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Discussion Starter #82 (Edited)
Pure Apis mellifera mellifera is a very calm bee, which has one an easy to notice distinctive quality: it runs like honey towards the bottom bar of the frame. When holding one long enough, they drop of. The bees on the video are most certainly not mellifera mellifera bees, which don´t have so wide white stripes.One another sign in the structure of the real black bee is the end of abdomen which is blunt (versus sharp).

In this video (German languge) various "black bees" are considered whether they are pure or not. In this era of false information I consider the man in the video, Kai-Michael Engfer, very informative about the subject Apis mellifera mellifera, genuine black bee of Europe. There are some nice pictures, for instance about the amount and colour of the stripes. And as he notices the purity can be determined from the wing veins.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqbU-fA-URs
The source of information he recommended: https://www.nordbiene.de/

And once again: there is no such race as German black bee. German black bee is the name for a strain of black looking bees in US.
Yes, Juhani Lunden, I have read that in reality the true/pure German black bees are actually a gentle bee. Not aggressive as what people commonly believe. I have suspected that the German black bees have gotten this bad reputation from misidentification of Spanish Black bees in the Southeastern US, that is if it is true what I suspect, that indeed it was the Spanish black bees that were the dominant subspecies in the Southeastern US before the introduction of the Italian bees.

Spanish black bees are, from what I read aggressive, and nervous on the comb. They also are particularly susceptible to brood diseases, I have read.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_mellifera_iberiensis


Actually the "German black bees" in the article I linked were said to be from Spain, and so they are Spanish black bees, not German black bees. At the time, Spanish Black bees were considered the same subspecies as the German blacks bees, Apis mellifera mellifera. Which makes sense when the article talks about the "German black bees" being an aggressive kind of bee. The climate would suit the Spanish black bees in California well, too, I think.
https://archive.org/stream/surveyofbeekeepi297vans/surveyofbeekeepi297vans_djvu.txt

Yes! I would like to try looking at the wing veins of bee colonies we have with narrow rings on abdomen. If the cubital index is negative, or close, then it would show the M lineage is truly in our bee colonies here in North Carolina. I have a microscope that was given to me by a friend. Are the Spanish black bees, like the German black bees, negative, on the cubital index? I will have to look up the cubital indexes for the different subspecies of bees again.

The black bees in the Russian video I linked do have a lot of variation in their band thickness. I did wonder whether they had a percentage of Caucasian in them, especially because of their lead grey bands of hair that Caucasian bees are known to have, and because the Russians from what I have been reading seemed to praise the Caucasian bees as being great bees. But also, in that video there are a fair amount of them that have narrow bands on their abdomens, and still being lead grey banded in colour. I was thinking that maybe this Russian strain of A. m. mellifera had pale/lead grey bands of hair on their abdomens' naturally without Caucasian mixture. From what I have seen in pictures of A. m. mellifera from Western Europe, they are dull brown banded.

Please watch again the bee on the dandelion at 3:15 in the video to see the thin, light grey rings of hair:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkNX2WBDy9g

This Russian strain of A. m. mellifera might have better brood disease resistance than the other strains of A. m. mellifera because of coming from a cold winter climate where they are cooped up in their hive for long periods of time without cleansing flights during winter. People should try them in Canada, or Alaska, and where you are in Finland. :) You did say though you have a mixture of A. m. mellifera in your genetics.
 

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The source of information he recommended: https://www.nordbiene.de/
This is a great website, Juhani. The auto-translate function works very well too. There is quite a lot of good bee race information on the website beyond that of AMM.

I watched the video and gleaned quite a bit from it despite the language barrier.

Thank you for sharing the information.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Video of a dark thorax haired drone. I even have a colony that has mostly, if not all, dark haired drones (I will try to get video of that colony's drones). The worker bees and queen don't look much different from Italian or Carniolan, but I think that the golden colour in the queens is a dominant trait and so even though the queen is mostly golden, she could have a higher percentage of a dark kind of bee than she shows. Also, drones only take half the genes from their mother queen, they are haploid. So it is possible that this particular drone in the video took half the genes of the queen that were the dark thorax hair and left the other half.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez4pM0r-Vlk

Bacteriophages (Viruses that eat bacteria and archaea) might be a good treatment instead of antibiotics. You could keep the hive free of chemicals, like antibiotics, and so sell uncontaminated honey. People are working on phage treatment for American Foulbrood from what I read on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phage_therapy#Other_animals Viruses are not always bad.
The bacteriophages have "phage lysins" that cut through endospores. AFB has endospores which make it hard to treat with antibiotics, but these bacteriophages might have something better than antibiotics that beekeepers use to treat AFB.

