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I believe the bee lab in AZ would be most likely to help you, and Beltsville would be the best equiped, but your probably correct about it not being very feasible... It sounds like you have a good amount of AMM in the makeup... can you describe the nest and where they originated from? I may can help you further with that...
 

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Gene testing is not going to gain much with the run of the mill feral bees in the U.S. The original importations of Italian bees were done in the mid to late 1800's and were spread very widely over the intervening years. The result is a hodgepodge of genetics. The feral black bees that were found in NorthEast Alabama were easily identified as being of Dutch descent, but they always had some Italian traits.

As a side note, there are at least 7 genes that affect color in our bees. It takes at least 4 generations to get a uniformly black or uniformly yellow bee. What will drive you nuts is an ultra yellow bee with the typical behavior of AMM. It looks Italian, but it acts anything but.

One other interesting note is that the ultra yellow bee does not occur in pure Italian stock. Only when crossed with a strain of AMM and then selected from the segregating offspring does the ultra yellow occur. Please note that this is not related to cordovan, the ultra yellow is best described as a 5 banded yellow bee.

The most unusual color I've seen in a honeybee was 20 years ago when one of my colonies had a large proportion of leather colored bees. There were no bands at all. Just bees with a nearly black thorax and a leather abdomen. It was uncanny watching them fly in and out of the colony.

I've read one report of a person encountering a red honeybee working flowers in a California valley. There have been a lot of reports of Italian bees feeding on colored sugar syrup that looked red, but that was not what this person described. The description was of a red abdomen on an otherwise normal honeybee.
 

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Well, perhaps I'm not as familiar with the bees in my in law's backyard as I thought I was...
 

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I believe the bee lab in AZ would be most likely to help you, and Beltsville would be the best equiped, but your probably correct about it not being very feasible... It sounds like you have a good amount of AMM in the makeup... can you describe the nest and where they originated from? I may can help you further with that...
I haven't been into the brood nest in a few years. I raised some queens off of them in 2008, member "Carriage house" bought them from me. I removed these from a cabin wall in KY in 2005 or 2006. I frequently ran into similar looking bees in central KY while doing removals. This hive I relocated to VT in the fall of 2008 and gave to my wife's grandfather... Long story short he had bear problems, got them pieced back together and they have been sorta doing their own thing since. He lost interest and I have been checking on them from time to time ever since and stealing a few supers of honey, but they are not in a convenient location for me to do much with them. I need to remedy that this spring.
 

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Actually, the first Italians (recorded at least) arrived in Virginia on board the English ship "The Discovery" captained by Thomas Jones in March of 1662... the cargo came with a set of invoices addressed to the Governor and Council of Virginia from the Council of the Virginia Company in London and listed 214 bee hives that were purchased from Florence, Italy in April of 1661...

There were many more noted imports after that, but few really know of the first recorded delivery of Italian bees to north America...

There is a good percentage of Spanish Black in Ted's bees, or at least some of them... I remember Bill Gafford mentioning them a time or two as well and fussing about them being hard to tell apart from his mountain grey's, "until you got close!" Lol. Of course with every new generation, the mixes in an area change... that's just the way it is, and while I love to revel in the history of our bees, I'm the first to admit that history and current are worlds apart at times... so the German, French, Dutch, which ever can quite possibly be prominent amongst those bees today, and the Spanish may be pushed northward, eastward, or gone completely... I couldn't tell you... but I would love to hear more about it one day... maybe you, Ted, and I can have that drink that Ted and I have been threatening to have for a while now. Lol.

Bluegrass, I bet you have a good bit of AMM in that colony... sure they have probably diluted a lot over the years, but they are notorious for being hard to dilute and by throwing multiple swarms and twice as many drones as the nearby colonies, they could have impacted the surrounding genetics as much or even more so than be impacted by them... central Kentucky had its fair share of them in pre-mite days... so you may have some true ancient survivors there.
 

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I live in the foothills of the Appalachains in North East AL and I have always suspected a high percentage of AMM genes in my bees. The bees I have are very workable in a flow but as soon as there is a dearth you can forget about it. I did a cut out and was stung probably 50 times that was through a suit. Most of my stock is from feral bees in my area. I raise most of my queens and I select from the most desirable. Now that it has been explained by Dr. Russell it all makes better since to me on the colors and traits of my bees. One side note I love these bees they are very hardy I have only treated once in 5 years. I can always count on a good harvest as well.
 

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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.

DarJones
Do you have any queens for sale
 

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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.
Do you still have amm bees
 

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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?
Do you still have amm bees
 

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I live in the foothills of the Appalachains in North East AL and I have always suspected a high percentage of AMM genes in my bees. The bees I have are very workable in a flow but as soon as there is a dearth you can forget about it. I did a cut out and was stung probably 50 times that was through a suit. Most of my stock is from feral bees in my area. I raise most of my queens and I select from the most desirable. Now that it has been explained by Dr. Russell it all makes better since to me on the colors and traits of my bees. One side note I love these bees they are very hardy I have only treated once in 5 years. I can always count on a good harvest as well.
Would you sell a queen or 2
 

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This is a 9 year old thread!

Later events showed that Robert Russell was running an elaborate fraud scheme.


Note: Reactivating an ancient thread to ask a question to a specific member does a disservice to all the other members of the forum who are using the "What's New" forum feature to monitor new activity.

I suggest use of the 'Private Message' / 'Conversation' / 'Message' feature of this forum to contact individual members. At a given posted message, click on the MemberID, then choose "Message" to start a new Private Conversation.

This thread is closed to replies.
 
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