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Author Topic: Arizona/Southern California and AHB  (Read 2919 times)
Joseph Clemens
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« on: July 26, 2005, 04:23:43 AM »

I guess I still have much to learn about what is going on in the bee world.

Is it true that most beekeepers in other parts of the country consider all bees here in Arizona and California to be AHB?

If you do, what are your expectations concerning these bees?

If my bees are AHB, why can't I discern this without having to send a sample of my bees to a lab for microscopic examination? I mean, really, if AHBs are so terrible, why does it take a microscope to see their horror?

I've heard much of the agression hype about AHBs. I really don't get it. I've experienced more highly defensive bees decades before the supposedly "killer" AHB's arrived here in the USA. For more than 8 years I've kept a dozen hives here in Southern Arizona and left them to raise their own queens, which, of course, have been open mated. Other than needing absolutely no treatment for mites or diseases of any kind, while being very industrious, and only somewhat defensive between flows, I've not noticed much difference from many other bees I've kept over the years.

Is it even possible to sell bees, nucs and queens, from Arizona or California to the rest of the USA?
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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
12+ hives and 15+ nucs
No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
TwT
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2005, 05:06:55 AM »

Quote from: Joseph Clemens
I guess I still have much to learn about what is going on in the bee world.


dont we all!!

Quote
Is it true that most beekeepers in other parts of the country consider all bees here in Arizona and California to be AHB?


no not all bee's Joseph, the USDA says all of Arizona is AHB from their research. just south california from what i hear.


Quote
If you do, what are your expectations concerning these bees?


my expectation of them is to keep them over there or we might have to break out the "FLAME THROWERS", dont want no mean bee's.  wink

Quote
If my bees are AHB, why can't I discern this without having to send a sample of my bees to a lab for microscopic examination? I mean, really, if AHBs are so terrible, why does it take a microscope to see their horror?



well if I remember right, there were crossed bread to Europian bee's when brougth to south america, they look like our regular bee's just real agressive, thats why there can africanized and not african bee's.

Quote
I've not noticed much difference from many other bees I've kept over the years.


you must have always had fun beekeeping , BAHAHAHAHA!!! Cheesy  thats why them guys from kenya always win them long distance races, they were african beekeepers (didnt have bee suits) before they found out they could make money running instead of getting away from hive's, I always heard them bee's will follow you along ways!!!! cheesy  wink  


Quote
Is it even possible to sell bees, nucs and queens, from Arizona or California to the rest of the USA?


dont know about now but in africanize area's, they could sell bee's only after being tested, of the 2 states you named (california and arizona) only arizona is considered the whole state as being africanize. I'm sure there is someone in here from california, texas, new mexico that can fill you in on all the AHB stuff, as for what i wrote here, take it with a grain of salt, I'm just telling what I have read and heard about, hope something I type is true  wink
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wingmaster
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2005, 07:46:48 AM »

The Arizona state government decided to get rid of the state bee inspector so before he left he decided that if there is no inspector that all bees are Africanized. There is nothing to back this statement up! Its not true at all I have marked queen bees they are the mother of all the bees in the hive and they came from a place that has NO African bees at all. The hives are in Arizona so they are not Africanized. But without an inspector as far as the state government and all other states are concerned they are Africanized. If I waned to ship queens or packaged bees out of the state I would have to have a bee inspector check them before they can be shipped. Well this state decided to spend their money on cars that use alternate fuels and baseball stadiums. So when they ran out of money they got red of the bee inspector. NOT all bees in Arizona are Africanized.  angry
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2005, 09:02:55 AM »

I have bees in Los Angeles ca. I have had bees that were very mean and very agressive I divided the hive into three hives and re-queened now they are nice to work with.I had bees in the 70's before mites and Africanized Bees ,I had very mean bees then to.I had bees in 1970 that would chase the neighboors ducks and chickens.It is impossible to observe honey bees with the eye and tell if they are africanized.I just try to observe and handle my bees correctly I can do that If mean divide and conquer re-queen Michael Bush on this site and the other members have given me good advice
kirko
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2005, 09:17:47 AM »

Quote from: wingmaster
Quote
The Arizona state government decided to get rid of the state bee inspector so before he left he decided that if there is no inspector that all bees are Africanized. There is nothing to back this statement up!



the reason that you dont have a inspector in the life insurance clause.

http://www.beesource.com/pov/andy/andy15.htm


 
Quote
Its not true at all I have marked queen bees they are the mother of all the bees in the hive and they came from a place that has NO African bees at all.


we as beekeeper know this , anyone can buy queens or packages from out of state.

