Sort of presumptive, wouldn't you say? No way? Good thing other people don't stop at that point. The following claims that feral populations are "quite low" -- this is in Australia where conditions for bees to live in the wild are excellent. There are no varroa, by the way.There is no way of counting the feral's.
SOURCEIn agricultural settings, we need to know if the density of feral bee colonies is sufficient to provide adequate pollination. In conservation areas, we would like to know if the density of feral colonies is sufficient to be of concern.
Directly counting the number of honey bee colonies in the environment over broad scales is not often feasible because colonies are cryptic and difficult to locate (Oldroyd et al. 1997). Here, we implement a new indirect method of estimating colony density based on microsatellite analysis of workers.
First, our data suggest that the density of feral bees is probably insufficient to provide adequate pollination in a horticultural setting. Typical recommended stocking rates are 100–200 colonies/km2 (e.g. Free 1970), whereas our estimates are <10 colonies/km2.
We suggest that without supplementation with domestic colonies, it is unlikely that any crops requiring insect pollination are adequately pollinated.
Second, concerns about the impacts of feral honey bee colonies on natural ecosystems (Goulson 2003) are likely to be unfounded in most areas because the density of feral colonies is quite low.
Mark and I have a table published in the Canadian Entomologist. Unfortunately it lists density per square kilometer but its good for comparison. As Mark says, the density was almost five times as high in a small city than in the rural forest.Looks like .5 feral colonies per km squared in rural forested area and 2.3 feral colonies in urban area buildings, across NY State, Vischer and Seeley 1982, Morse et al 1990.
feral honeybees: "a colony of honeybees not found in man made beekeeping equipment, a colony of honeybees not managed or maintained by humans"I also wonder how you would define feral.
If the colony is not managed by humans than it will surely swarm, casting off what would you say 3-5 swarms? That changes the numbers by 300-500 percent. Then you can add there are parts of the state and country that are not that accessible. I should have said there is no way to get an accurate count of feral colonies. It is always changing. There is even a margin of error for counting managed colonies but it is much less.feral honeybees: "a colony of honeybees not found in man made beekeeping equipment, a colony of honeybees not managed or maintained by humans"
Using the conversion factor, that's 100 colonies per square mile for commercial colonies in a good beekeeping area.Typically, in forest areas owned by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Bee Site Licences are is- sued at 3.2-km intervals. If we assume 130 colonies are typically sited at each apiary (B.P. Oldroyd, personal observations), then the density of commercial colonies is expected to be around 40 colonies/km2.