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Question: Do you think that we, as beekeepers should allow any feral swarm we catch to swarm once?
Yes - that way the #'s return to the wild
N- They are mine and are not wild anyways.
No - Bees shouldn't be wild only kept.
Yes - That way I can catch more later.


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Author Topic: A question of conscious - allowing bees to swarm  (Read 1378 times)
Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« on: July 11, 2013, 02:17:16 PM »

Feral bees are and have been caught thus removing them from the wild.... In My state the feral bee population has went straight downhill... It could however all be natural... I doubt it, personally, but if a beek allows his hive to swarm he does lose half his bees....but it would allow populations to again rise. This could be deemed irresponsible as easily as responsible though. first, the genetics may not be from the state if you do not buy them from a instate source that got them from a instate source all the way down the line. It could also make more bees in the area...which could result in the regular people...who lets face it are ignorant and retarded, using more things to spray and kill them.... this could also kill other hives too surely.
  Or...it could help the numbers of feral bees recover in the state too..... or many other things. so...whats your position?

I'll add, it used to be common practice for beeks to allow their hives to swarm....or rather they didn;t know how to stop it. and natural bees do swarm, obviously.
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 03:20:18 PM »

.
To nurse them the whole years and then let go?

Good idea. But who gives honey balls to them at thanks giving day?
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L Daxon
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 04:03:32 PM »

I have always thought it wasn't such a bad idea to let a couple of swarms get away from my hives every once in a while.  I think it is important to have feral hives out there learning how to cope on their own, especially when I know the swarms from my stock come from good, gentle VSH strains. Just puts new genetics into the feral stock.

Of course, it also means I am probably helping to establish additional hives that will be foraging close to the same area as my girls who stayed behind, and thus in competition with my hives.

I prefer the girls swarm after the honey flow so I get all the work out of them first and don't have to feed so many during the dearth of August and into winter.

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linda d
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 04:16:50 PM »

1st - I would venture a guess that the vast majority of feral swarms never get spotted to begin with, so maybe only 10% are being caught.

2nd - No matter how hard we try as beekeepers we are probably losing more swarms from our own hives then we catch.

3rd - I'm pretty piss-poor neighbor, if I'm knowingly letting swarms escape that may move into their home and cost them an expensive removal.  butt kick

4th - once hived they are no longer feral bees.

5th - I know of more than 30 feral colonies within 10 miles of my home and there are other beekeepers in my area that will swear up and down that there are no feral bees left and any swarms we are catching are coming from managed hives.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 04:38:41 PM »

In My state the feral bee population has went straight downhill...
What state are you living in BetterToBee huh

There are a descent number of feral bees in Michigan; our situation is similar to what D Semple describes.  I get swarm calls every spring to remove swarms in the city because the folks are scared to death of a ball of bees.  They do well in the cities.  Lots of old trees and old houses with cavities and a warmer microclimate in the winter.  Much easier on the bees than living in some bee keepers thin ĺĒ wood box.  We did have a long cold spring this year and that did cut down on the swarm calls this spring.

I have been propagating more hives from the "feral" swarms I've caught since I figure that canít really hurt; as long as theyíre good layers and not aggressive.  I seem to recall somebody at MSU claiming Michigan used to be one of the top queen producing states in the country 100 years ago.  That was when people would re-queen in the summer.

As for letting swarms return to the wild, I will have to confess to doing that WAY to many times. Smiley Sad  The fields and woods around me should be bursting with feral bees.  As always Iím doing my part for the Planet. applause
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RC
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 05:52:57 PM »

I seem to be doing my part, too, however unintentionally. I lose more than I catch.
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hjon71
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 06:00:53 PM »

I land at DSemple's#3. I would feel lousy knowing I let a swarm go that caused someone else a problem. Granted my bees may swarm without my knowledge and do that very thing but it certainly didn't happen with my knowledge or intention. I know several people who would happily host a hive or two, but no one I know wants a swarm to invade their house shed whatever. But to each his own.
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Quite difficult matters can be explained even to a slow-witted man, if only he has not already adopted a wrong opinion about them; but the simplest things cannot be made clear even to a very intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he already knows, and knows indubitably, the truth of the matter under consideration. -Leo Tolstoy
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 06:59:32 PM »

