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Author Topic: africanized bees, do I have to give up beekeeping if they arrive?  (Read 2948 times)
Xperiment
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« on: May 24, 2010, 08:43:23 PM »



The latest map I've seen shows that they have arrived two counties south of here.   If they appear here in Santa Cruz county do I have to give up the hive or is there a way to cope with a reasonably low risk for us and our very nice neighbors?   According to the maps we are just within the northernmost edge of their predicted range and I would guess that we have 2-10 years before they are here.   I'd like to have a plan in place if possible or at least know in advance that I'll have to give it up.

Thanks!


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xperiment



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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 08:45:33 PM »

No problem, just buy or raise a queen and requeen them. In a few weeks they will be european again.
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 09:13:09 PM »

Would the drones in that area be Africanized, though, so basically just "reinfect" the queens with those traits?
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tim adams
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 09:19:43 PM »

I'm in Florida and in my county africanized bees have been found. I haven't found any and only 1 other beek I know has found 1 feral hive we thought was africanized. We took a hive out of a pop up travel trailer last week and they were in love with me, it was so bad they were sucking them off my head/vail. But this week they were calm, so what I'm saying we all can have a bad day. I'm just going to practice good management and re-queen if I have some hot bees.
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TheMasonicHive
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 09:31:18 PM »

All you have to do is requeen. Africanized drones will not dominate the landscape so if you do raise them and the mate outside of your control the odds of you having the same problem are slim.

I don't know much about queen rearing so I'd imagine ordering one would be the easiet option!
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Jim 134
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 09:54:12 PM »

No problem, just buy or raise a queen and requeen them. In a few weeks they will be european again.


 Who is faster on the queen to mate african drones or  european drones ?
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 10:25:43 PM »

No problem, just buy or raise a queen and requeen them. In a few weeks they will be european again.


Who is faster on the queen to mate african drones or  european drones ?


hmm, just curious as to why you would think either are faster? ahb swarm more often, up tp 18 times a year... or so they say.
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sarafina
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 11:51:01 PM »

No, just be aware of it and re-queen if the hive gets too hot.  And you will know when it is too hot - you won't be able to work it like you normally do.

I had to do that with one of my hives - the worst part is having to dig into 2 deeps with bees that get madder, not calmer when you smoke them..... and of course Her Majesty was on frame 19 of 20 when I found her rolleyes  It took about 4 weeks but they were back to normal gentle bees and have stayed that way ever since (re-queened last year).

My other hive superceded their queen last year and I was worried about the virgin queen mating with an Africanized drone but apparently she did not because that is my gentlest hive.  Also my most prolific so I got some good feral genes with the supercedure.

edited to add:  oh - and we got 'em back in 2001
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Xperiment
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2010, 08:32:48 AM »



This is a backyard hive so the stakes are a little different.    If I caught it very early I might re-queen but if they were significantly aggressive I think I'd smother the hive immediately and try again next spring rather than chance a problem.

 
xperiment

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MacfromNS
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2010, 09:16:24 AM »

It is easy for me to say this because I don't have your problem but if you  re queened each fall would that not take care of your problem. And I'm guessing.
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sarafina
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2010, 10:38:37 AM »



This is a backyard hive so the stakes are a little different.    If I caught it very early I might re-queen but if they were significantly aggressive I think I'd smother the hive immediately and try again next spring rather than chance a problem.

 
xperiment



Mine are backyard hives also in a suburban neighborhood, so believe me I understand your concerns.

And I seriously considered smothering mine but decided to try re-queening first and if that didn't work then I was going to destroy the hive.  The reason I gave the hive another chance by re-queening is they were not aggressive if you didn't open up the hive so they weren't a threat to my neighbors as long as they didn't come into my backyard and pop the covers.  If they did that to my gentle hive they would have been in for a rude awakening also, but the difference is they could run away and the bees would give up but with the aggressive hive they did NOT give up and would follow you for much greater distances.
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scoobee
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2010, 11:03:51 AM »

Okay I'm confused, which isn't hard. If you think you might have AHB's and you re-queen, fine, now you don't have an AHB queen but aren't the bees from the brood of the questionable queen still possibly Afracanized?
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sarafina
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2010, 11:16:17 AM »

My advice is to be aware of it without being paranoid and thinking you have africanized bees just because the girls were testy on a couple of inspections.