Look at "DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF PHAGE-DERIVED LYTIC PROTEINS" in the article link below about phage therapy.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5547374/
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Here, I have got a few videos of the thinner banded bees that we have in our colonies here in North Carolina:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJwaUrGD8UU

The darker haired drone colony with the thinner banded bees I mentioned in above post had been superceded probably in February, so the drones were starting to get a mixture of light and dark haired drones, but still some dark thorax haired drones were present when I took this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX7dwDatYjw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSmnx7WM1vY&feature=youtu.be
 

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After all the crossbreeding of many different strains of bees imported into the US, only genome typing can tell the ancestry of a bee.

The way gene crossing works, after a few generations a golden bee could be a nearly 'pure' Caucasian or Russian. And the opposite, a black bee could be almost entirely Italian in every other trait than color. Same with wing conformation.
 

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So to sort this out all we need to find is a piece of amber with a honeybee trapped? And an extractable bit of DNA. But how do we tell that such a specimen is not one of several other subspecies?

I asked a genetic scientist friend "can the genetic code of a living person be changed by environment or even by how they think" The point being that there have been claims that a persons genes contribute to issues like vulnerability to alcoholism. The next question was more philosophical; Can sin cause genetic damage? :D

There is a lot we don't know, trying to figure it out is what we humans do. Would be nice to have a nano-robot bee that sniffs out and kills varroa.
 

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I have seen Spanish bees in Southern Spain. They are large and very aggressive as a hybrid that became its own subspecies. Who knows if any traits survived after all this time. I personally wouldn’t want to manage them. Certainly not for hobby breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #90 (Edited)
After all the crossbreeding of many different strains of bees imported into the US, only genome typing can tell the ancestry of a bee.

The way gene crossing works, after a few generations a golden bee could be a nearly 'pure' Caucasian or Russian. And the opposite, a black bee could be almost entirely Italian in every other trait than color. Same with wing conformation.
I have thought about that, too! Similar to "phenotype" verses "genotype". But if I understand you correctly with the crossbreeding of the different subspecies of honeybees, one subspecies can take certain genes or traits from another subspecies, yet retain the majority of the genetic make-up of its own subspecies. Even though it has certain traits of another subspecies, those traits would be superficial and only a few genes, but still may be very noticeable traits to us, such as dark coloration or light coloration. Tardigrades are known to steal genes from other species.



But, even if this is true, and for example, a population of Italian bees do steal certain traits from other subspecies of bees, yet remain mostly Italian genetically, why are several of these known Spanish Black bee traits I am seeing coming along together?

It is a strange coincidence that whenever I see thin banded bees, I also see several of these other Spanish Black bee traits along with the thin bands.

There must be a reason for this coincidence. Some force of nature seems to be holding these Spanish Black bee traits together. I think it has something to do with the Spanish Black bee traits being tied to the genetics of the Spanish black bee so that the Spanish Black bees retain, or at least have a tendency to the traits of Spanish Black bees over the generations.



Whenever I find thin banded bees, I also see a translucent coloration which makes them shinier which makes them look sick from chronic acute paralysis virus from a heavy varroa mite infestation. (Does this translucentness have anything to do with "The closing membrane of the cells is watery, the breeding is sensitive to some diseases" written here on Wikipedia? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_mellifera_iberiensis#Morphology) But they are healthy and naturally look like that. In the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJwaUrGD8UU) you can see the translucentness cleartly in the lighter colored, thin banded bees. They probably have a percentage of Italian, but maybe not as much as the light coloration would suggest, because I have a suspicion that light coloration in bees is dominant over dark. A bee genetics expert would probably know for certain whether it is a dominant trait.

This would explain why those light colored, thin banded worker bees in the video otherwise look to be a high percentage of Spanish Black or German Black bee, despite having the light coloration.

You can see in the video that those light colored, thin banded workers also have a particular abdomen shape same as the dark thin banded bees in the video. Do you notice the same? Carniolans are said to have a "torpedo" shaped narrow abdomen. Here is a Russian article comparing Carniolan and German Black bees. It shows pictures comparing the two subspecies: https://studepedia.org/index.php?vol=2&post=51906

I have recently seen the "torpedo" shaped abdomens in a darker colony, and it was very distinct. I think this "torpedo" shaped abdomen trait may be more obvious with foundationless, smaller cell colonies, because I don't remember seeing this trait before when I was using foundation. Our bees definitely get smaller after going foundationless, and then larger again when going back to foundation.

The thin banded bees in the video also have wings that are held up high as if ready for action. The wings look kind of narrow like Spanish Black bees to me, do you think so, too? I haven't actually measured them though.
Here, you can see about the wings on Spanish black bees in this video of real Spanish Black bees:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak2l5A3Jzig
 

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Discussion Starter #91
I have seen Spanish bees in Southern Spain. They are large and very aggressive as a hybrid that became its own subspecies. Who knows if any traits survived after all this time. I personally wouldn’t want to manage them. Certainly not for hobby breaking.
That is nice! Where in southern Spain were you? You might have had a mixture of Apis mellifera intermissa. There are some A. m. intermissa mixture in the southern tip of Spain.

