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Author Topic: in need of some definitions  (Read 1572 times)

Offline organicfarmer

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in need of some definitions
« on: April 03, 2011, 02:53:47 PM »
i am a little unconfortable with the constant use of words like feral and survivor. To me feral is the colony that's been unmanaged in a tree or structure for quite a while. When i hear 'catching a swarm of feral bees' , how do i know it's not just a swarm from your neighbor's hive down the road. If feral = wild then yes we all catch feral swarms, there are no domesticated ones.

I'd also like to know when breeders and queen producers sell survivor stock, how long it has survived. One winter? anybody can do that (well maybe not with the state of our queens, with poor quality and frequent supercedure of brand new queens). i'd like to see queens from queens that have survived at least 2 winters (more) with no treatment.

What do you understand when you hear these terms? What do you mean when you sell a queen from feral survivor stock?

Offline lenape13

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Re: in need of some definitions
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 03:07:08 PM »
The terms seem to be used interchangeably.  Personally, my plan utilizes swarm genetics as well as ordering bees/queens from different breeders and suppliers every year.  I do no treatments and split the hives that survive the winters here and allow them to raise their own queens.  I feel this allows me to get stock that is suited for my particular climate.  The first cut-out that I did three years ago is my best hive.  I split it last year and pulled honey from both resulting hives.  I also got packages from supplier in West Virginia last spring.  One package I had to split after a few months, both are doing very well.  Another swarmed before I could split it. (I managed to retrieve the swarm and both are doing great.)  One produced tons of surplus honey, but didn't survive the winter, and the fourth is doing okay.  This spring I'm going to bring in some russian queens and play with them, and probably some carniolains as well.  What works for one might not work so well for another.  Sometimes you just have to do some research and experimentation on your own.

Offline organicfarmer

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Re: in need of some definitions
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 12:55:46 AM »
i do all that: catch swarm, do removals from structures, order packages, nucs depending on years, no chemical treatment  (use essential oils, try to feed the least i need to and leave plenty), split, get queens here, raise them sometimes. When it comes to getting the genetics from outside (purchasing from someone) i hear many 'survivor' talk/advertising, or feral. i'd like to know what it means though.

If i have a queen that survived its first winter and i get queens from her i would not call that "survivor stock" but i have the feeling some do just that. A little like the person who gets his first session of cancer treatment is not a cancer survivor yet. i wouldn't even try to get queens from that 1 yr old queen. i currently have a queen that made it 2 winters (maybe three but i did not keep records before; i dont even know where she comes from). Now i think about producing queens and spreading her genetics. But when i pay $18-25 for a queen, i hope she did not come from one that just survived one winter (had no time to prove her genetics).
How about survivor II (for 2 winters), survivor III, etc... I know it sounds too much like a bad movie.  :roll:

And feral... when i get a call to pick up a swarm, i wont call it feral. How do i know it comes from a tree where the colony has been established unmanaged for 4-5 or more years? It may come and most probably does come from the hive next door, a packaged from last year, Italian from the South. No offense, but that wouldn't be very adapted to PA or MA. But again i feel there is overuse of the term 'feral' for any swarm around.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: in need of some definitions
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 05:23:05 AM »
I don't consider them survivor stock until I've had them in a hive for two winters.  I collect swarms and cutouts, but unless they are very small I wouldn't assume anything, but they MIGHT be survivors.
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Offline Thymaridas

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Re: in need of some definitions
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 11:48:35 PM »
Many peole do not know it, but bees come in a variety of sizes based on the cell diameter of the comb from about 4.6mm to 5.4mm. Most people have large cell bees because that is what most of the foundation is. You can get small cell foundation, but if you are looking through the Brushy Mountain catalog it is easy to overlook.

Anyway, I only call the smaller bees feral, because in my area, they neither swarmed from one of my hives or are really feral.

For survivor stock, I use a little different definition than whatni have seen here so far. I track the maternal lines of all of my hives, and I call any of those lines that I still have after 5 years survivors.

Just my definitions for what they are worth.