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Author Topic: AHB and moving north  (Read 1839 times)
bmacior
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« on: February 06, 2010, 10:24:16 AM »

I'm starting this new thread in response to "Giant Killer Bees on Monsterquest" as the orignal thread goes in several directions.

In the spring of 2009, a colony of over wintering AHBs was removed from the soffit of a home in Cedar City Utah.  Cedar City's elavation is 5800 ft, the average winter low is 17 degrees, and averages 8 inches of snow every month during the winter.

I live 3 hrs north of Cedar City, in a valley with milder winters.  I expect AHBs to get here and survive.  I also expect them to continue northward from here.

It's only common sense, the more the AHB interbreed with European bees, the more they will be able to survive the cold.  Hopefully as that ability goes up to due the dilution of AHB genes, the agressiveness will also go down.  According to studies, the AHB of today is 50% less agressive than the orignal ones.
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ONTARIO BEEKEEPER
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 02:09:39 PM »

I hope they don't cross the border Smiley shocked
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sarafina
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 09:09:11 PM »

It's still a crap shoot with the aggressiveness.  I had to re-queen a hive last summer that became too vicious to work - couldn't even pop the top cover off w/o getting stung multiple times through my gloves and smoking them only made them madder.  It was started from a package with a local Italian queen - who obviously mated with a hybrid drone.  They were ok at first but as their numbers built up, so did their meanness and man did they build up fast!  Within 5 weeks of re-queening the hive was back to normal.

It is something you will have to keep an eye on and be aware of.  Any time our hives supercede there is a chance of getting aggressive genes in our hives.  My last hive that superceded ended up with brood that was the most gentle yet, so you never know.  That hive is a joy to work - the girls are so laid back  grin

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bee-nuts
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 03:06:20 AM »

I'm starting this new thread in response to "Giant Killer Bees on Monsterquest" as the orignal thread goes in several directions.

In the spring of 2009, a colony of over wintering AHBs was removed from the soffit of a home in Cedar City Utah.  Cedar City's elavation is 5800 ft, the average winter low is 17 degrees, and averages 8 inches of snow every month during the winter.

I live 3 hrs north of Cedar City, in a valley with milder winters.  I expect AHBs to get here and survive.  I also expect them to continue northward from here.

It's only common sense, the more the AHB interbreed with European bees, the more they will be able to survive the cold.  Hopefully as that ability goes up to due the dilution of AHB genes, the agressiveness will also go down.  According to studies, the AHB of today is 50% less agressive than the orignal ones.

Do you have a link to a local article or anything?  I would like to read this story.  How do they know it overwinterd and was not a spring swarm from a beekeeper coming back north in spring?  If that is true, it sure does not look good for us northern folks
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wd
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 03:36:13 AM »

Here's a link on African Bee Colonies Expanding in Southern Utah and a little history
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 04:37:58 AM »

I have seen vicious bees since I started in 1974 in Nebraska.  There have been reports back in the 1600 and 1700s of bees stinging horses to death... so vicious bees have been around a long time.  I think we beekeepers will continue to do what we have always done.  Requeen them and don't breed from them.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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bmacior
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 09:14:12 AM »

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=6628560
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homer
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 09:58:05 AM »

There are studies that show the AHB are most aggressive at sea level and that the higher they get in elevation, the calmer they become.  Yes, it is true that they found AHB in Cedar City, but what was the temperament like in comparison to a colony in, say.... southern Arizona?  They of course don't report on that.  The only way they know they were AHB was to dissect some of them and test them to see.  What is it about AHB that scares people so bad.....?  It's that they think the bees are going to sting them to death.  If you find a colony that is AHB and is not very aggressive I just don't see the big deal.

Quote
I live 3 hrs north of Cedar City, in a valley with milder winters.  I expect AHBs to get here and survive.  I also expect them to continue northward from here.

What you expect to happen, and what actually does happen is yet to be seen.  How many expectations do you have of your own bees, and how often do they hold up to those expectations?  I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about AHB.  I live another 2 hours north of you, and I just don't see it as the big deal that the media portrays it to be.

Those bees in the news link you posted sure didn't look too scary to me!
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sarafina
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 11:29:20 AM »

What is it about AHB that scares people so bad.....?  It's that they think the bees are going to sting them to death.  If you find a colony that is AHB and is not very aggressive I just don't see the big deal.