I use a 3 layer full bee suit. It has styrofoam to keep a space between the two fabric layers so that a bee stinger cannot sting you. It works very well for me. Even with more docile colonies I think it is good to use this full suit because being stung too much may be bad for your health. Also, rubber gloves are better than leather bee gloves. The bees love to sting leather, but rubber the bees will slide off when trying to sting. Less stings, less alarm pheromone, so less aggressive response from the bees overall.

Aggression could actually be a good trait sometimes. I think it would be good breeding for "bear resistance". lol
 

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My bees tend dark, brown to black with no yellow bees. Some have blunt abdomens and some narrower and sharply pointed, almost wasp-like. No idea what the race these bees might be, they were a swarm. But very docile. No bee suit, just a veil, long sleeve shirt and thin gloves.

If you are seeing a typical suite of characteristics, it's probably because that is what resulted from the mix of bees in your neighborhood going back many years. Maybe Spanish, German, Russian, plus whatever. If they make honey and don't sting the neighbors, they are all good. It would be fun though to get some university lab to gene-type them, just to know.
 

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How do you recognise black bees: if they have a brood disease of some sort, it is a black bee. I tried so many varieties and all of them were very susceptible for brood diseases.
 

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Discussion Starter #95
My bees tend dark, brown to black with no yellow bees. Some have blunt abdomens and some narrower and sharply pointed, almost wasp-like. No idea what the race these bees might be, they were a swarm. But very docile. No bee suit, just a veil, long sleeve shirt and thin gloves.

If you are seeing a typical suite of characteristics, it's probably because that is what resulted from the mix of bees in your neighborhood going back many years. Maybe Spanish, German, Russian, plus whatever. If they make honey and don't sting the neighbors, they are all good. It would be fun though to get some university lab to gene-type them, just to know.
Well, I don't think we have a typical suite of characteristics. Our bees here are a mixture of different "suites of characteristics" from what I have seen and can tell. Many I have seen come with a "suite of characteristics" that Italian bees are said to have and others come with a "suite of characteristics" of Carniolan bees (I could easily be misidentifying for similar subspecies such as Ukrainian and Carpathian since they share many characteristics.).
Also, with some colonies showing a "suite of characteristics" of Spanish Black bees as can be seen in the video I linked (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJwaUrGD8UU) of a colony of our bees here. This makes me think that each subspecies has actually retained many of their traits despite being mixed and despite being introduced to a new climate and environment here in the New World.

But, yes... I have read that at least some of the traits of our bees here in America have changed over time. And, I have read an article about the East African subspecies of A. m. scutellata, A. m. monticola, A. m. litoria, all being the same subspecies genetically, just different phenotypically. It could be simply that our bees here in America have not had enough time (a few hundred years) here in the New World to change drastically yet, but are in the process of changing.
 

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Discussion Starter #96
I dunno, they look like regular old bees to me? I've had many black queens. Why does any of it matter? If they are easier to keep alive I'll take a couple of queens off your hands ��
Okay. Eduardo Gomez's Spanish Black bees have thicker bands and smaller, rounder abdomens than other typical Spanish Black bees. It makes them more similar in general appearance to our commonly raised Carniolans. Here is a video of more obviously thin banded Spanish Black bees to compare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak2l5A3Jzig

I have even read on a bee journal article that the Spanish black bees in Portugal genetically belong to its own subset of "A" lineage, if I remember correctly. That might mean that the Portugal strain of Spanish Black bees are actually a different subspecies from the Spanish Black bee, Apis mellifera iberiensis.
 

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Discussion Starter #97

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Discussion Starter #100
This colony we have here in North Carolina has lighter bees with thick bands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8sDMq5t2Ms&t=44s (sorry for bad, shaky video!)

I am wondering whether it is possible that these have Saharan bee (Apis mellifera sahariensis) genetics in them because of the lighter color, and because I have read from here (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23802359.2017.1365647) that Saharan bees live in areas where the temperature can get cold:
"It has the ability to adapt to extreme conditions like temperatures in Saharan zones ranging from −10 °C to over 50 °C to drought conditions (Adjlane et al. 2016) and high altitudes (Haccour 1960)."

Light colored, thin banded Saharan bee video on YouTube to compare:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP5nwch_4nc

Saharan bee picture from Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_...النحل_الصحراوي_Apis_mellifera_sahariensis.jpg

20200705_120829.jpg 20200705_120831.jpg 20200705_120840.jpg 20200705_120814.jpg

I still doubt that we have Saharan bees here in North Carolina because we have a humid climate, while the Saharan desert is very dry.

We still do get a little heat or dry dormancy during our summer, which you can see in these Tulip poplars loosing leaves in July 25th 2020:
20200705_120821_01.jpg
 
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