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5 hours ago, Alastair said:

tell me that for the purposes we want, we haven't improved them?

We have improved them to the extent that they now serve our needs much better.

Have we improved them as an animal, of course not, we have just changed them.

As time goes on the cattle we now have that suit our needs so well are fare more likely to be wiped out by the same disease the first time it strikes.

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I see that the link to the submissions on the Risk Analysis(RA) for the Importation of Carnica semen from Germany and Austria was posted on this Forum.   Remember first that this was 2003, but it does

This image is from 2005 when I was at the F3 stage with the carnica semen importations.  This Queen is 87.5% carnica, and is sort of the bee I am headed back to with our new Kiwi Cross population that

Local selection of local bees leads to greater production, less costs, less losses and helps to retain genetic diversity and genetic improvements that have been bred by local beekeepers for generation

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I guess there is some similarity between bee and cattle breeding. Put a domestic cattlebeast on the African plains and it will get taken out by a predator pretty quick. But a wild buffalo that will successfully take on lions, well you sure wouldn't try running one of those through the milking shed.

 

Likewise African bees will deal to all comers including humans, we have bred a lot of that aggro out, it is thought that the docile carniolans and caucasions may have got that way by thousands of years of interactions with humans, ie if you are a farmer 2,000 years ago running some bees in boxes or hollow logs, when it comes time to kill some and take the honey, which ones are you going to kill? The ones that sting you every time you walk past of course!

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5 hours ago, Alastair said:

tell me that for the purposes we want, we haven't improved them?

We have improved them to the extent that they now serve our needs much better.

Have we improved them as an animal, of course not, we have just changed them.

As time goes on the cattle we now have that suit our needs so well are fare more likely to be wiped out by the same disease the first time it strikes.

Dogs are a great example.

Pedigree dogs are genetically predisposed to a long list of afflictions that dont affect mongrels.

The main problem with the mongrel dog is that they are generally ugly and dont bred true, this usually means that they dont sell well.

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1 hour ago, Rob Stockley said:

Alastair what do you think the description for AMM should be? I don't know enough about them to agree or disagree with you. Wikipedia describes them as "European Dark Bee". It's simple to change if there is a better alternative.

 

Hi Rob Ok I did a google and found that wikepedia description. Thing is, describing AMM's as a european dark bee is correct, because they are a european dark bee. But the issue is that a bunch of other quite different bees are also european dark bees, so the description kind of muddies the waters it is too broad, it makes it sound like all european dark bees, carniolans included, are AMM.

 

I did some googling to find a good definition, but it comes down to a whole bunch of complex genetics. Other than that there's a bunch of characteristics that can be described, but that is too involved to put in a brief pop up. Maybe the words one of could be added to the description, ie, one of the european dark honeybee species.

 

David Yanke may care to comment as being the premier carniolan breeder I am sure he has had to wrestle with arguments over the difference with AMM's in his day.

 

I was also surprised just how much misinformation including even wrongly labelled photos are on the net about AMM's. In many places they have largely gone extinct and have sort of become the stuff of legend, with lots of people popping up and claiming to have them when they actually have some other dark bee.

 

 

Edited by Alastair
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Im not as narrow mined on this issue as it may appear but rather just adding balance to an important topic.

Ill never forget the email inquiry I got from a new beekeeper asking if I selected for gentleness in my bees.

I would never breed for gentleness because it is so subjective and contary to a bee's survival

If one can indeed be selective of traits, one needs to be mindful not only of what the market requires but also what traits the Bees require in order to remain viable.

 

Edited by Philbee
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16 minutes ago, Alastair said:

I did some googling to find a good definition, but it comes down to a whole bunch of complex genetics. Other than that there's a bunch of characteristics that can be described, but that is too involved to put in a brief pop up. Maybe the words one of could be added to the description, ie, one of the european dark honeybee species.

 

David Yanke may care to comment as being the premier carniolan breeder I am sure he has had to wrestle with arguments over the difference with AMM's in his day.

Maybe it could be changed to  european dark honeybee type.

That is a term @David Yanke used for Italian type

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Cool. Probably seem a bit overkill to some of the new generation of beekeepers who have never experienced AMM bees, but you wouldn't describe italians as carniolans, so why lump AMM's in with carniolans, so thanks Rob.

 

Because AMM's are not the issue they used to be there is a paucity of good info about them on the net, and I think that also contributes to misunderstanding. 

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I have always found that gentleness and productivity went hand-in-hand. I'm not sure why but that's how I see it. As for disease resistance chalk brood knocked around my bees when it first got here but a couple of my strains with more AMM just got wiped by it. I have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get to Roual Island as I'm pretty sure the bees there will be about as pure AMM as you can get. They shouldn't even have survived their given the small founding population. The last managed hive fell to bits nearly 50 years ago when a friend of mine was over there. I'm not sure I want to bring them back here but I would love to see how AMM have adapted to what is essentially a tropical environment. As a very important nature reserve I also think they should be studied to see whether they should be eradicated. Perhaps we should just throw some varoa in there and see what's left in 20 years.

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That's interesting John. There is a group in England trying to re establish AMM's there, or as they call them over there, native British bees. But they are struggling because the waters have been muddied by introduction of other dark bees including French AMM's after Isle of Wight exterminanted the English ones, the French version was more resistant. They are arguing if what they are breeding from really is the genuine native British bee. But we do know the ones here are, or were. If the ones on Roual Island are from here then they will be the genuine article.

