There was at least one thread here at some point where AMMs were discussed, not necessarily Mr. Russell's, just in general. But Mr. Russell may have chimed in on that thread. I distinctly remembered those who had them writing about having to sweep a layer of bees from their veils during inspections. That was enough to turn me off, even though I think they look so cool.
Roland is correct... they are intended for breeders to use to revitalize a few of the traits that these bees carry... they have survived not only the threats that we bee keepers face, but also our own out-breeding practices... but they are vigorous robbers and protective as an old lady with a big purse on the subway, lol. There are a few folks who keep them for the vintage appeal, but mainly they are being used as part of a project of preservation for breed that is rarely found in the post mite era... today the most common wild pockets that still exist in the foothills of AL, along the rivers of MS, island edges of the Carolinas, swamps of LA, mountains of CO, hills of northern Mexico, and valleys of Washington state... they do fight off shb well, but there is not a notably higher resistance than that of the Sunkist which are pretty serious bees when it comes to defending against pests... the tigers do have a bit of AMM in them, and as of yet have not met our standards of managability... in others words, they are still too defensive for me to be comfortable with selling them to the public... the goal of the tiger program is to develop a bee that is less deterred by the slime of shb, and can thus clean up larvae as it hatches and the queens will not shun brood combs that adult shb have made passes though...
The most outstanding trait AMM carries is an incredible ability to build up in spring. AMM's buildup makes Carniolans look like slackards. A single frame of bees with a hand sized patch of brood will explode in 8 weeks and will fill 2 deep brood chambers full of bees and be ready to swarm. That last item is a beekeepers bane, they swarm more than any other race except perhaps scutellata.
They are also extremely frugal and have an exceptional foraging ability.
That's correct Dar. Here is a pic of an overwintering AMM nuc... its started by only one frame of bees, brood, queen, and honey/pollen... the other three frames are foundation and they have been drawing that as they deem necessary over the winter... very frugal and resourceful girls... http://i1040.photobucket.com/albums/b404/RussellApiaries/IMAG0842.jpg
Sorry Dr. Russell, the bees in the picture are not Apis Mellifera Mellifera or what we called the German Black bee. I was a beekeeper when that race was the only bee local beekeepers kept. The pure workers are a small black bee with steel gray bands. The yellow you see in the picture is Italian genetics. My father was the first local beekeeper to have Italian bees. It created quite a stir especially when the young bees did their orientation flights and their bright yellow color contrasted against the jet black old bees. They were extremely winter hardy but produced very little surplus honey. I also have heard rumors that they still exist but I doubt that the are still pure. Most will probably be mixed wit Italians.
On my tour of one of your yards Mr Hughes opened a lot of hives for me. One that was under cover was a AMM. Another Buckfast. All your bees were passive even though there was thunder and lightning in the area.
AMM and Italians have both been here since the first colonization... your dad must have been a pretty old fellow to be around when the first Italians arrived. lol. The coloration of this particular colony (from NC) is the effect of hundreds of years of cross breeding... Coloration gives no indication of genetics directly, the type of nest and characteristics of the bee are the true way to tell one breed from another... In the remote regions where this strain is still found in isolation, the colors are very diverse, but the nests and performances are nearly identical... the AMM strains in the US are their own strain, and each region should be classified as a separate varient as they are all the product of several hundred years of cross breeding to become what they are today and over that amount of time each regions strain has developed its own characteristics that are true to the needs for survival within that particular region... AMM in Germany are large hairy bees... AMM in Spain are small shiny bees, AMM in France are banded grey bees and AMM in England are average sized dark banded bees... In the US, AMM in the foothills of AL are mainly from Spanish AMM decent, while AMM in South LA are mainly from French AMM decent, AMM in the NE are mainly a cross of Italian and English AMM, and AMM in Washington State are mainly from a mix of the three main groups of decendants as they were crossed over time before in the US before being spread to that region...
As with all breeds/strains of bees, it is best to never judge a book by its cover, instead, read its content to know what its about...
Guy, yes, we have worked very hard at creating a more managible strain of AMM, but they show their true attitudes as soon as the flow slows. lol.
Bluegrass, that bee does appear to be a lot like the AMM from southern LA (swamp bees), but it also could just be a forager that has been trying to gain access to a defending colony... are all of the bees in that hive hairless like that?
The bee in the picture is just like the bees in one of my hives that i got from a older lady and some look italian but the biggest part of that hive is black like the one in the picture and they work hard they are always doing something. The queen look like a carni but a bit darker they are good bee and gentle i will be grafting from her this spring to get all dark bees like the one on here i love them and the carni's i got along with my caucasian i got from Mr. Russell awesome.
No they are not all hairless and some of them have more striping to them. When you inspect the hive you can tell they are mixed, lots of color variation, but many are solid black like the one pictured.
Are their any labs that you know of that do genetic gene testing on honey bees? Maybe it isn't feasible, but I would like to get them tested to find out their origin.
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