feral vs breeder bees

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by barry42001, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I find it amazing atleast for two of our members, that bees that by any standard would be considered feral--were so increcibly gentle, but buy a package of " gentle bees" from a breeder, and when you go to open the hive up, have a bee suit on and smoker lit, legs taped shut, gloves and make absolutely sure the zipper on the veil is TOTALLY closed or the drawstrings to the veil is tight enough to ensure bees can't enter or surely they will try. Bees bouncing off the screen of the veil attacking the gloves--and all the while your trying to remember--the ad did say" gentle bees--bred for gentleness--or absolutley calm bees ". :chased: :chased: :chased: :hunter: :duel:
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    The two cut outs and the bee tree I got this year were very gentle in deed. The first cut out I took one to the back of the neck as I was setting up the scaffolding, but the were very understanding after that, did not even need much smoke. The second cut out was a swarm that had been there maybe two weeks, no problem from them. The bee tree was so gentle and still is, I went and trimmed it up with a chainsaw so that I could nail some boards on it and they just ignored me. The hive I got several years ago at the auction that I have never been into sits right beside the driveway, no problems there either.

    I had hot bees before and do not care for them at all, get within 30 yards and they were looking for you with a vengence.
     

  3. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Just goes to show you barry, that unless you are talking about AHBs the term feral as opposed to breeder bees isn't going to necassarily be an indicator of temperment. Besides, other than AHBs, there ain't much difference between feral and nonferal. Ferals are just unmanaged honeybees.
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    That was my take on the whole thing, but Bjorn set me straight on the matter. :thumbsup:

    G3
     
  5. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    A couple of weeks ago a woman asked me to remove some bees from her "outhouse". She wants to tear down the outhouse, but she doesn't want the bees to be "homeless". She said they are gentle and have been there for a couple of years. I suggested we leave them there for the winter and move them in the spring.

    She also said they are betweem the floor joists...try not to think too long about the floor joists of an outhouse. :doh: I hope she means "out building". I'll find out in the spring.

    Walt
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If it's an outhouse, just tear it down for her and load the floor onto a trailer. Problem solved.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a barry snip..
    I find it amazing

    tecumseh:
    bee's when left to themselves and without the selection pressure of beekeeper were likely quite a bit more ill temperatured than many folks might assume.

    I really consider a hive of bees to be a wild animal that the beekeeper has trapped in a little white box. almost any hive/wild animal is likely to be ill tempered from time to time. I do notice differences in disposition of hives somewhat based on the queen mother's breeding... although open mating can toss in a large variable. from what I have raise here the hygenics can be a bit fiesty, the bweaver queens somewhere in the middle and the cordovans sometimes a bit too docile. the cordovan's are without a doubt the prettiest bee god ever made.
     
  8. LilWilli

    LilWilli New Member

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    My ferals are seemingly gentle---until you mess with the hive. At that point, they are quite vigorous and capable of finding any opening you left whilst suiting up. :eek:
     
  9. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Kinda like that tiger that belongs or belonged to those two guys in Las Vegas?

    Have you been keeping bees very long? Do you know how to use a smoker? I'm asking 'cause I don't know what you know, not to put you down.

    Working bees w/ a smoker, wearing a veil and having a hive tool is only the start. Proper use of smoke and, for those w/ only a few hives, working them on a nice sunny day when a nectar flow is on can be very plesant and sting free. Experience is the key to knowing what you can do w/ your bees and when you can get away w/ not wearing a veil and gloves.

    I hate gloves. I don't like to use them. In most cases I'd rather take a few stings on the hands. Lately I have been using the nitrol gloves. They hold up okay.
     
  10. LilWilli

    LilWilli New Member

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    I'll just read and learn for a while. I am still a relative newbee, knowledge-wise, so I believe it would be best.
    Thanks
    Rick
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    LilWilli, I've got a bit of news for you. If the only ones posting were the ones who fully understood bees, no one but liars could post. We are all still learning daily. If you keep bees for 50 years, you still will get surprises every time you work them. Keep posting and don't worry about a few mistakes. When no mistakes are allowed, I will be the first one to have to quit posting, so jump right back in and have fun.
     