 

But on the other hand I'm not sure if it's a good plan to cultivate these nasty little bees.

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Hi Alistair.

I could think of some really good names and descriptions for AMM but the moderators wouldn't like them (not sure about Dale).

AMM a swarming, unproductive, vicious and disease prone race of bees from the colder parts of Europe including England which has disappeared from most of its former range due to tracheal mite . It is however considered a survivor including a wild hive of pure AMM that had miraculously survived for decades in an old church in England. The last story must be true because it was in the newspaper even though it contradicts everything we know about bees and bee genetics.

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Ha yes I've seen that Church housed "native English bee" colony bandied around as proof the breed still exists.

 

Thing is, if it's been there for decades as claimed, it would have requeened itself at least one time each year. And the proponents want everyone to believe that at each requeening, the queen got lucky and didn't run into any other drones than more native British ones. Yeah Right!

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A.m.m. is commonly known as the Dark European Honey Bee.   It is the Honey Bee of Western Europe, it,  by far, colonised  the largest area of Europe of all the European races, from Spain up into Scandinavia.  All of France and all of Germany.  It is a very hardy bee, always nervous, but not always nasty, but it isn't a very productive bee and it is more  susceptible to brood  diseases when compared to the eastern and southern races.  As I have said before it is a very different bee to the other European  Races.  It has African roots, and it has behaviours that attest to that.  Apparently, Honey Bees appeared in Europe first, and then spread out to Colonise Africa and Asia, but when the Glacial Period came, Honey Bees were driven out of Europe by the ice.  After the ice left Honey Bees re-colonised Europe, Honey Bees from North Western Africa moved back up into Western Europe, evolving into A.m.m., and other Honey Bees re-colonised Europe from the south east, and they evolved into the Carniolans, Italians, Caucasians etc..

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35 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

  It is a very hardy bee, 

 

I think that should be qualified a bit, they are certainly hardy at going through winter on the smell of an oily rag, and in dealing with bad weather.

 

But in terms of disease resistance, not so much.

Edited by Alastair
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Back before Varroa, when  our commercial bee stocks  were yellow, we faced a constant battle keeping our bees yellow.  The feral population  was pure black, pure A.m.m., there was no need to use the term type- they were as pure as they were when they were put on the ship in  England. The reason, I believe, is because of their african roots.  Like, A.m. scutellata, they had a distinct mating advantage over the ligustica type bees we had.  That ability let them readily hybridise our yellow bees, but keep themselves pure.  I know that back then,  if I put my hands up and walked away, and then came back three years later my bees would be black. That like everything else about our industry has changed, varroa burned through the feral A.m.m. devastating them, and now that I am working with a carnica type bee, if I walked away, and came back 3 years later, my bees would be yellow!

Edited by David Yanke
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1 hour ago, Jose Thayil said:

seems like bees introduced to the tropical islands are surviving with varroa. 

I've heard that the warmer weather reduces the length of the capped stage by a little bit. This in turn reduces the reproductive success of the mites by a fraction and that is enough to work in favour of the bees. 

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3 hours ago, David Yanke said:

Back before Varroa, when  our commercial bee stocks  were yellow, we faced a constant battle keeping our bees yellow.  The feral population  was pure black, pure A.m.m., there was no need to use the term type- they were as pure as they were when they were put on the ship in  England. The reason, I believe, is because of their african roots.  Like, A.m. scutellata, they had a distinct mating advantage over the ligustica type bees we had.  That ability let them readily hybridise our yellow bees, but keep themselves pure.  I know that back then,  if I put my hands up and walked away, and then came back three years later my bees would be black. That like everything else about our industry has changed, varroa burned through the feral A.m.m. devastating them, and now that I am working with a carnica type bee, if I walked away, and came back 3 years later, my bees would be yellow!

In 3 years my bees have all turned yellow.

I stared with a carniolan queen .

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53 minutes ago, tom sayn said:

am i mistaken or is cape bee the one that enters other hives and starts to lay eggs?

 

Yes. Cape beehives look and act pretty much the same as our bees (European Honey Bees, or EHB). But cape bees have 2 things that make them very dangerous to EHB. In EHB if the workers lay eggs they can only become males. But cape bees the workers lay eggs and the eggs can become female. The other problem is that cape bees have higher levels of pheremones than EHB. So if a worker cape bee drifts into a hive of EHB, the bees mistake her for a queen because of the higher pheremones. The cape worker eventually starts laying eggs which can be female and turn into more worker cape bees. These are also treated as queens and start laying eggs. There become more and more cape bees that think they are queens, and less and less normal bees to do the work, and eventually the hive crashes. If the hive is near other hives, some of these cape bees drift into other hives and do it again.

 

So if a cape be infestation is found in an apiary, the only solution is to kill the whole apiary. Luckily we do not have these bees in NZ.

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On 8/21/2017 at 9:59 PM, kaihoka said:

Why does varroa come back into a hive after its treated.

Is that because you only ever get 97% of the mites.

If your hive was isolated from other bees and you wiped out all the varroa in the hive why would it get more.?

I think varroa roughly double every 21 days. So if you have say 3% it doubles  to 6, 12, 24, 48, 96 and you've breed these new mites from your best ones you didn't kill last time ?  

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