Having dealt with them personally I can tell you that the biggest issue with AHB is you can't outrun them like European honeybees.  If you get far enough away from a normal hive they give up and go home and the number of stings will be far less.  The AHB do NOT give up.  There have been people here locally killed from AHB when their tractor bumped an old log they were in while mowing their pasture, and unlike a beekeeper they had no protective clothing on.  This is especially bad for a backyard beekeeper like myself - I could not go back into my house unless I wanted to bring 100 bees with me after working my hive.  And they weren't even in full scale "attack" mode or it would have been 1000's.  I have a large backyard - about 1/4 acre - but it didn't matter.  I would have to walk around in my beesuit in 95 degree heat for 30-40 minutes until they were down to 4 or 5 and then just bring them in with me because I was about to pass out from the heat in my suit.  Fortunately when they hit the air conditioned air they calmed down enough to swat them and none got out of my utility room.  But talk about taking the joy out of beekeeping!  

But like Michael Bush said - easy enough to remedy - just re-queen.  The worst part of re-queening is finding the old queen.  M. Bush has some very good suggestions on his site for that as he obviously has had to deal with aggressive bees with no help.  I found my queen on frame 19 of 20 and I have never been in such a strong cloud of noisy angry bees - quite an experience!  When I found her and squished her I was so exhilarated because I knew the worst was over.
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homer
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 01:45:19 PM »


Having dealt with them personally I can tell you that the biggest issue with AHB is you can't outrun them like European honeybees.  If you get far enough away from a normal hive they give up and go home and the number of stings will be far less.  The AHB do NOT give up.  There have been people here locally killed from AHB when their tractor bumped an old log they were in while mowing their pasture, and unlike a beekeeper they had no protective clothing on.  This is especially bad for a backyard beekeeper like myself - I could not go back into my house unless I wanted to bring 100 bees with me after working my hive.  And they weren't even in full scale "attack" mode or it would have been 1000's.  I have a large backyard - about 1/4 acre - but it didn't matter.  I would have to walk around in my beesuit in 95 degree heat for 30-40 minutes until they were down to 4 or 5 and then just bring them in with me because I was about to pass out from the heat in my suit.  Fortunately when they hit the air conditioned air they calmed down enough to swat them and none got out of my utility room.  But talk about taking the joy out of beekeeping!  

But like Michael Bush said - easy enough to remedy - just re-queen.  The worst part of re-queening is finding the old queen.  M. Bush has some very good suggestions on his site for that as he obviously has had to deal with aggressive bees with no help.  I found my queen on frame 19 of 20 and I have never been in such a strong cloud of noisy angry bees - quite an experience!  When I found her and squished her I was so exhilarated because I knew the worst was over.


I completely understand what you are saying and I do understand where the fear comes from.  It's just something that we, as beekeepers have to learn to deal with and not be scared of it happening.

Like if you live in Anchorage, Alaska.... There's a real bear problem there... do you walk around afraid for your life every day or just learn to deal with it?  I just think people tend to worry, to the point that they can't function right.  I mean... with all this talk about AHB in the news and on TV, most people that aren't educated on honey bees don't understand the difference between bees in the hive and a bee on a flower.  So you end up with people that immediately think that a bee's only objective in its life is to search out someone and sting them.
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sarafina
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 02:15:27 PM »


Having dealt with them personally I can tell you that the biggest issue with AHB is you can't outrun them like European honeybees.  If you get far enough away from a normal hive they give up and go home and the number of stings will be far less.  The AHB do NOT give up.  There have been people here locally killed from AHB when their tractor bumped an old log they were in while mowing their pasture, and unlike a beekeeper they had no protective clothing on.  This is especially bad for a backyard beekeeper like myself - I could not go back into my house unless I wanted to bring 100 bees with me after working my hive.  And they weren't even in full scale "attack" mode or it would have been 1000's.  I have a large backyard - about 1/4 acre - but it didn't matter.  I would have to walk around in my beesuit in 95 degree heat for 30-40 minutes until they were down to 4 or 5 and then just bring them in with me because I was about to pass out from the heat in my suit.  Fortunately when they hit the air conditioned air they calmed down enough to swat them and none got out of my utility room.  But talk about taking the joy out of beekeeping!  

But like Michael Bush said - easy enough to remedy - just re-queen.  The worst part of re-queening is finding the old queen.  M. Bush has some very good suggestions on his site for that as he obviously has had to deal with aggressive bees with no help.  I found my queen on frame 19 of 20 and I have never been in such a strong cloud of noisy angry bees - quite an experience!  When I found her and squished her I was so exhilarated because I knew the worst was over.