Over the past 10 +/- years that I have been keeping bees, I have had as many if not more swarm back into the wild than what I recovered. That is how I got started so I figured it was ok to give something back. This is the first year I have purchased any bees from a commercial bee keeper. I have also thought about getting my aggressive fixed next spring to get a couple splits off it and force the mother hive to do just that and let them go. So I am not going to vote on your poll. rolleyes  Smiley d2
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 07:56:28 PM »

living in the land of tree huggers, i often get calls from people who are thinking that they might just leave that swarm they see to "go wild".  fine with me...but where do you think that hive is going to end up?  are there enough hollow trees for them all to set up housekeeping?  do you want to donate your attic to the cause?

i'm sure that one of the reasons i get so many outbuilding calls is that i live in berry country.  those pollination hives swarm and the bees end up in the barn, or shed, or....
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called ďthe government.Ē They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 09:02:11 PM »

B2B,
I appreciate the general premise of your question, I've actually thought about it before...I'm sure the thought has run through most, if not all Beeks minds at one time or another to at least some degree.

However, I think this is one of those that you have to take the "don't over think it approach".

If you have the opportunity to catch a swarm, want it, and it can be done safely....catch it.  If you don't want it, aren't interested in the bees, or it can't be done safely, pass on it.  Trust me, either way, life, the world and the bees will go on.

Looking at every swarm opportunity philosophically and weighing whether the world will be made a better place by my decision to catch or not to catch is just a little too much for me.  grin  

As a general rule, I think people regularly overestimate our ability to affect things relative to mother nature,  either  positively or negatively.  Honestly, I think we're a lot more insignificant in a lot of ways than we would like to believe.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 06:09:28 AM by Moots » Logged

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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2013, 03:28:40 AM »

Good idea. But who gives honey balls to them at thanks giving day?

we've established that...bluebee obviously. bee


What state are you living in BetterToBee huh
~
There are a descent number of feral bees in Michigan; our situation is similar to what D Semple describes.  I get swarm calls every spring to remove swarms in the city because the folks are scared to death of a ball of bees.


it says where I am, right in the location marker by my name.... and where what you 'think' may impress you, I honestly doubt you have done a study like the good professor at MSU, who is a expert int he field...I know you think you are a expert probably also, but am still going with him. you getting a swarm also means nothing.....you surely can understand how many bee packages are bought by people each year...ONE provider I know of sold 1,000 within the first 3 hours of making them available in early may. Those swarms you are getting... could easily be Georgia or California genetics, not original ferals from here.

however...this is a poll....people really should not I have not gave a position on it at all yet. merely possible trains of thought some may have, when taking it, and not even all of them obviously.  This isn't a right or wrong thing. people think differently for different reasons. I'm not judging anyone, merely wondered what folks thought. I also have not voted yet in the poll myself. will now though.

" In the last two decades, Varroa mites have wiped out wild honeybees and about a third of their managed kin in Michigan, according to MSUís Agriculture Extension." of course he doesn't know if it is the mite or not, but says right there, wiped out wild honey bees and 1/3 of their managed kin.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 03:46:06 AM by Better.to.Bee.than.not » Logged
BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 03:38:45 AM »

Yes..... but what's my advanced bee keeping practices got to do with the question at hand?

What genetics are you running BetterToBee?  Are you using Michigan "feral" queens or something else?
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 03:53:33 AM »

I'm just razzing you, because its a thing with the finskimiester, and funny. Wink

I do not have the genetic reports of all my hives to know honestly. but I do have two 'feral' hives to my knowledge. You are right, this isn't about your practices or anyone else's. It is just a question of conscious as the title says. There is no right or wrong, just curious, and no one can see how voted how..... Also many people do not live in neighborhoods or have to worry about neighbors...and many probably don't care about their neighbors anyways, or maybe they just want to get more bees in the area. who knows. no judgments, just a fun question.