Quote
The hives are in Arizona so they are not Africanized.


sure they are not if you bought them from somewhere else. i believe they still might have ferals that aren't africanized but the way the AHB move it want be long.


Quote
But without an inspector as far as the state government and all other states are concerned they are Africanized.


goes back to the insurance clause, but other states still have inspectors because they still find less AHB  colonies , just guesting this one

 
Quote
If I waned to ship queens or packaged bees out of the state I would have to have a bee inspector check them before they can be shipped.


and for having a bee inspector check your hives before selling them , that will never happen , you have to have them tested first from a lab, not just a inspection.

http://www.beesource.com/pov/ahb/greyarea.htm



Quote
Well this state decided to spend their money on cars that use alternate fuels and baseball stadiums. So when they ran out of money they got red of the bee inspector.


they did spend the money on those ideams but that wasn't the reason.



Quote
NOT all bees in Arizona are Africanized angry


AGREED!!!!

here's a story about africanize workers being able to raise a queen.

http://beesource.com/news/article/thelytoky.htm


now weather all the above is true , I was just repeating what I have read

I hate it for the beekeepers over in the AHB zone, But if you come here you will be in the SHB zone , it almost like nobody wins
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2005, 02:34:54 PM »

Like most people that have been around bees for any amount of time, I've had and seen some hot bees.  In general, the bees we have today seem much calmer than the ones we had 30 years ago.  There were some yards back then, just walking in them was a hazard.

That said, the effects of AHB, or overly defensive, read aggressive bees, would be a large problem for me.  In my present circumstances, I am a totally suburban beekeeper.  I've managed to keep 6 hives in my back yard, and have 10 others stuffed into freinds and relatives gardens and yards.  Liability issues, strained neighbor relations, would make it prohibitive, in fact foolish to maintain those kinds of bees.

The bees have done well this year, and the "landlords" were all smiles when I pulled their honey and started passing it out.  They actually took a little ownership and have began bragging up "their" bees production.
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Phoenix
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2005, 05:38:21 PM »

There are a few comments that need to be addressed here, some of you are over reacting and/or misunderstand the AHB Zone.  The AHB Zone only means that Africanized bees have been confirmed to be present in that county and/or state, it doesn't mean that every colony in that zone is Africanized.

As for the whole state of Arizona being recognized as AHB being present, what some of you don't realize, is that there are only four counties that cover the entire northern portion of the state, and those four counties all extend midway down state, meaning that AHB could have been found only in the southern tip of each of those counties.

Quote
Is it even possible to sell bees, nucs and queens, from Arizona or California to the rest of the USA?

I personally feel it would be irresponsible for a beekeeper in the AHB Zone to consider to try to supply any other beeks with bees that may contain AHB genetics, therefore I agree with the mandates of having to have the colonies tested before they are sold.  Anyone in the AHB zone could not guarantee the genetics of the queens that are open mated in that area.

I understand that you may see some good traits in your bees Joseph, but I think even you will agree that you would not risk working your bees without a suit.  Your bees may or may not contain AHB genes, but at any time a colony of yours could be superceded by a queen mated to AHB drones, and that hive could explode like a ticking time bomb when you least expect it.

Quote
the USDA says all of Arizona is AHB from their research.

Please check your facts before spreading rumors like this.  You are only giving us a bad name by passing on this misunderstood info.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2005, 06:40:53 PM »

Quote from: Phoenix

Quote
the USDA says all of Arizona is AHB from their research.

Please check your facts before spreading rumors like this.  You are only giving us a bad name by passing on this misunderstood info.


Guest I could have worded that different, the line below was wrote on the last line of that statement, all I ment to say was I had read it, I even post the place where I read it so people could research for there self. I can't explain more than that.