I completely understand what you are saying and I do understand where the fear comes from.  It's just something that we, as beekeepers have to learn to deal with and not be scared of it happening.

Like if you live in Anchorage, Alaska.... There's a real bear problem there... do you walk around afraid for your life every day or just learn to deal with it?  I just think people tend to worry, to the point that they can't function right.  I mean... with all this talk about AHB in the news and on TV, most people that aren't educated on honey bees don't understand the difference between bees in the hive and a bee on a flower.  So you end up with people that immediately think that a bee's only objective in its life is to search out someone and sting them.

True.  I can't tell you how many people I know who said to me "I hate bees" because they were stung by a wasp!  Or the last time a wasp got in our hallway the ladies came and got me to "kill that bee" because they knew I wasn't afraid of it.   rolleyes
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bmacior
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2010, 07:59:27 PM »

the media is all about sensationalism. There are more deaths every year from cars hitting deer than from bee stings, AHB or otherwise.  I don't know when they will get to my area; next year, 10 years.  however I do expect them to keep moving north.  Personally, I am more concerned about an Africanized queen/queen bred by A. drone being shipped into the state than AHBs getting here on their on accord.  An experienced beekeeping buddy received a package from California last spring that he was never able to work after he hived them because they were so mean. (wish he would get them tested, its free). Regardless whether they get here on their own, from being shipped in, or through the moving of hives from one area of the country to another for pollination, get here they most likey will.  At which time I will probably hang up my veil.
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HAB
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2010, 08:06:42 PM »

Sad to say, but they are within 200 miles now of my operation.  With kids here all the time I'll probably have to give it up also. Cry Cry Cry
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homer
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2010, 09:11:36 PM »

The best thing for the control of AHB is for good beekeepers to keep good bees.  If you find AHP have taken over a hive, requeen and keep them manageable.  The worst thing that you can do is just throw in the towel and say "to heck with it"

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wd
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2010, 09:29:10 PM »

As seen here on this map, http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/docs.htm?docid=11059&page=6 it appears to me as though something is slowing down the spread? ahb was reported roughly 300 miles south of me in 2004. I haven't heard anything in regards to them being in this area nor about people pets, live stock etc running into the negative of them for years with-in the state.

Don't know that I'll hang it up. I'd rather look for ways to help the situation.

 
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applebwoi
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2010, 10:12:22 PM »

Wonder what determines where they overwinter and build up?  I'm in Amarillo,TX @ 3500' and AHB or ABH hybrids have been IDed up here(very low incidence) but I've never heard any reports of any attacks. Do you guess they are moving up from Arizona or over from CA?
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wd
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2010, 11:50:47 PM »

In my opinion, they're here by way of the border and probably hitching rides where ever they can fit. How can this be controlled 100 percent?   Everyone is doing their part to reduce the impact.

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wd
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2010, 03:49:37 AM »


I have seen vicious bees since I started in 1974 in Nebraska.  There have been reports back in the 1600 and 1700s of bees stinging horses to death... so vicious bees have been around a long time.  I think we beekeepers will continue to do what we have always done.  Requeen them and don't breed from them.  Smiley

« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 03:06:30 AM by wd » Logged
Scadsobees
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2010, 12:42:48 PM »

Here's a link on African Bee Colonies Expanding in Southern Utah and a little history
I like the part where they show a carniolan/russian bee next to an italian/caucasian type bee and call the one a killer bee.  I didn't realize that I'm keeping so many killers, but they are sure nice killers! rolleyes


Wow, that was a sadly ignorant article. "So, it's not a full-blown killer bee hive, but there's quite a few killer bees in it," Kipp said. All righty, then.....
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2010, 08:57:56 PM »

Here's a link on African Bee Colonies Expanding in Southern Utah and a little history
I like the part where they show a carniolan/russian bee next to an italian/caucasian type bee and call the one a killer bee.  I didn't realize that I'm keeping so many killers, but they are sure nice killers! rolleyes


Wow, that was a sadly ignorant article. "So, it's not a full-blown killer bee hive, but there's quite a few killer bees in it," Kipp said. All righty, then.....


Yeah.... I wonder how they know which ones were the Killer Bees? grin  Probably the ones that tried to sting them, because our EHB hives sure don't have any of those grin
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