  12. LilWilli

    LilWilli New Member

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    All good points, Iddee...Thanks---I shall.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    iddee writes:
    When no mistakes are allowed, I will be the first one to have to quit posting, so jump right back in and have fun.

    tecumseh:
    and I will not be too far duckin' out the door behind iddee.

    almost 50 years ago when I popped my first cover and looked down into a hive of german black bees that my original mentor raised and saw this swirling mass of bees I told myself... you could look down there from now until the end of time and still have plenty to learn. I don't think I was too far from being correct about that.

    really lil' willie it is the exchange of ideas that's important. no one has all the answers and you never know when something someone says will SPARK an insight for someone else. such churning of ideas alway seemed to me to be quite unpredictable.
     
  14. LilWilli

    LilWilli New Member

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    It's all right now....I see what you mean, Iddee. :thumbsup:
     
  15. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Well i know it all my self. Wait a miniute what are they up to this time of year Oct? Hanging on the end of the stand like a swarm, then seeing me looking at them they take off and go into the hive sitting on the end of the stand.

    :shock: Guess I don't know it all after all.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  16. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    If this is in response to what I wrote, please don't take my remarks as critical. I try to be instructive, but I often fail at getting that across.

    There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers. If there are dumb questions, they are the ones not asked. Ask away.
     
  17. LilWilli

    LilWilli New Member

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    Thank you, guys. I really appreciate your comments. :thumbsup:
     
  18. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    A couple of questions...

    1) Are there truly 'feral' honeybees around? Since h.bees are not indigenous to the US, they all must have at some time or another been living under the care of a beekeeper, for generations. Given that, how many years of living 'in the wild' (in a tree, or inside the siding of someone's house, etc) does it take to consider a certain colony of bees to be 'feral'?
    Here I am assuming that 'being feral' is not a genetic thing, but rather simply describes whether said bees have been managed/housed by a human within a given number of years, right?

    2) Assuming one does not know where a swarm originated from....is there any way to tell whether they have been 'feral' for a long time or have in fact just come from someone else's bee hive a mile away only hours before?

    3) And if really on their own in the wild for many years, and then installed into a Lang hive, would feral bees likely be reluctant at first to build comb on standard size foundation? Might that reluctance be a clue as to how long they had been in the wild?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas about these various points.
    I'm having all these curious thoughts on this dark cold damp day, looking out at the snow and thinking bee thoughts...
     
  19. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Ask ten different beeks and you will get 12 different answers................just saying

    1. "I" consider feral to be a wild colony that has been on their own for at least a year.........over wintered. By own their own I mean with out any human intervention including feeding and drugs. I have a hive that I got when I bought a bunch of boxes and frames at an auction, a swarm had set up house inside of an empty deep and shallow box inside of a shed. I have never been through or into this hive with the exception of lifting the top cover off. Been about five or six years here in my yard. The box is so rotten I will have to do a cut out on them this spring.
    I say they are feral, Bjorn says not since I moved them from their original location, you decide.

    2. You can sort of judge by how much comb is built and how dark it is. I did a cut out this spring and it had some very black comb some of which was even abandoned, wax worm damage in some areas also, property owner said there had been bees in and out of the building for 30 years, who knows. Did another cut out and it was a fairly new swarm, only four or five new combs as big as a saucer and almost white.

    3. So far I have had a good success rate on cut outs and swarms taking to wax foundation. Most seem eager to start building comb especially if there is a flow on or you feed them a little, have to keep them busy.

    Just my take on it.

    G3
     
  20. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Thanks G3,

    In question #2 though, I meant a swarm, like hanging in a ball from a tree... not a colony with comb already built.