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Author Topic: Swarm control VS bee survival  (Read 3416 times)
tig
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2007, 12:19:31 AM »

a.mellifera isn't native in my country and swarm control is a priority among beekeepers here.  mellifera swarms DO NOT survive in the wild...the longest survival was recorded at 7 months, which means a swarm is under a death sentence, so better to manage and just make splits.  we do not artificially inseminate...its all open mating and we do not kill the drones.

if you read the posts here, you'll notice that majority have bee fever....we have fallen in love with our bees and some even treat them like family members!
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kathyp
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« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2007, 12:25:31 AM »

tig, why don't they survive?  i would think they'd have a great home there.  lot of food and lots of places to live.
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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 “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
tig
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« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2007, 12:56:29 AM »

the researchers are not sure why they die off.  im wondering myself why they can't survive.  rainy season is from may to november...i would think that if they swarmed then, there wouldn't be enough food for them to survive until nectar flow.  but it doesn't hold true from dec. to april since thats when nectarflow is.  if a colony swarmed in december, they would have several months to build up food reserves to last them thru the rainy season, and yet they die off.

if predators were the problem, they would have the same predators in most beeyards. i don't think its lack of nesting sites since we have areas where the local bees are plentiful and come people make a living out of honey hunting.

maybe mellifera has been too domesticated that it can't compete with the local bees in the wild.  its been stated that the absconding behavior of our local bees is what allows them to survive and not be subject to brood diseases and other major problems such as trachael and varroa mites.
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kgbenson
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« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2007, 09:04:27 AM »

"Since we are faced with honeybee extinction"

Nah, not even close, in fact bees are so far flung now thanks to man and his movable hives that it would take a global catastoprhy to kill them all.  And I mean catastrophy.

"I think we should consider letting the bees do what they need to do."

They can be allowed to do that and still be managed effectively for the benefit of bee and beekeeper alike as many ahve alluded to.

"A swarm makes a new colony, after all."

SO does a split, and because the s[plit gets stores and brood and pollen when made correctly, it stadns a far greater chance of survival.

"Just try to catch it,"

Easier said than done.  Caught one yesterday though.  It is fun.  I will supplement it with a few frames of capped brood and a frame of pollen to give then a boost early on.

"if you can, and let them thrive as best you can. With your help, feed and treatment."

Feed 'em and get them off to a good start by all means, but skip the treatments if you can at all (and you can).

"I support the theory that bees have been weakened by decades of manipulative beekeeping,"

I think this is overblown.  I hear it a lot, but there is little data to support this in such a sweeping way.

"aimed at high production above all else."

It is certainly one of the important factors.  At the same time I kow of no breeding program that isn't working on a half dozen other traits.

"Why weed out the drones?"

Who does that?  Who can do that?

"We don't know all their function yet, but they are there for some reason."

Well we knopw at least one of their functions . . . nudge, nudge, wink, wink . . . know what I mean, know what I mean?

The same goes for queen rearing. Maybe in the wild, the mating occurs with a selection we haven't been able to match artificially.

Indeed, but there will always be regression to the mean, so unless you want average bees, on average, there is a reason to hedge you bets and try to control some of the factors.  At the same time, who uses anything but open mated queens in production hives?  I wouldn't pay 300 bucks for an AI queen only to pop her in a honey producing hive, and I don't know wnyone who would.  If you raise queens from her (which is why their are created in the first place), there will be some genetic mixing as there is no real control over open mated queens. 

"Lets all focus on healthier hives instead of high production for  a few years, until this crisis abates!!!
I think nearly everyone is doing that based on the simple dictum:  Healthy hives = more honey.  I don't think everyone is that cynical at all, and most want their bees to be healthy for more reasons than that, but even the beekeeper with the hardest of hearts wants healthy colonies.  To be crass - it is just good business.

Keith "I love catching swarms and get to do entirely too little of it" Benson
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2007, 09:28:24 AM »

To gat a 20% number I think they are lumping all swarms together, including overcrowding, reproductive etc.  I think reproductive swarms have a much higher survival rate than 20%.  But many swarms are overcrowding or population control type swarms.  These usually don't survive because their intent wasn't necessarily to survive, but to give the original colony a better shot at survival while POSSIBLY surviving.

A reproductive swarm, on the other hand, is at the best possible time for it to survive and these often do as that was the intent of the colony when they cast that swarm.