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BlueBee
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 04:12:00 AM »

OK, I see you added to post #10 after I posted  grin  

I donít believe I made any claims that feral populations may NOT have declined.  I have no idea about that; I just visit MSU sometimes.  The point I was trying to make is there are a descent number of bee colonies in my area that arenít living in beek boxes.  Iím a little surprised if there arenít wild colonies where you are.  SE Mich, Iím assuming Metro Detroit.

You may be right, the swarm calls I get may have originated from CA or GA packages.  Who knows?  I can tell you the ferals Iíve breed from have come from longer term bee trees in my area.  If they can survive our climate in the wild for multiple years, do I really care where they may have originally came from?
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2013, 04:20:07 AM »

actually I edited it 'as' you were responding, only hit 'post' after evidently. decent number of bees is irrelevant. I am not sure I agree there are 'decent' number of bees actually. Of course there are some...some would even say many. I do not know myself how many or what have you, but people who claim to have done studies claim a large loss, and that has me concerned, I suppose...plus I see what a difference my bees make to production, local plants and even my own personal garden....so I am all for many more. especially if we can get them to be feral and survive here.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 04:32:41 AM »

In post #10 you seem to suggest bees are dying out in Michigan because some supplier sold 1000 packages in 3 hours?  Those arenít to replace feral bees though, so that number is pretty meaningless in this context.  All that tells me is weíve got a LOT of bad bee keepers in Michigan.  In many cases, the bees probably have a better chance of surviving in the wild than surviving some of our bee keepers.

What would be interesting to know is who is really buying all these packages.  Are they Newbees?  Established Beeks trying to expand?  Or PRODUCTION bee keepers who purposely start fresh each spring to maximize profits. 
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Finski
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 06:08:51 AM »

.
Remember, in last Bees' winter loss calculation 66% of untreatet hives died for varroa.

Remember too, that feral bees are normal bees whose dead rate in nature is bigger than in human nursing.

If we have 100 hives. Every hive procudes 2 swarms in a year. If the colonies do not die, they will be 6 million colonies after 10 years.

In Britain it was just reaeached that after 3 winters no "feral" colony was alive.

What doe it mean? - If some place has combs, swarms inhabit places early in summer. It looks like they live from granpa to son.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 08:57:13 AM »

I don't like any of your choices.  I think they will swarm sooner or later no matter what I do, so I don't need to worry about it.  But mainly a colony in my hive contributes as much genetics to the wild as if I let them swarm.  In my hive they will still raise drones.  Those will still fly to DCAs and mate when they can.  But I also get to have bees I can raise more bees from and get honey from etc.

So...

>Yes - that way the #'s return to the wild

I see no difference between them being in my hive or the tree other than I have some control.

>N- They are mine and are not wild anyways.

I think the bees would object to that view if they understood it.  Smiley

>No - Bees shouldn't be wild only kept.

Of course they should be wild.  But having bees will contribute to that no matter how hard I try to prevent it.

>Yes - That way I can catch more later.

Again, it will happen anyway, I may as well try to prevent it.
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Michael Bush
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2013, 05:53:20 AM »

Interesting position Michael.
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2013, 11:29:01 AM »

The bee decline did not come about from people capturing the wild swarms. Honeybes were brought here by the settlers. When varroa became rampant along with foul brood and tracheal mites, it wiped out many feral colonies just as it had wiped out managed  colonies. They were not selective.
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rober
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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2013, 01:45:00 PM »

i've captured 12 swarms so far this year, had 4 swarms move on before i arrived, & have done 3 removals from buildings. 1 swarm was a repeat from a location i caught one from last year.  i got 6 calls for swarms that were too far away for me to go to. i know of 9 feral colonies in trees within 12 miles of my house. so around here anyway there seems to be a healthy feral population. i'll prevent my hives from swarming if i can.
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Finski
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« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2013, 02:39:19 PM »

i've captured 12 swarms so far this year, .

That is good business. Others rear swarms and you catch them-

That is  "you release, me catch" method.

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