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Author Topic: pure black bees?  (Read 3308 times)
JackM
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« on: September 11, 2012, 08:10:13 AM »

I have a feeding station set up about 50 feet from my hives.  Very few of my bees are using it.  The reason I can tell is that the bees feeding are either pure/solid black or the last half of the abdomen is solid black.  Any ideas on species of ??

They are not robbing my hives, I checked closely for those color bees at my hives.

Curious if I should try to find the hive or just stop feeding since mine are not using it.
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 11:25:26 AM »

.
Caucasian bee is very black.
Carniolan is a little bit gray.
Black bee has brown hairs.
Monticola bee has been used as crossings. It is black.

And crossings....

This bee has lost its band hairs and is glossy black

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JackM
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 07:33:21 AM »

That is almost what I am seeing but the thorax is bright yellow.  I will try to get a photo today.
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T Beek
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 07:53:47 AM »

I've noticed increasing numbers of small black and dark gray honeybees for several years in my region.  I think its a very good thing cool

t
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deknow
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 08:09:34 AM »

...bees that appear black (especially near the tip) are often robbers (their colored hairs get worn off so they appear black).

deknow
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T Beek
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 08:20:15 AM »

Huh? 

I rarely, if ever see black bees at my hives and haven't had a robbing issue in some time, but during this years goldenrod flow the black bees made up between 20-30% of the foraging bees I wittnessed (when standing in a field of the stuff).

I think we're describing 2 diferent things here deknow. 

The Black HoneyBees I've been seeing around here have plenty of hair and little to no golden or honey color.  They don't 'appear' black, they 'are' black.

t
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 10:24:40 AM »

I wonder why the black bee holds such a high level of prestige or mystery in the minds of beekeepers? (myself included) I was tickled to death about this time last year on a removal I had done, and a large percentage of them were jet black. For some reason they just fascinate me and apparently they do the same to others.
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 10:46:34 AM »

What fascinates me most is that for years we were told that there were no more ferrel bees, something (or someone (s) killed them all off.  What was once thought to be our wild honeybee by many beeks was actually a small black 'German' bee, an import.   

Well, either the experts were wrong or we've got a resurgence of these WILD bees.  Whether they originally began as a package colony in someones back yard makes little difference IMO.  Whether they are (or were) German, Carnis, or Russian matters little either IMO.  If they can survive even one of our winters out in the woods I'll call them wild  cool and American bees from then on  Wink

t
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yelnifok
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 07:39:35 PM »

It was my understanding that there were no honeybees here in the americas until european explorers brought the german black bee- @200 yrs. ago. The native indians refered to them as the" white mans flies"- they hadn't seen them until whites' arrived. Cornell Univ. did a study in the mid '80's and determined that there were 7.8 colonies (feral and hived) per sq.mile on average nation wide. Now this survey was done before the present day maladies that we face so I'm not sure whether thier statistics would still hold. But I would try to find thier colony site- by bee lining- as I think any feral non-africanized strain would be worth the hunt. lee...
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T Beek
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 06:19:07 AM »

Agreed; if not for beekepers, honeybess would be concentrated around the equator and not much further. 

At a minimum these little black bees have been adding new genetics to my colonies for several years already and that pleases me greatly.  The nearest Beek that I'm aware of is at least five miles away.

t
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BjornBee
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 07:56:08 AM »

Ok, before some of these comments become "urban legend", lets consider a couple things.

Yes, the wild bees were for all practical sense, wiped out when mites came along. Was every single colony killed....no. But most if not all in some areas died. I participated in several studies looking at ferals, and when you can survey 8 miles stretches, and not have one honey bees found, in areas that once was noted in records as being great swarm tree havens, then you can assume that many colonies have died. 

That was twenty years ago. Commonsense dictates that some colonies have been replaced, and continue to be replaced, by beekeepers via swarming. Just as in New York, beekeepers really don't know how many swarms are created and most are not seen. So twenty years later, and by the shear number of beekeepers out there, feral colonies can be found almost everywhere. Here in Pennsylvania, if you drew a 10 mile circle around every known apiary, and accounted for the many more not even registered, you would not have many areas not influenced by managed colonies, or repopulated by them.

I've heard for twenty years now many beekeepers finding a black bee, and then claiming they were German black bees, survivors somehow untouched by humans for decades. Yet someone tell me one breeder or beekeeper that has had his bees tested and verified as German black bees.

I've been raising and selling carni lines for years that are all black. So has many others. I should just rename them as German black bees, and charge more, since many think that is what they are. They are not.

As deknow stated, this time of the year, black bees are common at feeding stations. They are old bees, robbers many times that have nothing to lose. They lost their hair fighting at entrances and testing guard bees of other colonies. They are many times "shiny". AMM and other strains are not half black on the tip, and shiny. They are all black.

