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Author Topic: Feral bees in Arnot Forest Talk  (Read 1437 times)
Lesli
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« on: February 20, 2005, 05:25:53 PM »

All,
As promised, here's a summary of Tom Seeley's talk on feral bee populations in Arnot Forest (4200 acres near Newfield, NY).

Tom did a feral bee survey in 1978, and again in 2002, 2003, 2004. He used bee lining techniques in all years. He found about the same number in 2002 as he did in 1978, much to everyone's surprise. Moreover, he found that although about 25% of colonies are typically lost over the winters, they are coping quite well without medications of any sort.

He set up a couple of bait hives in the forest so that he could examine populations for varroa. He found that the colonies indeed have mites, but that unlike our typical colonies, the mite drop count does not peak in late summer/fall. He tested right through to October, and a 48-hour mite drop showed about 20 mites per colony pretty consistantly through season.

For this coming season, he will test three theories: A. The bees have genetically adapted; B. The mites have become avirulent (meaning that they have adapted not to kill their hosts) or C. Frequnt swarming or some other environmental variable is at work in these colonies.

He will do this by breeding "Arnot Forest" queens, and setting up an apiary with plain old Cornell Lab bees and their mites and "Arnot Forest" bees.  If it is bee genetics, the Arnot Forest bees should show similar resistance to the mites. If the mites of the forest have adapted, then moving the bees to an apiary where they'll meet "plain old Cornell lab" mites should show up in typical mite build up numbers. If it's frequent swarming or another enviromental factor rather than bee genetics, then the Arnot bees won't fare any better than any other bee once in an apiary.

I'll keep you posted when I hear the results of his experiments.
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Lesli
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2005, 05:45:25 PM »

Lesli,

Very interesting.... thanks for sharing this.    Looking forward to any updates....
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2005, 06:12:59 PM »

Hey Lesli this guy is really smart keep us posted.I noticed similar things
here in L.A I had read that the wild bees were all dead the Hollywood hills is just full of bees in roof tiles trees chimneys all over the place I'm going to get a hive of bees out of a guys desk in his back yard I asked him how long have they been there he said he has been liveing there for 15 years they been there the whole time I checked them out when I turned around to leave I noticed another hive 50 feet away in a old 55 gallon drum that was on its side the guy said they came there two years ago I paint houses in the Hollywood hills all the time most  people have a bee story
about thre house so I've been putting the word out on bees I don't think I need to buy packages anymore
kirk-o
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2005, 06:52:56 PM »

sounds like some good stuff lesli, I it would be nice to hear his conclusions.
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