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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any thoughts on the actual bees introduced here in the Southeastern United States being Spanish Black bees instead of German Black bees? Spanish Black bees are similar to German Black bees, having narrow rings of hair on their abdomens' making the bees look glossy/shinny black rather than being fury/fuzzy grey like the Carniolans and Caucasian bees. The Spaniards were here in Florida before the British. The descriptions of the "German Black bees" from the Southeast US back in the older days sound very much like Spanish Black bees (brood disease problems, hive boiling out with nervous bees, aggressive, bad overwintering: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_mellifera_iberiensis). I am assuming that Spain has a dryer climate and so the Spanish black bees are not well adapted to going through wet winters, and so have brood diseases come up. In nature if an animal has sickness commonly, that is not good at all, and I believe it is not supposed to be that honey bees are weak and need us humans to keep them alive, but actually the problems of keeping bees are from bad beekeeping or a subspecies not well adapted to an area.
 

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There is no such bee race as German Black Bee.
Apis mellifera subspecies mellifera. European Black bee (AKA German Black bee) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_dark_bee The first race of honey bee to be described, so it has kept its name in the subspecies rank. New subspecies of bees are given a different subspecies name, for example: Apis mellifera "yemenitica", and Apis mellifera "capensis" while the original bees described became Apis mellifera "mellifera" to distinguish between the other new subspecies discovered.
 

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You are talking about 500 years of evolution passing. Even with introduction, those not well adapted probably disappeared long ago except for maybe some recessive genes.
 

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Ship's manifests were extremely detailed documents and absolutly nothing was loaded that did not go on the manifest. There are no surviving manifests indicating bee hives as cargo until the 1630's, on English ships coming to Jamestown. The early Spaniards would not have known that honey bees were not also present in the New World, thus they would not have brought them with until perhaps much later. Which sub-species of bees the settlers brought is open for debate.

Virginia, home of the first imported honey bees in America!
 

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It would be interesting to see if a similar study has ever been done on the M lineages, especially here in the south east.
 

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The feral black bees in the U.S. most likely were of Dutch origin. They would have been considered A. M. Mellifera.

There are ship records of Iberian bees brought to South America. Some of them wound up in Mexico and eventually in the southwestern U.S.

I have a note somewhere that the first record of bees on a ship manifest to the U.S. was in 1622. I have not tried to verify this though it is supposedly a readily available record.
 

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The feral black bees in the U.S. most likely were of Dutch origin.

I have a note somewhere that the first record of bees on a ship manifest to the U.S. was in 1622. I have not tried to verify this though it is supposedly a readily available record.
In Ruttners book there is a picture from Am.Bee Journal 6/1991, page 369.

Same year, 1622, but he writes " imported by English settlers".
 

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I have spent time in Spain with the Iberian strain. They are unique and an ancient mix of the common European bee and an African mix brought by the Moors. They are large and aggressive. If they were introduced they would have disappeared by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have spent time in Spain with the Iberian strain. They are unique and an ancient mix of the common European bee and an African mix brought by the Moors. They are large and aggressive. If they were introduced they would have disappeared by now.
I thought that the Spanish black bees and German Black bees were of the same lineage as the Northwest African bees? The M lineage. The Saharan Desert separating the M lineage from the African "A" lineage. Is that not so? The Southeastern European bees such as the Italian and Carniolan bees being from the C lineage, closely related to the the Middle Eastern O lineage. I read that the M lineage came over a land bridge from Northwest Africa into the Iberian peninsula. See, this species of monkey lives in both Spain and Northwest Africa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_macaque).
 

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>Does anyone have any thoughts on the actual bees introduced here in the Southeastern United States being Spanish Black bees

I suspect they are, but it is a question that could be answered by DNA testing. The wild bees in Florida have been tested and are.
 

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Mtdna showed feral bees in Florida to be a hodgepodge mix of various races including Mellifera, Ligustica, Carnica, and a small percent Lamarckii. To make a statement that they are high percentage Iberiensis would require a great deal of genetic verification that has not to my knowledge been done. It is reasonably certain that populations in the SouthWestern U.S. are derived from Iberiensis though not proven by genetics to my knowledge. The records of bees brought to Brazil were prior to importations to the Eastern U.S. by nearly 100 years so there was opportunity for them to spread around the Caribbean. If you search, there are a couple of provenance studies that delve into this topic to an extent.

Brother Adam had a bit to say on this topic that is worth reading. Also, the work of Ruttner showed relationships between Mellifera and Iberiensis.
 

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>To make a statement that they are high percentage Iberiensis would require a great deal of genetic verification that has not to my knowledge been done.

There was an article in one of the bee journals (ABJ or Bee Culture, I don't remember which) a decade or more ago, that referenced a study to the effect that the wild bees in southern Florida had a high percentage of Iberiensis. And I remember another study to that same effect. I don't have time right now to track them down, but if someone wants to know you can certainly look for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You need to go to this post and read the attached PDF:
https://www.beesource.com/forums/sh...ment-Free-Bungling-2018&p=1762655#post1762655

Why guess; people already did some good work for you.
I checked this PDF file, but I couldn't find that it says that the A. m. iberiensis is of a mix of the "A" lineage and "M" lineage.

It does say on pages 19 and 20:

"Some honey bees in the Iberian peninsula found a route through the
eastern border of the Pyrenees and colonised much of northern
Europe above the aforementioned mountain ranges. At much the
same time, other honey bees colonies crossed the Straights of
Gibraltar from north Africa and interbred with bees that were already
there."

"Thus arose the subspecies Apis mellifera mellifera (the dark European
honey bee) and Apis mellifera iberica. Apis mellifera iberica is a
relatively modern natural hybrid that arose from the union of two
older subspecies after the last Ice Age. This is evident in the
mitochondrial DNA of the subspecies."

From what I have read the "M" lineage is from Northwestern Africa above the Saharan desert, also Western and Northern Europe. The articles I read could be outdated. The entomologists may not have done any genetics for the taxonomy of these lineages of bees and instead been going by the physical traits only.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
A.m.iberiensis is a natural hybrid M and A lineage. A.m.mellifera (black bee) is M lineage. Photos of my a.m.iberisensis: View attachment 52117 View attachment 52119 View attachment 52121 View attachment 52123
Thank you very much for the good photos Eduardo Gomes! The bands of your Spanish Black bees are not as narrow as I thought they needed to be. I have bees with similarity to yours, I think (they are a bit more aggressive than our average colonies). I can be wrong, though I have a good eye for insect identification from just looking at and comparing between different types of similar insects. A few of our bee colonies that I keep are duller brown and with dull thinner bands on abdomen. I will have to take pictures of them to prove how similar they are once we get a camera to let you guys see these bees that I think could have some Spanish black or German black blood in them. That would mean that the M lineage (or "M" mixed with "A" if indeed is true what you say about A. m. iberiensis) is not wiped out from the United States.
 
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