Quote
I'm just telling what I have read and heard about, hope something I type is true


but here's a USDA map and it shows all of arizona colored, so guest they do say all of arizona is africanized, I never want to make us look bad  wink , but to keep it from sounding like a rumor, heres the facts I was going by---->

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/mar04/k11219-1.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2005, 07:25:56 AM »

>here's a story about africanize workers being able to raise a queen.
http://beesource.com/news/article/thelytoky.htm

They Lusby's have had bees with this trait LONG before any AHB were found Arizona.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2005, 11:17:52 AM »

Quote
I understand that you may see some good traits in your bees Joseph, but I think even you will agree that you would not risk working your bees without a suit. Your bees may or may not contain AHB genes, but at any time a colony of yours could be superseded by a queen mated to AHB drones, and that hive could explode like a ticking time bomb when you least expect it.


Phoenix,

Sure, I risk it all the time. I work my bees with just long pants (w/leg straps), long-sleeved shirt, smoker, and veil.

My bees may have started out as Africanized (they had established their colony with the combs suspended beneath a mobile home). After the point where I migrated them into modern Langstroth equipment, they have been propagated by splitting and letting each split raise their own queens. This process has been in effect for more than 8 years now. I'm not claiming my colonies aren't Africanized, perhaps they are. What I am saying is that I have a strong inclination to believe that most of the "killer" AHB hype is propaganda. If AHBs are "hyper-defensive", and this tendency is a dominant genetic trait, as it would be, why then would anyone need a microscopic examination to determine if they are AHB's? Wouldn't their "hyper-defensiveness" give them away? And besides if any colony exhibits "hyper-defensiveness" under conditions where EHB would be calm and manageable, wouldn't it be a candidate for requeening or destroying regardless if it were AHB or not.

What businessman/beekeeper is going to sell "hyper-defensive" bees, AHB or not, and expect to stay in business? I’ve read many threads, even on this forum, where many strains of honeybees (Buckfast) being one in particular, have turned out to produce “HOT” colonies from time to time.

What I’m trying to say is:
1)   If AHB have dominant genetics for "hyper-defensiveness", then
2)   AHB will not be able to hide this "hyper-defensiveness", then
3)   Colonies exhibiting this "hyper-defensiveness" will be requeened or destroyed as most “HOT” colonies usually are – doesn’t matter if they are in AHB territory or not.

Otherwise:
1)   The reported "hyper-defensiveness" is recessive like the cordovan color trait and AHB’s will be able to insidiously infiltrate all of our bees and then engage their "hyper-defensiveness" gene so they can, “take over”, or
2)   An EHB queen has mated with EHB and AHB drones and her workers will, perhaps have a temperament change over time, as the sperm source changes.

Scenario: One or more of my colonies becomes "hyper-defensive”. What to do? I either accept this or requeen. What would any beekeeper do when a colony exhibits a strong "hyper-defensiveness"? I think that would be requeen or destroy. What’s the difference? A hot colony is a hot colony – why does it matter why they are hot? Other than the normal seasonal issues that are expected to cause a colony to get somewhat grumpy.

Between flows my colonies can get a little grumpy, but if I'm careful when I work them, or refrain from working them at that time, then they remain as calm as ever.

-----------------
One thing I appreciate from my bees is that I have never needed to use anything to help them to stay healthy and survive the mites.
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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
12+ hives and 15+ nucs
No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
Tomas
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2005, 09:09:09 PM »

For the last 14 years I have been living down here in Honduras, working with AHBs just about all this time. My experience with them is that their temperment is real variable.

One day I could go into the apiary and work with the bees without problems. I put a little smoke on them and they stayed gentle. But a week later I would go back there and they would get out of hand. I walked a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards and I still would have bees bouncing off my veil.

My present apiary is up in the mountains on a coffee farm. I've got some strong hives up there but I've never had to wear a full suit--just a long sleeved shirt, veil and gloves. They have never gotten real defensive on me. I tend to imagine that they are behaving the same way "ornery european bees" would. When I'm done working with them, I can go 25 yards and not have a bee following me. Several years ago I had another apiary in a similar area--same altitude, same type of vegetation and only several kilimeters away. There were several times with this apiary that I had to close up the hives and leave because they got too ornery to work with. I don't remember them being gentle at all in this apiary.

