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They are indeed manageable and folks to the South of us here in Central AZ and Mexico work with them and say they are good honey producers. Hives need to be kept further apart to keep neighboring hives from ganging up on you when they since you messing with a hive close by and also protective gear and smoke is always recommended. Not so evil as media would have you think, but messing with their home by accident can be a bad deal for sure and sometimes fatal for those with allergies... :lookout:
 

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Most AHB cowboys have bellows smokers the size of a muffler. If you're going to work them, get one or make one. The ones I've seen are slightly larger diameter and at least twice as tall - like 18 to 20 inches tall, standard-sized bellows seem to work just fine, but most have tall bellows as well. I found that sage smoke seemed to calm them down a bit if you smoked them up pretty thorough, then waited one minute before opening them up.

Notice that Fernando specifically says that he can only do this (remove your veil) very carefully (he means also only in ideal conditions) because he manages them often and he uses smoke.

They behave a bit different when you open the brood nest without smoke....:eek:
 

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I spent two years at ASU. The Africanized colonies we worked with were considerably stronger and more aggressive. I forget to zip my veil one time and the bees quickly reminded me of my mistake. The video speaks for itself, but there are differences in Africanized bees from different regions and even seasons.
 

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...but there are differences in Africanized bees from different regions and even seasons.
We also need to explain to newbees that there are differences in European bees in different seasons, too. The bees that are quite docile in April and May and don't even need smoke can be sting machines by Autumn when they have stores to protect. This is also normal behavior and does not mean they have become Africanized.

JMO


Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The video speaks for itself, but there are differences in Africanized bees from different regions and even seasons.
Yes. I've now received feedback from a large scale beekeeper in Brazil, who acquires most of his bees from swarms, suggesting his bees are much more aggressive. While an individual in Puerto Rico is telling me her 3 colonies are very nice.

Why is there a big regional difference?

A friend of mine, who has been doing some work on AHB genetics, wrote the following in our local association group:

"We're not sure if Puerto Rican bees are gentle due to chance or selection. There is some work coming out on that, hopefully soon. It did take a few generations for the gentleness to establish in PR. "
In the case of Fernando's bees in Costa Rica, his son mentioned to us that there was a loss in productivity with the gentler bees they were able to breed. So I believe he may have tried to achieve some kind of middle ground between gentleness and productivity in his breeding program.

Has much effort been put into breeding calmer AHB in other areas?
 

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Fear and pain is why I keep my veil on.
Kinda like picking a fist fight.
Plus I have greater fear of a sting on the eyeball.
 

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He was not working without the veil, only demonstrating. That being said, working any bees without a veil is irresponsible, one errant sting to the eye can easily cause blindness.

There is a person who lives and works in deep south texas, he does removals with out a veil and many times with out a shirt. I believe he pre-selects the colonies he can do this with to show off for the camera, or he does a forced abscond, followed by the on camera shirtless removal. This is beyond irresponsible as it promotes this behavior in beekeepers, many whom are naive enough to believe they can do it as well. I can take you to colonies you would quickly regret showing up with out every square inch of your body protected, no matter the handling practices.

AHB are not inherently killers, we need to stop spreading this propaganda, however, they are not puppy dogs and are not for the feint of heart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Plus I have greater fear of a sting on the eyeball.
That being said, working any bees without a veil is irresponsible, one errant sting to the eye can easily cause blindness.
I agree with this 100%. An eyeball sting, and perhaps some slight protection from sun is why I wear a veil. Though I have thought briefly about getting goggles.


AHB are not inherently killers, we need to stop spreading this propaganda
I suspect this is the main idea he wanted to promote with his demonstration. I don't think anyone should try this at home.


however, they are not puppy dogs and are not for the feint of heart.
The interesting thing I'm learning since sharing this video is how variable aggression in AHB seems to be. A friend just sent me this video:


Perhaps for those experiencing the worst of the worst of AHB behaviour there is potential to improve the situation?
 
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