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Apihappy

Advice on aggressive hives please

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20 hours ago, Bighands said:

I worked it all last season with no gloves veil or smoke and no stings at all so in my opinion bees that are mongrels will be defensive.


one hive is not really an indication of the behaviour of AMM bees over all.

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On 18/11/2019 at 2:50 PM, Apihappy said:

I think these bees came from Gt Barrier island and after reading up on bee species, they are possibly Italian x German or apis melifera melifera, apparently both species are pretty chill but together, 💥

There is one guy breeding black bees in the okupu area. They can be pretty aggressive. 

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Thanks, good info.

 

Have you taken a look at Michael Palmer? He is in a tough wintering environment in Vermont, but has developed a method for his operation he calls the "sustainable apiary". He has figured out how to not buy packages, and although he is a one man honey producing operation, he also produces enough spare bees to sell around 600 nucs each year.

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These anti varroa success stories from overseas are depressing.

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18 minutes ago, G Przybylski said:

Sad to hear you feel that way, yesbut from Nelson.

 

LOL there is a slight misunderstanding here. He is not depressed you are having success. He is pleased for you, and wishing we could do it here. Bit like when your teenager sees something they really like, and say "hey that's sick". 🙂

 

18 minutes ago, G Przybylski said:

Please excuse my ranting.  It's presumptuous for someone from across the pond to tell beekeepers how to keep bees.

 

No worries. You are certainly not the first, and no doubt will not be the last. Perspective tends to change if they actually come here and try it.

 

18 minutes ago, G Przybylski said:

Please tell me how I'm full of it.  (s*#!, I mean)

Please tell me why this is too hard to do,  and what obstacles are insurmountable, and where I'm misunderstanding my observations.

 

Sure. Without writing a whole thesis on it, I can run through some quick basics. Many have tried, and failed.

 

Here in NZ we have the densest bee population in the world. We have around a million kept hives, in a country the size of one American state. It is not possible except in some vary rare cases, to get completely away from literally hordes of drones from a multitude of other beekeepers hives.

 

Other biggy is genetics. In the US, although most bee imports are banned now, for most of 400 years bees have been imported willy nilly, from every corner of the globe. The available genetic diversity is immense. It should not be a surprise that out of all that, after the initial varroa induced wipeout of feral hives, that there were a few feral hives somewhere, that had the inherant ability to find a way to survive. And once established, were not exposed to overwhelming numbers of other bees drones, to dilute the trait back out of them. Not so here, very limited genetics have been imported.

Edited by Alastair
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I think your group has the right approach and wish you every success. Don't think we haven't been trying to breed resistance in New Zealand. People have been and are working on the problem. If I had an area I could breed resistant queens I would and I would consider 50% losses to be acceptable to achieve this but in New Zealand at the moment that is never going to happen. I still think you would be better  off breeding from your best hives and do be careful not to select for one thing exclusively. We could overcome varoa with one importation of African bees but the cure would be worse than the disease. I have friends in Canada who import queens from Hawaii and then wonder why they don't survive the winter. If you want to try some new genetics to deal with a problem then always get you're queens from somewhere where the problem is worse than where you are.

 

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On ‎20‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 12:05 AM, Alastair said:

When the beekeepers are not buying packages any more, I'll know these "local" bees are living up to the hype.

It might be the beekeepers who aren't living up to the hype.

 

On ‎19‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 9:52 AM, Bighands said:

am trying to keep the AMM breed alive.I have a pure Amm which mated pure I think.

Right now in Canterbury we are trying to keep our bees alive!  Our dearth at the beginning of November has gone into extension mode!  Beekeepers not onto it will get caught out.

When I state Canterbury, I refer to the Plains.

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11 hours ago, Maggie James said:

Right now in Canterbury we are trying to keep our bees alive!  Our dearth at the beginning of November has gone into extension mode!  Beekeepers not onto it will get caught out.

When I state Canterbury, I refer to the Plains.

What is different this yr .

What were the bees feeding on and what are you expecting to come on next .?

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5 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

What is different this yr .

What were the bees feeding on and what are you expecting to come on next .?

When I tootled all over Canty & Otago & Sthld the last few days I saw no forage at all. This time last year all the southland flaxes for example were in full glorious

flower. This year, no stems yet.

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

When I tootled all over Canty & Otago & Sthld the last few days I saw no forage at all. This time last year all the southland flaxes for example were in full glorious

flower. This year, no stems yet.

What about clover , is it too early .?

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2 hours ago, kaihoka said:

What is different this yr .

What were the bees feeding on and what are you expecting to come on next .?