I usually keep a couple small hives in my backyard (new swarms--less than one Langstroth box in size) and rarely worry about them. Small hives are rarely a problem; the bees need to have a quite a bit of comb and brood before they get real defensive. But in one case something set one of them off (I'm guessing one of my chicken did something to upset them). They started boiling out of the hive but luckily I was nearby and got the smoker lit fast. No neighbors came complaining but the chickens got stung up a lot and I lost one of my real nice buck rabbits.

You would definitely have to think twice about keeping hives near a house or place where people frequent. You just never know how they are going to behave. I still don't know exactly what sets them off after all these years so I always have to go into the apiary expecting the worse behavior.

Its also true that the first time crosses between the AHBs and the EHBs are more gentle--and in California there should still be a lot of EHBs with which the queens can mate naturally. But what happens if your not sure? I always have to take the side of caution.

Like I said before, the bees in my present apiary are gentle--if I keep smoke on them. Without smoke it would be another story. If something would accidently bump the hive or make a lot of noise near it, I'm sure the bees are going to get defensive. I myself know how to handle them and don't mind too much if they get riled up. I'll tolerate stings (the money from honey sales is worth it). If you know what you are doing you can manage them just fine.

The problem is with the person who has little or no experience.  That's where you are going to have a problem.

Everyone down here knows that they have to be careful around a hive. There's been many years for people to learn how to act around them. I don't know how true that is back there in California. I would have to think twice about where I keep the hives or who I'm selling them to knowing that they might even be partially africanized. I just never know how they are going to behave.

--Tom
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2005, 09:51:38 PM »

Tomas,
How are your nectar flows? Are there certain times of the year when you have distinct flows? When the bees are being defensive, are they actually busy bringing in nectar/pollen at the same time?
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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
12+ hives and 15+ nucs
No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
Tomas
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2005, 10:55:06 PM »

The flowering season here in the valley where I live is basically from mid October until the end of April. Up in the mountains it is basically the same length, it just starts and ends a bit later. During this period the amount of nectar varies but the bees are basically always working something. Even now, during the rainy season, there is always a little something to work (but not enough for a harvest of honey.) Here in the valley I don't feed the bees, but up in the mountains I have too right now--lot more rain and worse weather and less flowers. In the valley the morning are just about always nice for the bees to get out and about.

In general with dreary, overcast weather the AHBs get more defensive. But...the last couple times I checked the hives I have up in the mountains this was the weather we had--it's been rainings a lot down here in Honduras lately. The bees stayed real gentle, even though I was also going into the brood nest to check out the situation in there.

On some nice sunny days during the flow I expected them to be gentle, thinking that most would be out working flowers. They sometimes got real ornery.

I don't see any rhyme or reason to their behavior at times.

One thing that might be helping now is that I'm using top-bar hives. That seems to help me control them better--although they have gotten overly defensive on occasion. The normal Langstroth boxes are definitly more of a problem--too opened up when you need to check the bees. Too many places for the bees to get out.

I'm also starting to think altitude might play a role in the gentleness. My TBHs have always be gentle up in the mountains, but not always in the valley. The AHBs have gotten ornery in the Langstroth boxes no matter where they were.

--Tom
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wingmaster
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2005, 06:31:56 AM »

Quote: the reason that you dont have a inspector in the life insurance clause
 
 No it was a lack of money If they sewed inspectors then we would not have health inspectors or building inspectors. There are buildings that collapse all the time and they all have to be inspected by state law.  They cut out all kinds of state funded stuff back then. Most bee keepers wanted the inspector.

Quote: and for having a bee inspector check your hives before selling them , that will never happen , you have to have them tested first from a lab, not just a inspection.  


There are several queen breeders that are in hot zones and ship bees all over the USA. And some have shipped hot bees.  Thay have an inspector and that’s all they have. there Not going to run a $35 dna test on a $15 queen. I don’t think they should be able to do this But they do. I live in the hot zone and I don’t buy queens from any one in the hot zone.      
I would not want to see this become a nation wide problem.
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