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JackM
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 08:12:33 AM »

Well I don't see any robbing, it would be easy to spot them against my bees.  I also note some with a black thorax and orange body, some with half black and half solid orange body, some pure black with lots of hair, don't look old.  I have Carni's and mutts and they just don't even get close to that much black.  I sure would like to find that hive, just to see them as a unit.



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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 08:40:59 AM »

  I sure would like to find that hive, just to see them as a unit.

I can send a picture of a hive, nicely painted.   grin
There is a good chance, that the bees came from another maintained hive in the area.  Wink

Your carni's are a blend at best, and probably should not be called "carni" bees. Carni bees are all black.   
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2012, 08:42:56 AM »

Doesn't it drive all you beeks crazy when some beeks obviously don't read or absorbed the posts they respond to, selecting instead to ignore the 'reality' observed by the poster?  Keeping an open mind...whatever happened to that concept?  Urban legend?  We live in the woods  grin

To repeat from above;  the small black honeybees I've personally observed are hitting the goldenrod, not my hives.  I don't have a feed station set up yet as the goldenrod while past peak, is still blooming.

These 'black honeybees' still have lots of hair, grayish in color but their bodies are mostly if not all black with little to no golden/honey color.  

They don't 'appear' black (because they're old and have rubbed off their Hair), they have hair and ARE black.

t
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BjornBee
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 09:49:05 AM »

Doesn't it drive all you beeks crazy when some beeks obviously don't read or absorbed the posts they respond to, selecting instead to ignore the 'reality' observed by the poster?  Keeping an open mind...whatever happened to that concept?  Urban legend?  We live in the woods  grin

I'm sorry....did you think I was talking to you?

To repeat from above;  the small black honeybees I've personally observed are hitting the goldenrod, not my hives.  I don't have a feed station set up yet as the goldenrod while past peak, is still blooming.

That's nice to know.

These 'black honeybees' still have lots of hair, grayish in color but their bodies are mostly if not all black with little to no golden/honey color. 

They don't 'appear' black (because they're old and have rubbed off their Hair), they have hair and ARE black.

t


Those must be survivors from the wild bees years ago that you claim were once all German Black bees.  Wink The one's mistakenly claimed to be all killed off by someone or something.  grin
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T Beek
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2012, 10:19:15 AM »

Add some angst please  Wink  It wasn't me who made the claim, it was beekeepers of the era, perhaps even you BjornBee, go back and check for yourself, if you dare  Wink.

When posting on this site its assumed you're talking to everyone observing, if not I guess that's what the 'personal msg' link is for, no?

t
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BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2012, 10:39:59 AM »

Come on! Commonsense clearly can suggest that Italians were the favorite bees for years and years prior to any mite coming along and wiping out most of the feral populations. Beekeepers simply did not want to keep AMM for obvious reasons.

When 90% or better of the beekeeping population, for decades, kept Italians and other strains, how can anyone suggest that the ferals were all AMM.

Even if some were AMM (and I am sure some were) it mattered little since they were wiped out also.

But we love to romanticise and dream about some long ago lost genetic strain still surviving out there called German Black bees. or AMM.

I've heard about them being found for twenty years now. Ripped out of farmer Brown's barn on many occasions. Every black bee out there being found by some beekeeper is candidate for claiming AMM being found. That is bad enough. But now it seems every black bee at a feeding station must come from a feral colony of AMM in the neighborhood, as they seemly have retained their genetics and reproduced right under our own noses.  Wink
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2012, 10:46:06 AM »

Ripped out of farmer Brown's barn on many occasions.

Sounds like a heckuva place for some swarm traps. All black bees you say?  grin

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T Beek
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2012, 11:12:36 AM »

Never claimed to know where these bees came from nor what variety they might be.  I and others who were interested,  asked some questions about them and were rebuked w/ a peculiar response that did not take the questions or the observations described into consideration or perhaps did not like or understand the questions, not sure really.  

As already said, I personally don't think it matters where they came from or what particular variety they might be, but hey that's just me.  I'm just happy to see them.  

Perhaps, to add more enlightenment on these observations than my previous posts provided; I admit fully that I have no idea what kind of bee they are (I call them American Wilds) or where they came from (and don't think it matters, not to me anyway), only that they are increasing each year and 'that's' a good thing. cool.

t
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2012, 11:17:31 AM »

Black bees are somewhat common around our farm, and they were around before I started beekeeping. I can't say where the black bees are coming from, or what genetics are in them, but I can tell you where they are not coming from. I don't have any in my hives, and there are not any apiaries currently within  8 miles of my apiary.



This it was taken in spring when I was first getting started with no honey to rob. They were working the dandelions over pretty good too.

So my assumption is that it is from a feral colony somewhere not more than a mile or so as there where plenty of pollen and nectar sources available at the time this was taken. It would be great if I could find the colony and see what percentage are black. My guess it that I would find a mix of colors, with good genetics. Finding the queen would prove interesting I'm sure. Maybe I will be able to find this mystical source someday!  grin
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 07:58:18 PM by BabcockFarms » Logged

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