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No they are not feral.

Of course, one must understand what feral is to understand my rationale.
Among other things.....

Feral bees make their own comb. And that comb is far different than the straight lined comb we provide the bees by using frames. There are synergies at work that ferals build into comb in an open colony.

Feral bees make comb without the use of a comb pattern, as compared to the pattern we provide by foundation.

Feral bees select their home based on environmental items, like nectar sources, water, sun/shade, and other factors. Beekeepers force them into places they may not of selected.

Many chemicals have half life periods that make continual effects of chemicals a reality for many years after the stoppage of application. Are they still on that old comb? I'm not saying it is a problem, as they seem able to deal with any residue. I'm just suggesting that old comb is old comb and tainted comb is always tainted comb.

One of the problems is that people use terms such as wild, feral, survivors, unmanaged, and a host of other things. Many times, the idea of bees living in a shed with other managed hives in the area, as well as you taking them and placing them where you want them (with other colonies) destroys any notion that they have had "No human intervention". They may not be treated, they may not be "managed". But they have been infuenced by your human hands in many ways. It is hardly the same as a wild feral colony in the wild.

Do you have bees worth testing and selecting for breeding. Absolutely. They show many good qualities and can survive.

But they are not feral. And taking a colony to the location of your choiosing, keeping them in a beehive, in frames, on foundation pattern.....will never in my definition allow the use of "feral".
 

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Not feral.

Yes, you could suggest that due to changing their environment, and one that they have not selected, would be enough to change that.

But it goes deeper than that. In their own environment, they selected due to sun/shade issues, forage availability, and other factors.

But did you also just expose them to drift and contact with other hives? Mite pressure alone could make all the difference in just the transfer of forage bees and drifting of drones on increased levels by close quarters to other bees. In the wild, a quarter mile or more may be the distance between hives. Disease transfer (bacterial and viral), mite transfer, and other factors detrimental to the hive, is completely changed and influenced by you the beekeeper. Just because you did not open the branch up does not mean you did not influence colony health. (I should point out that I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I'm just explaining the definition of feral and the possible impacts of our actions)

Feral bees are unmanaged. They selected their home by instinct, and built in survival skills. Studies clearly show they travel a distance from the original colony when swarming, select new cavities based on sun/shade, predator protection, and other factors. Once you moved them, all that changes, whether you opened them up or not. You may not of managed them as a traditional hive, but you did (or continue to) manage them on some level.
 
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