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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I sit here and scratch the stings I took 3-4 days ago, I ponder the existence of German Black Bees somewhere locally, still. I dont know if NY was a hot bed of blacks back in the day or not? Maybe a small pocket that thrives on local conditions. It seems possible, though how likely is my question. Has anyone heard from NY inspectors, or have any knowledge if this is remotely possible? My reasoning for this question is as follows. A superceded queen last summer turned one hive into a fairly dark black hive. Temperment increased a small noticable amount. Nothing of concern really. A split from this hive with a local raised mated queen resulted in a very very dark hive and very very mean temperment. Much meaner than the parent, and much meaner than the purchased packages I have had over the last 2 years. I thought maybe that the queen is mating with feral black bees or descendants of them? I dont think its dearth, as each time I go in they are mean. Weather should not be a factor either, each time. Only the one hive is mean so dearth, weather, mites, visitors. I would think all hives would be mean if any of these were a factor. Only once when I went in was the mean hive not awful. They were still more aggressive and meaner than the other hives by far but less so than normal.

If I would not have been wearing my suite and gloves this last check I dont know how many stings I would have taken. The number of bees that boiled up and flew at me when I went down into the hive was amazing. Not something I want to repeat.
 

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They are out there in many places. Also, our wild population is getting darker in general. supposedly the black bee traits are more conducive to wild survival than the lighter bee traits here on our continent.
 

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You're describing ferals. However, if they're that mean, you have to either requeen or 'dispatch' them.

It sounds like the 'Hybrid Swarm' is in your area.

PS-Paul McCarty is 'expert' in this field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks though I wondered about first hand knowledge about the blacks in my area, or at least NY in general. I think someone on here is a former NY inspector and I hope he comments. There are no more bee keepers that I am aware of in a bee-foraging or even drone flying distance. So whatever my queen mated with is not kept. Exception of one new person down the road as of June, after my queen was mated.

Paul - What can I look at as far as physical traits to see if these are in fact some hybrid or descendants? Also is there any DNA sequencing that is being done? I can send in a sample of the bees. I also found out a few weeks ago an older farmer has a hollow walnut or some type of tree anyway that has had bees in it for years and years, predating my bees. I could likely get a few of these.

The more I investigate about the blacks, the more interesting I find it.
 

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Not sure I would be an "expert", but I do like the dark bees. Too far north to be any that I am used to dealing with.

You could send some in for general DNA testing, but mostly it would just tell you African - yes/no. What you would need would be MtDNA testing which shows what line the queen came from. It is very expensive and hard to find anyone who does it.

As far as traits go, we have some dark bees I have run across here in the mountains that have reddish queens and a sort of red tint to their underside. No typical orange banding on them either, as in more Italian type bees. just sort of black/gray banding, sometimes with the red/brown tint. They are mean as the dickens too. They are rare here, but I have seen them a few times.

I had a bee tree full of them once, and they were so mean, they were almost comical. You could approach it, but when you touched it or did anything to it - you better run! Out they came, like clockwork! I meant to trap them out, but got busy with other removals and they eventually swarmed and hybridized with the locals - becoming a lighter color. Still have them, but they aren't as much fun. Got them from a 9000' foot mountain pine tree. I got them for the survivor drones, which for that purpose, I guess they accomplished.
 

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your original two hives were light bees, you were going to get nucs or packages this year. who did you get them from and what where the type of bee.
you might want to send a question to (i can never spell it correctly) sqkcrk, I'll come back and correct when I look it up, he was a bee inspector in ny.
you also have alot of commercial guys that move into the area, but most come in after june also.
 

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I'm curious as why the concern over black bees. It's true that they are a little more defensive but I've never had to requeen any of my colonies. They are good producers and defend against yellow jackets and robbers well compared to my Italian colonies who are far to mellow.
 

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There are black bee colonies around Elmira.
I haven't sought out the colonies, but have seen their foragers in/near a couple of my yards far enough apart that they weren't from the hive.

They were pretty mellow in the field- I'm considering bee-lining them to find the colony and perhaps hive it in a yard separate from my others to see if I want to keep them.