In my case, they started out more aggressive than my first hive but only by a small margin.  As their numbers built up, so did their aggressiveness so it was a gradual increase.  As it got worse, I could not longer deny it and finally re-queened and bought my queen from a non-AHB area.  At the peak this is what I was dealing with just so you know:

1.  When I smoked the hive, the buzzing increased dramatically and the guard bees would fly out of the hive at me.
2.  Just lifting the top cover I would get 3 or 4 stings through my gloves (canvas gloves - got better gloves after that)
3.  After even a minimal inspection a battalion of guard bees would follow me all the way to the house, repeatedly butting me and I was unable to come into the house for 30-40 minutes w/o bringing in 20-30 bees.  In July in the South I thought I was going to pass out from the heat in my bee suit.  My other hive might send 1 or 2 with me to my back door, then give up and go home.  One time I couldn't stand it any longer and came in to the utility room anyway and discovered that once they hit the 74 degree A/C air they immediately calmed down and I was able to swat them w/o them getting into the rest of the house.  My husband helped swat w/o a suit and did not get stung.
4.  Finding the queen was an amazing experience.  I was fully armoured up with heavy gloves and a double layer of clothes so I did not get a single sting, but I was in a tornado of angry bees and the sight and sound sensations were something else!  
5.  As soon as the queen was smushed my problems with this hive were over.  I waited 24 hours to introduce the new queen and I had no problems opening up the hive and putting her in, or taking the empty cage out a few days later.  They were in emergency-survival mode to pay much attention to me.

You need to do what makes you feel comfortable and able to sleep at night.  I am just relating my own experience in case you have to deal with it down the road.  I understand now why they were interested in the genetics - that hive built up amazingly fast - they just couldn't breed out the aggressiveness and keep the ability to build up quickly.
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sarafina
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2010, 11:24:47 AM »

Okay I'm confused, which isn't hard. If you think you might have AHB's and you re-queen, fine, now you don't have an AHB queen but aren't the bees from the brood of the questionable queen still possibly Afracanized?

I wondered the same thing, but it wasn't a problem.  After about 6 weeks you would have all new bees in the hive anyway with the new queen's genetics, but it doesn't take that long.  Once I was assured the new queen had been released, I didn't go back in for nearly 4 weeks and they were fine by then so I am thinking it only takes a majority to influence their hive-mind behavior.  Even when I went in to install the new queen and remove the cage they were already much clamer but I think it was because they were in survival mode since they were queenless at that point.

Whatever the reason, re-queening fixed the problem right away.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 11:42:53 AM by sarafina » Logged
Thymaridas
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2010, 12:13:33 PM »

When I was in Africa, the beeks there do all of there work at night, and never in the afternoon. Time of day makes a lot of difference with the African bee.
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sarafina
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2010, 01:04:56 PM »

When I was in Africa, the beeks there do all of there work at night, and never in the afternoon. Time of day makes a lot of difference with the African bee.

I have not heard that - interesting.

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AllenF
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2010, 04:17:30 PM »

Make sure you install northern queens every year, keep the hives strong, and install lots of drone foundation  (green frames) to insure your neighborhood has lots of non African drones to mate with the bees that surround you.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2010, 04:39:02 PM »

All you have to do is requeen. Africanized drones will not dominate the landscape so if you do raise them and the mate outside of your control the odds of you having the same problem are slim.
"The Hive and the Honeybee" claims that in their study, European queens mated preferentially with Africanized drones.  They were not sure of the reason and that research was published in 1992 so it may be outdated.  But you would have to think that if the Africanized colonies multiply faster, they will eventually be the majority.  So I guess the worst case is that you would always have to buy mated European queens from a place the Africanized haven't reached.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2010, 06:31:22 PM »

No problem, just buy or raise a queen and requeen them. In a few weeks they will be european again.


Who is faster on the queen to mate african drones or  european drones ?


hmm, just curious as to why you would think either are faster? ahb swarm more often, up tp 18 times a year... or so they say.

Don't 1/2 of the genetics for worker come form the drones  huh



                 BEE HAPPY Jim 134  huh
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 06:56:59 PM by Jim 134 » Logged

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"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
wd
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2010, 08:09:45 PM »

Don't 1/2 of the genetics for worker come form the drones  huh

yes,

With the amount of swarms per year said, why don't we see more?  Whether by death of the elements, requeening, cross breeding, killing intentionally or flooding areas with drones, something is going on.
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