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What kind of bee is this?


My flow hive has been adopted by some wild bees. They definitely make honey!
They’re not particularly calm, but not terribly aggressive. I live in Maui, Hawaii.
I’m hoping someone can help me identify what kind of bees they are from this pic:

Thank you!


Apis mellifera, also known as european honey bees. :blush: Sounds like you had a swarm move in. That photo doesn’t look like a Flow hive, though.


She could have painted her landing board :wink:


Thanks! I put six flow frames inside, but already had the box and landing board, etc. The bees didn’t like the reducer I gave them, so they chewed out bigger holes :blush:. I’ve taken that out since.


Can anyone tell me the subspecies? Italian, Caucasian, Carniolan, German, etc?

I am brand new to beekeeping. I set out a hive box (with only 4 frames in it) while waiting for my flow frames to arrive and a swarm took up residence. I added a second super for them as they seemed to be growing quite strong and numerous. Finally I got my flow frames and modified a third box for them, and added it with a queen excluder. I plan to leave the two bottom boxes to them and harvest only the top flow frames. As I mentioned, I live in Hawaii and we generally have flowers of some sort pretty much all year. I have a mixed fruit orchard and wanted their help with maximizing fruit production as well as a bit o’ honey.

I also need some advice about what to do (if anything) with the bottom super that has only 4 frames and a big cavity in the middle which the bees have built out freestyle. The second super has 10 frames and there are 2 regular frames in the third box as well as my 6 flow frames which are the only frames I intend to harvest. Is there any reason to remove the bottom box and replace it with a box containing frames? I figured they’re okay in the wild so why not give them a chance to be creative in one box anyway. But I would appreciate your advice and I have very little experience and knowledge.


Impossible to be sure, but looks at least half Italian. Given that you are in Hawaii, and that island has a large producer of Italian bees (Kona Queens http://www.konaqueen.com), plus Italians do well in your kind of climate, that would be a good possibility. However, once you are dealing with possibly feral bees (as in a swarm), you really can’t tell, and it actually doesn’t matter all that much. If they are gentle enough to manage them, just be happy. If they are too feisty, requeen them with an Italian queen. :wink:


For reference a repost of a repost.


Yes thank you. I’ve seen this chart but perhaps my lack of experience makes it impossible to differentiate which of these match my bees. That’s why I asked. But as Dawn suggested, maybe it doesn’t matter much. I was just curious.


How can you tell they’re not African? I know this sounds awful, but other than color (gold or not gold) they all look alike to me (!) Speciesist, I know :wink: Mine seem to be more gold and black at the head end, changing to more black and white (or gray) at the tail end. I don’t even see that variation on the chart. Thanks for the advice, BTW, about requeening later with an Italian. Being Italian myself, I like that idea alot :grin:


Because you are in Hawaii. :smile:

If Africanized bees reach Hawaii, it will be headline news. :blush:

Kona Queens do a lot of business with the mainland US, because they can just about guarantee that offspring from their queens will not be Africanized. Therefore, if the mold is broken, it will be big news among my commercial friends who sell “gentle bees” to the buying public. :wink:

Just as an aside, I have looked after an africanized hive for just over a month. You will know if you have one. Walk across the garden about 50 feet away, you may get 5 or more stings. Open the hive, bees boil out of the top and you will have more than 100 on your veil in seconds. They are noticeably different and not just cranky. My gloves had more than 50 stingers in them when I finally counted, and I actually scrubbed them to remove the amount of alarm pheromone which had been sprayed on them by the bees. Quite an experience. :blush:


for what it’s worth- they look slightly less pale golden than the pure Italian bees I have. They look closer to all my other bees which come from swarms and local splits. Whatever the case- they look like nice little bees for sure. Also last season- the hives I started from wild swarms were by a long shot the most productive. I only installed the Italian queen in late autumn so I will have to wait until this season to see how she compares.


Thank you! That’s very encouraging. I’d love to hear your follow up later this season. Are you in Australia?


Yikes! That sounds scary. I’m really glad to hear that I don’t have to worry about Africanized bees infiltrating my hive. Thanks for the info.

That’s definitely not how my bees behave, I’m happy to report. They do sting us sometimes when we come near the hive, but not at 50 feet away. I was able to move my hive about 15 feet to a more open location by closing their entrance at night. Then I put an obstacle at their entrance to help them reorient as they left the next morning. There were a few confused stragglers but others who came to guide them to the new location. It was kind of touching.