

1 in 6 feral hives I see are too aggressive. That is not a lot different from regular domestic bees and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. You see them every so often, but nowhere near like the alarmists would lead you to believe. We do NOT have true AHB here except near the Mexican border. the rainfall patterns for the mountains stop them. Anything from the North or above 6000-7000' are not normally African to any degree.

Not sure whose nuc you got, but chances are it was not AHB. Most of the nuc sellers here are from the Northern part of the state, and the bees they sell come from elsewhere. There are only a handfull of nuc sellers in this state and I know most of them.
 

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As an urban beekeeper, I can say it would change the game for us. A lot of 'natural' beekeeping is to allow queens to be superseded, to collect swarms and feral bees, etc. -- all of which means bringing in local genetics.
 

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Yes, it would, but you will probably never see them in PA in their current genetic form (AHB). You might eventually end up with some bees that register as African in origin per MtDNA, but the nuclear DNA that determines traits would probably be European since that is the prevailing background there.
 

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A lot of 'natural' beekeeping is to allow queens to be superseded, to collect swarms and feral bees, etc. -- all of which means bringing in local genetics.
An infusion of new genetics will do more good than harm for our bees. Ridding the environment of pesticides is a more pressing concern.
 
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