Try reading Walt Wright's manuscript for a good idea of how reproductive swarming is planned by the bees.  It's about 60 pages long and last I heard was $8 in a pdf by email or $10 on paper. You can contact him at this address: Walt Wright; Box 10; Elkton, TN 38455-0010; or WaltWright_at hotmail dot com (Encoded to avoid the spambots. Don't forget the underscore).

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htm

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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Jeff L
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 01:14:12 AM »

Michael, replying to the last post here. I have read where feral honey bees are on their way to becoming extinct. What is your take on that? Do you believe this to be correct? I've read this before, numerous times, and always wondered if this was true, or maybe an exaggeration. I live in an ag. area,(CA) and see swarms come through every year in March. This is always a month before the beeks move their hives in to pollenate Almonds, then Prunes, Pears etc. Where do these swarms come from? 
Jeff
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2007, 06:47:39 AM »

>Michael, replying to the last post here. I have read where feral honey bees are on their way to becoming extinct.

So have I.

>What is your take on that? Do you believe this to be correct?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#feralbees
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesferal.htm
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Kirk-o
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2007, 08:32:19 AM »

I went and got some Bees from Dee Lusby in Arizona.All over in the desert
out on the middle of nowere there were bees on the desert trees on the Juniper
I mean in the middle of no were land the feral bees are doing great without mans chemicals
kirk-o
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"It's not about Honey it's not about Money It's about SURVIVAL" Charles Martin Simmon
kathyp
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2007, 10:29:50 AM »

how do you know they were feral bees? 
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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 “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
kgbenson
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2007, 11:27:52 AM »

"the feral bees are doing great "

And how do you know they are doing great?  Don't get me wrong, I don't buy the feral bees are going extinct thing either.  But seeing bees on trees doesn't mean they are necessarily "doing well"

Keith
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 03:14:56 PM by kgbenson » Logged

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KONASDAD
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« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2007, 01:18:26 PM »

I have lived in the same area for years now. I have never, ever seen a honeybee in my yard until I bought a hive in. Besides, How do you know a feral hive didn't leave a langstroth days before?
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Eve Sylvia
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« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2007, 10:40:52 AM »

I'm learning a lot, but seeing lots of varied opinions/facts . Here in Ny state, south, we had more feral bees, or local bees a few years ago, they are scarcer now. Some I know were feral, because they lived in a tree (and were in that tree for more that 7 months, several years) or a roof. Now,I only see my bees around. (And the tree is empty with barely the scent left. It is a lovely thing, still, but sad.)
I am one of those with one hive who treats it like a pet. Not a pro or professional, but after 10 years at it getting a little better.
I have found that when I don't treat at all I have less luck than when I use a little formic & oxalic acid. Any opinions on this? Michael says he never treats. I fumed last fall once with a tsp of oxalic and the hive lasted til spring, which was not the case the year before when I used just 1 formic treatment.

I am going to read up and learn how to split a hive, should it be healthy enough, I agree that it is better to have 2 in the hand than one in the bush, and I am reassured that so many of you feel extinction is not an issue at all. I want to believe that, but when the Times says 80% loss, I worry. Still, seeing how many have healthy bees is great. Thanks, all.
(I still do feel that some beekeeping in the past century has been exploitative, but I see from this forum that it has changed A LOT)
It was snowing here this morning, so I made a last batch of syrup.
 Eve
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Robo
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« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2007, 11:36:55 AM »

Not sure which part on NY you are in, but ferals aren't gone everywhere.
http://research.cals.cornell.edu/entity?home=6&id=20985

I can also say that I have been getting more calls the last few years for feral removals.  Just had one last week for one in a church that has been there 3 years.

And as far as exploiting,  you do realize that apis mellifera is not native to America, and if it wasn't for "exploiting" them for honey, they wouldn't be here at all.
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Eve Sylvia
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« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2007, 02:12:54 PM »

I don't call all beekeeping exploiting, there is husbandry, of course that is good!! But there have been times and places when max honey production was more important that bee health.
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tig
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« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2007, 08:35:37 PM »

i don't think mellifera will become extinct because it has been widely scattered all over the world.

as for exploitation, one consideration for becoming a comercial beekeeper is finances.  theres big money involved and the beekeeper must have a way of getting his/her investment back.  they have to care for thier bees in the best matter they know of because it's their livelihood.
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