Killer Bees

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Charles, May 2, 2009.

  1. Charles

    Charles New Member

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  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I always cringe when something like this comes out. But this was done very well.

    It did mention that killer bees "earned" their reputations. I do not think so. We labeled them ourselves as such.

    Did you know that since coming to the states, less than 1 person per year dies directly from AHB's? More people die every year driving to pick up their lottery tickets. ;)

    I don't want to minimalize the danger. But I do think the hype is way overblown.

    One of the danger to beekeepers is the loss of genetic pools of other type bees as AHB move into new areas.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They've been in Brazil since the fifties. If they are so dangerous, why aren't more people dieing from them down there. The Brazilian beeks that I have seen post on forums like them better than europeans. They don't want the europeans back.
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    They can not have them back... ;) Even if they wanted them.

    You need to see the larger picture iddee.

    1) It took 50 years for them to achieve a strain of AHB worth keeping.

    2) AHB eliminates all other genetics in any given area.

    Based on the above, you can actually see that AHB may be worth propagating or controlling from a commercial basis. But it's not like those in south America have a choice of keeping other type bees. You keep all AHB out or you keep nothing but AHB's. It's that simple.

    In the world of gentics, you want diversity and options. When you limit yourself to one strain of bee, you also set yourself up to allow one viral or bacterial outbreak to wipe them out. Right now, in any given area, you can keep italians, carni, russians, in the same yard. Both independently and as hybrids. But having those different strains allows the bee industry as a whole to select for various qualities, certain genetics to handle certain disease, etc.

    Once AHB are in an area, all other bee strains and genetics are systematically eliminated. And that is both domestic and feral stock. Who knows which strain may be better to deal with future viral mutations? Having as much of a diverse genetic pool to draw from is the best option we have.

    I think there are many qualities that we may want from AHB. And with the genome, and future ability to select DNA elements, and even suppress others, we will no doubt benefit from AHB. But that is for the future.

    What AHB are doing now, is eliminating or diminishing the genetic pool, limiting beekeepers due to zoning and regulation, etc.

    To say that south American beekeepers do not want EHB's, is a bit misleading. They do not want them, in a twisted way of promoting their own destiny, since they can not keep EHB even if they wanted. And to bring in EHB's would allow hybridization, and destroy everything they have acheived in the past 50 years.

    When ever you limit genetic selection or only propogate one or two strains of anything, nature will bite you in the butt. Why did millions die in the potato famine? Becuase leading up to it, farming focused on planting only two types of potatoes. Both susceptable to the disease. Other types of potatoes were known, and many were resistant. But people only saw the benefits of one type of potatoes and propogated this one line and it accounted for over 95% of all the potatoe production. And a single disease wiped out that stock, millions died, and a valuable lesson was learned.

    Having one bee strain will allow the same type scenario to play out. Nature keep bee strains seperate by barriers such as oceans, mountains, etc. Man breaks these barriers down, and allows unnatural events to happen. Some think AHB may be the answer to many problems. But due to what you lose (genetics), and by placing all your eggs in the same basket, you set yourself up for a tremendous fall.
     
  5. PCM_old

    PCM_old New Member

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    WE live in the " FEAR GENERATION " :(

    Every one is worring about this minor thing or that minor thing , and how it's going to possibly affect our lives.

    So many of the new beeks now a days, I believe are not geting into it for the hobby/enjoyment but to save the world, they will be out of it in a year or two.

    Our small hospital emergency room has been over run with healthy people coming in and saying they have the "swine flu", not one case so far !

    My wife friend actually told her, she was constantly concerned about the possibility of her cell phone batteries running down { she isn't in business, just a BSer }

    Ok,I got to go there is a cloud in the sky,radar dosen't show any thing but you never know, could bring a lighting storm, I'm going to unplug all my electrical things, worry, worry, worry !!

    I'll just have breakfast while waiting for this storm to come, of course you all know about the bad things in milk,eggs,& pork !!

    AND this KILLER BEE thing, a question ?
    How come Brazil & Mexico are major exporters of honey ?

    Have fun but watch out, you never know whats out there !!

    PCM
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I could believe you, but for one minor detail. I do not believe there in one non-hybrid bee in the USA. They are already so mixed, we will never have a pure breed of honey bee again, unless someone finds an isolated strain on some island or in some jungle or dessert. Then it won't be pure for more than a year or two when brought here.
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    How true.

    And there is a push to isolate and keep as pure as possible the remaining genetic lines. That would be in our interest. Malcolm Sanford has some good ideas (but no funding).

    Just becuase we have a hybrid bee in the states, does not change anything I said. So what if we have hybrids already? So we should just accept that as a reason to destroy what we do have in terms of the existing diversity, becuase it's less than 100% pure, by allowing AHB's to take over.

    As I said, when AHBs move in, everything else gets pushed out. Domestic and feral. The gene pool diminshes. Yes, we have done a poor job as beekeepers in doing this ourselves, but I see no reason to quicken that destruction of existing gene diversity by promoting and spreading AHBs.

    We may have hybrids, but the seperation of italians, russian, carni, etc., can still be clearly seen and genetically proven. Once AHB's take over an area, that stops being true. I can see a difference between a wooten golden Italian and a Strachens NWC. One day, that may not be true. That is why having groups such as the russian bee breeders association (even though I disagree with many things they do) as well as breeders in other areas, without the pressures of AHB, will be important in the future. Not only to allow beekeepers to buy non-AHB bees, but to keep that diverse gene pool going to select against possible future problems.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Africanized Honey Bee......

    African Honey Bee.......

    It may be a wrong assumption, but I get the idea you think they are one and the same.
    I think they are entirely different bees.

    I don't think the AHB in Fla. is the same bee as the AHB in Ca. Different percentages of different bees make for totally different bees. The hybrids the US ends with will have to be monitored and the bad hives weeded out, the same as we have done for many years already. There are mean hybrids of Europeans as well as Africanized. We will have to requeen mean hives with gentler queens, which we do now.

    PS. If I thought there was a chance to keep them out, I would be all for it. That has been proven to be a fallacy, so now I am planning the best course of action when they are here.