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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

I have now collected 3 swarms this year from my hunting property here in Lancaster County, SC.
This property is extremely isolated. Very sparsely populated.
I have noticed that the bees from these 3 swarms are identical in looks, color and size. Other swarms that I have collected have multiple colors and sizes of bees.
Here is my question:
Does anyone have an opinion on whether these bees from this area are possibly feral bees?
I know that the only true way to tell is to have them tested but I am looking for opinions and if anyone else has observed this.
Thanks.
 

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Always possible. They could even be from the same colony casting multiple swarms.

But, the only difference between feral and non-feral bees are that one lives in a tree and the other lives in a box. Since honey bees are not native to our land there reality it's no difference.

If they are good bees I'd just be happy to have them.
 

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I know that the only true way to tell is to have them tested
How would one test them?
In actuality, there is no reliable way to test for feral bees as opposed to domestic bees (which are also mostly random mutts).
But in your remote location there is a good probability these are truly feral bees - meaning they have been living in the wild for a number of years (as opposed to just 1-2 years).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
mtnmyke,
So, I reckon different color/ size variations within the same colony would be considered mutts and bees of the exact same markings/color would be mutts as well? I don’t know and am just speculating that uniformity may increase the chance of them being Feral/survivor bees?

GregB,
I thought I read a research result somewhere that led toward the idea of being able to trace DNA to pinpoint type of bee. Maybe I read it wrong and they could determine species of bee?

Anyway, I reckon I am trying to talk myself into the fact that due to these particular swarms with exact color pattern and pretty close to the same size as being “feral“?
Wishful thinking, I reckon.
Thanks for the input, it makes sense.
 

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GregB,
I thought I read a research result somewhere that led toward the idea of being able to trace DNA to pinpoint type of bee. Maybe I read it wrong and they could determine species of bee?

Anyway, I reckon I am trying to talk myself into the fact that due to these particular swarms with exact color pattern and pretty close to the same size as being “feral“?
Wishful thinking, I reckon.
Thanks for the input, it makes sense.
You are confused.

Sure - genetically you can pinpoint the predominant representation of A.m.Mellifera or A.m.Carnica or any other basic bee subspecies (which ALL at some point in time were just some local wild bees back in Eurasia).
So you will find that your "feral" bees are at 60% Italian bees and the rest is something else.

What does this tell you?
Absolutely nothing in terms of if they are feral or not.
The North American feral bees have no special and well defined genetic signature.
Don't look for it.

However, again, at your location there is a higher chance to actually catch truly feral bees.
Significant mite resistance is often one of their qualities.
This is one reason many people are looking for feral bees.

Whereas at my location this is about zero chance to catch feral bees.
But in your case keep them and learn what these bees are about.
 
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