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 Your bees may or may not contain AHB genes, but at any time a colony of yours could be superseded by a queen mated to AHB drones, and that hive could explode like a ticking time bomb when you least expect it.
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? Iâ€™ve read many threads, even on this forum, where many strains of honeybees (Buckfast) being one in particular, have turned out to produce â€œHOTâ€ colonies from time to time.
What Iâ€™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 â€œHOTâ€ colonies usually are â€“ doesnâ€™t matter if they are in AHB territory or not.
1) The reported "hyper-defensiveness" is recessive like the cordovan color trait and AHBâ€™s will be able to insidiously infiltrate all of our bees and then engage their "hyper-defensiveness" gene so they can, â€œtake overâ€, 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-defensiveâ€. 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. Whatâ€™s the difference? A hot colony is a hot colony â€“ 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.