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"Killer bee" a myth or real?


#1

Knowing that there are africanized bees in Arizona I’m trying to do my due diligence and read up on them and see what can and needs to be done about them and my soon-to-be personal hives. I am curious to know what other beekeepers say. There seem to be a large group of beekeepers in Tucson Az that believe it is a fraud. They are extremely disease and pest resistant so if it is true that they are not nearly the threat that people are making them out to be I suppose it could be a good thing.
http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/africanized-honey-bees/some-beekeepers-believe-killer-bees-are-fraud/


#2

Hi Adam, Have you seen the film “More Than Honey”, there is a segment in there where an Arizona beekeeper has embraced these bees, they are highly productive as well as mite and disease resistant. I understand that their traits are being considered to deal with varroa in the more docile species.


#3

Not to mention they are now prevalent throughout Southern America and beekeepers there seem to be just fine. That said, protective gear is probably the norm.


#4

I just watched it a few nights ago. That was one of the main things that caused me to start looking into this. I was always under the impression, as most Americans are I think, that they are a horrible thing. I also read a book recently about natural beekeeping ie not rearranging hives in fall, never feeding sugar, and never medicating etc. They focused on the European dark bee, and I have to say that several of the examples that the author used about different hives sounded an awful lot like the african bee including their resistance to parasites and diseases. So I started thinking maybe more aggressive tendencies in bees is natural and a better survival instinct then peaceful varieties.

Of course I have dogs, and young kids, as well as a girlfriend who is still very much on the fence about bee hives in general. So a more gentle variety may be my only option for my backyard hive.


#5

Thats was my next question, how far away from people and animals are you planning to locate your hive/s?
I have several in my backyard and recently one of them turned feral with rogue bees stinging anyone who came within a few metres, so it had to go. I re-queened with a different bee species and they have since calmed down, that said it was the most productive hive and even though it was heavily diseased with chalkbrood (was a swarm) it coped quite well where-as one of the quieter hives probably would have died out. If this is your first time into beekeeping, might be best to start out with a docile breed. You can always change your breed & genetics as you go simply by introducing a new queen, its that simple.


#6

I wondered about this - How can you be sure the Bee purity of blood line (for want of a better phrase), surely by now many species have become mixed naturally over time.

Is it really a problem as they will hopefully using Darwin’s theory develop into better Bees

Looking at highly breed dog and cat varieties is this not the main reason for certain bad traits and deformities. Should we not be looking to integrate good Bee traits and hopefully get stronger, healthier and more resistant Bees?

Not the continual single impregnation of Queens continuously but to nudge the Bee genes to a better place for longevity and resistance - Tweaking as the would have done centuries ago - Helping nature but not forcing Franken-Bees


#7

A queen can mate up to 40-50 drones. Unless semination is done, how do you know what races of bees breed together? The queen heads to a mating field where drones congregate from all the apiaries in a 5+ mile radious. We have several races of bees in the US and I would not consider any of them “pure”. That is what makes them stronger. Even in the dog world the pure breeds have more health issues while mutts are generally healthier. Do you purchase your queens or let the bees naturally select through supercedure? Personally, I let the bees choose. We, as humans like to fiddle too much with nature.
BUT, if you don’t requeen a hot hive then the daughters will continue the trait. Requeening is somtimes the best option and even then it takes time before the calmness shows up in a hive.


#8

A couple of months for the bees to calm. We do have a couple of bee lines in Australia that are considered amongst the most pure in the world. Ligurian bees on Kangaroo Island and a Caucasion line on Keswick Island near the Great Barrier Reef. This certainly doesn’t make them the best bees but they are in high demand as breeders and are exported all over the world. I understand that the Kangaroo Island bees may have been used to help create the Buckfast bee.


#9

http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/aus-victorian-agent-for-kangaroo-island-ligurian-bees-pre-order-now/1119

Should anyone be interested.


#10

That is very interesting and makes sense @Rodderick. Just as you have mammals that have been isolated and are unique to Australia :smile:
This a perfect example of how we will learn from each other through this forum. That is also why I caution myself when replying to questions. I have to ask myself: Where is this person posting from? What makes their question unique for their area? and If I can’t help them where do I send them?


#11

My thoughts exactly Gayle


#12

…recently one of them turned feral with rogue bees stinging anyone who came within a few metres, so it had to go.

I’ve never heard of bees going feral. What does that actually mean? What triggers this change in behaviour?


#13

Who knows, it seems to happen regularly with swarms. Ageing queen is typically the one who gets the blame and then the chop.


#14

One or more of these reasons could be responsible… but not Africanization…
http://keepingbackyardbees.com/top-7-reasons-for-cranky-bees/


#15

Now I have to ask what ‘the chop’ is? Like in the documentary More Than Honey with the queen who mixed it up with some bees on the wrong side of the track?


#16

Errr…

the chop. the squish. The pinch. the squash. the mash.

It’s NOT pretty…


#17

7 Reasons for Cranky Bees was very interesting.


#18

I’m going to pretend she’s a spider if I ever have to do it.


#19

So funny, Sara.

When a hive is mean it’s hot. I refer to all my bees as feral, as they are all caught swarms. Some define feral as bees that have survived on their own in the wild for some time (survivor bees).


#20

I put her in a small Tupperware container give her a royal send off to the freezer, just can’t bring myself to the squish method.