They're similarly colored to yours - reddish dark brown stripes, and noticeably slightly smaller than my (small cell) bees.
 

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I kind of like them. Mostly as unique relics of the past, I guess. Sort of like a personal goal of mine, searching out colonies like these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mike is correct. My original 2 hives were light colored NUCS. One died from varroa, and the second superceded just about the time Mike saw it and that is the one that turned dark toward the end of last summer/fall. Its that one I split and the split turned even darker and MEAN. My Italian packages are ok and fairly calm. Much more so than this black one.

My concern is less about black bees, and more about this particular hive I happen to wonder if its mated with black bees. The small amount of information I have regarding this black bee is that it was mean and nasty, much the way this dark one hive of mine is. I dont think the behavior of this hive is normal (maybe for german black it is??). A half suite and veil would have been asking for trouble with this one. People who say they dont wear gloves would have been in miserable shape with this hive. They attempted to crawl through my pantlegs, which I had taped up luckily. They literally swarmed my head, dotted my arms and legs, and I cant imagine what my back/shoulders looked like. I dont like this hive due to the aggressive nature of them. Whatever this is, if german blacks, local mutts, whatever.. I would rather not have them.

Mike are you out of the dearth where you are? I really thought since the golden rod is out and blooming they were bringing in nectar. If not, this may count for some of the meanness. The attached image is the mother hive. Split is darker than this. Dont have an image of it. Maybe in a few weeks.

IMG_20130629_192602_419.jpg
 

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Sound like good old wild bees. Yeah, if you aren't comfortable with them, requeen them. If you can. Some are quite difficult.
 

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There are black bee colonies around Elmira.


They were pretty mellow in the field- I'm considering bee-lining them to find the colony and perhaps hive it in a yard separate from my others to see if I want to keep them.

Could you explain "bee-lining" to find the colony....I have a similar situation here and was not sure how to locate them?
 

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Mike are you out of the dearth where you are? I really thought since the golden rod is out and blooming they were bringing in nectar. If not, this may count for some of the meanness. The attached image is the mother hive. Split is darker than this. Dont have an image of it. Maybe in a few weeks.
napp weed did nothing, the golden rod started going after the last two rain storms, will be pulling all the honey this weekend. I would try going in the hive one more time during the golden rod flow, if they are not to bad, see if you can find and mark the queen, let them go till spring when there are less bees. order a queen and requeen then. Nasty hives are hard to requeen, I get about half to take the first time, some to take the second time and by the third time, they all become nucs( alot easier to requeen then, but takes a lot of stings to get there). good luck
 

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Dishwashing detergent, hot water, and a pressure sprayer are an option.

If they really are that mean, I don't see any point in keeping them around unless you want to test your 'armor' and your courage.

You can google beelining to see various methods.
 

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Not all black feral bees are mean. We had a swarm land in an empty hive around 2001. They where small , black and very focused on cleanliness. Propagated numerous hives from them, but lost all to CCD in 2006. Grrrrr....

Crazy Roland
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Seems like lots of feral blacks around but not sure they are german, carnis, or ?? I am guessing who knows and at this point who cares. Mean is mean and does not matter what they are. I may just leave them alone. No hive checks, no mite treatment, no swarm prevention. Nothing. See what happens. This hive did give me 2 full supers of honey and it was only a split. Other hives gave less. I may be able to tolerate them if I dont go in only for honey. Well see. I dont want to propagate from this hive. Or maybe offspring would be calmer and keep the honey gathering trait. At least my arms and back are less itchy today. Tricky to scratch places on your back. Thanks for responses.
 

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The three recent texas queens that I got were a darker bee and the offspring are almost black. maybe someone in your area got some of these and they swarmed...then since they are alreay hybrid, is it possible that something like tis mated with your hive and created a meaner bee? I have heard that crossing buckfast (hybrid) and italians or carnis create a meaner bee, so maybe they are of this type. I guess it would be hard to tell without a DNA test.
 

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Dan.NY - I have a hive like that. I don't like going in it for any reason and mostly just leave it alone. It gave me three and a half supers of honey this year from a dirt field. Just crazy foragers. Got them from an irrigation pump house.
 
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