On the Plains we traditionally have a dearth the first two weeks of November, and have to be vigilant about feed.  Sept our main flow is willow, followed by dandelion late Oct.  Then brassicas from mid Nov.  This Oct & Nov we have had hail & sleet on and off most weeks; consequently everything one month behind.  Because of dairying expansion, the green "desert" is expanding, there is more sheep this year and the pastures are luxurious and weed free due to agri practises, the last couple of summers have had intense heat and as a consequence this is conducive to grain production which is of no use to bees.  There is some clover production, but not yet flowering, and there are a lot of beans and peas this year and these aren't great for bees.  Due to weather conditions there will be no blackcurrant honey.  Today is going to be hot, and I have come in to get rehydrated.   

 

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On 15/11/2019 at 2:50 AM, M4tt said:

I don’t know what to make of this post .

 

Is it an ad ? 

Quite often the simplest of things are the problem.  Its easy to blame the bees, and once you have checked out the obvious then sure try re-queening if you believe that is the problem.  There are no rules in beekeeping except those supported by our own observations.  We mentor several beekeepers in our village and Toby's bees will chase him round the garden but my buddy checks  the same bees with just a veil.  The point about the Intrance is that we have forced on the bees a house we would live in. Walking in on the ground floor.  Is that really what they want? as no where have i seen a picture in the wild of a bottom entrance for honey bees, only for hornets and wasps.  perhaps someone has one?

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If you need a pic, sure, here's one that was posted on Facebook just a few days ago. The interesting thing here is that in the wall cavity, the bees could have had their nest above or below the entrance, they chose to have it above.

 

 

bottom entrance.JPG

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Yes.  Here is another one.  Entrance way was at the bottom right corner.

Bees are opportunists and will use whatever is available.

 

 

20191011_094206.jpg

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Perhaps ours use bottom entrance as they are on the bottom side of the equator, and upper side use top?

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That's clearly it. We are upside down over here. 😄

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On 21/11/2019 at 3:35 PM, Alastair said:

 

 

Other biggy is genetics. In the US, although most bee imports are banned now, for most of 400 years bees have been imported willy nilly, from every corner of the globe. The available genetic diversity is immense. It should not be a surprise that out of all that, after the initial varroa induced wipeout of feral hives, that there were a few feral hives somewhere, that had the inherant ability to find a way to survive. And once established, were not exposed to overwhelming numbers of other bees drones, to dilute the trait back out of them. Not so here, very limited genetics have been imported.

The USA had great difficulties with genetic diversity in relative recent times, we were fortunate to have met Megan Taylor a PhD student who had participated in identifying the demise of genetic diversity in the Queen breeding population relatively recently.   The research looked at the comparison of USA genes compared to old world bees, the decline was massive and extremely serious leading to the import of germplasm from old world bees to inseminate local queens.  Her earlier studies concluded "Although we tried to sample as many queen producers as possible, we were limited to the major queen producers of the western United States.  Being able to sample other queen producers from around the country (the southeast in particular) would provide a more complete picture of the diversity.  Secondly, there are several countries that currently have honey bees to support their agricultural system, yet these honey bees were not native.  Assessing levels of genetic diversity of honey bees from other countries where honey bees are not native (Australia, Canada, Chile, Brazil, etc…) would provide additional knowledge of the genetic diversity of honey bees globally.  How would these countries compare to the diversity of honey bees in the United States?  Could the incorporation of Old World germplasm improve their stocks? There are many new questions left to be answered."   https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/gw14-011/

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Sure, I am familiar with that study and others like it, and we are in fact barking up the same tree.

 

In my post i should have said "The available pre varroa genetic diversity was immense". Because what we are talking about here is the available genetic material when varroa arrived.

 

The studies bemoaning narrow genetic diversity are usually referencing that of commercially raised queens. However the "feral bees" that G Przybylski and others talk about are not commercially raised queens. When varroa first arrived in the USA, there was a massive wild (feral) population of bees, with massive genetic diversity. Varroa mites swept through, exterminating nearly all of them. All non varroa resistant genetics was wiped out, considerably narrowing the genetic diversity. The survivors though, have genetics that allow them to exist in the presence of varroa mites, without interferance from humans.

 

That a race, or several races, of varroa tolerant bees have developed in the wild in the USA, is due to the huge amount of genetic diversity available when varroa first struck, that allowed these races to develop.

Edited by Alastair
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2 hours ago, Alastair said:

In my post i should have said "The available pre varroa genetic diversity was immense". Because what we are talking about here is the available genetic material when varroa arrived.

Thank you point clarified.

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