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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
years ago when varroa first came on the scene it was estimated it would wipe out the entire feral bee population and the only thing left would bee hives kept by keepers. Varroa put a huge dent into the feral population along with those kept by keepers. At the last kshpa meeting there was a discussion on the come back of feral bees and how they are surviving. Studies show the feral bees are learning how to deal with the varroa. They went on to say hives kept by beekeeps that are treating the bees are not learning to deal with them thus when they are not treated varroa will eventually ovetake the hive. I dont treat but I think that one thing the bees in the wild have going for them is the break in the brood cycle when they swarm. when takeing care of hives and not treating doing splits and letting them make there own queen gives them the same break in the cycle as if they had swarmed. Does anyone have a different take on this.
 

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I think they did wipe out the feral hives, and if not for beekeeper's hives swarming, I don't think there would be any ferals. I do agree that the bees are becoming more resistant with each generation, but treating was the only thing that kept them alive long enough to build that resistance.
 

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Iddee, i'm not so sure, up north around the Big Sac river there are no beekeepers where i now keep bees. I know most people in a 5 mile radius and have ask them if they know of any beekeepers around and they don't. I don't remember not seeing bees when i'm in the area and they say they have never remembered not seeing bees in the summer? Jack
 

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When is the last time you have seen a colony of the little black German bee that was so prevalent before the mite came along?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
around these parts I have never seen the german black bee. But id have to agree with if they had not treated we would have been wiped out totally. My belief is a lot of the bee supply houses push chemicals that are not really needed if a keep would want to change his practices. I have kept up to 70 hives i have done some combines and had winter losses over the last 5 years bringing me down to 30 hives. Most hives I have are over 3 years old. and thriving. This is the stock i am wanting to build from.
 

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>>>>My belief is a lot of the bee supply houses push chemicals that are not really needed<<<<

Ever been in a health food store? :eek: :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Iddee said:
>>>>My belief is a lot of the bee supply houses push chemicals that are not really needed<<<<

Ever been in a health food store? :eek: :D

nope cant say that I have. To busy going to funerals of friends who did. :D
 

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A friend of mine, really , it's not me, swears by Apistand strip, which we thought the mites had become resistant to. He claims that the colonies that make it to spring are always the ones that he has left Apistan strips in, year after year. So, I'm not real sure what that says.
 

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The little german black bee is probably still around but in a different form. Like in the sixties when i took midnight bees to this area ( Big Sac river, St. Clair Co. Mo.). A relative farmer who owns a big river bottom farm 2 miles west of where i had my bees, had a beekeeper come every year and ask if he could put hives on his farm just before the sumac bloom (a 100 hives or more) this was in the 60's 70's and 80's. What i'm thinking is the drones from my hives and this other beekeeper and other beekeepers in the area at that time mixed with the german black bees, and what i see and the people who live there are a Italian looking bee that is smaller and darker than the italian bees we buy from our bee supply companies today. Jack

P.S. sumac and sweet clover blooms here at the same time.The beekeeper gave Albert a gallon of honey for letting him set up.
 

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I think you are right, but I imagine the bees in the wild there today are descendants of your and the other beeks hives. I don't think there is much evidence that the German bee made it in the wild during the 90's.
 

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My neighbor ran six hundred hives of german black bees up until the mid eighties and he still has piles of equipment stacked around his honey house that hasn't been touched in years... Every stinkin' time I let a queen open mate in my home yard I get at least a month or two of little black monsters.
He's a miserable old cuss to deal with so I'll wait a few years and ask the family if I can go through whats back there. I know of at least three boomers.
And no, I'm not heartless... We take him dinner a few nights a month and I wait till he's gone and then spray roundup around anything that might start a fire. :wave:
 

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I suspect that some of the northern european bees (like the german black bee... apis mellifera mellifera) demise was a one two punch first by the t mites followed by the varroa.

Brother Adam made some comments in reflection on the Isle of Wright Disease long ago in England that some of the darker bees just didn't fare too well. Based on these comments (observation in regards to what survived and what didn't) and what we now know in regards to genetics it appears some of the southern European bees may have been exposed to t mites long ago. The current wave of genetics information also suggest there may be genetic flags or markers that indicate resistance to varroa (or at least thats what I have been told).

a sqkcrk snip:
A friend of mine, really , it's not me, swears by Apistand strip, which we thought the mites had become resistant to.

tecumseh:
my take: Not all varroa are resistant but in a matter of time resistance + the tainted wax in the hive will accomplish what the varroa was attempting to do in the first place. in this particular case the varroa will have some beekeeper assistance. anyone who thinks that CCD was not at least partially attributable to insecticides added to the hive by beekeepers is likely subject to serious self denial.
 

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After my experience with the german black bees back in the sixties, i wouldn't give any living thing a chance to survive that entered their hive unless it was a disease. After my midnight bees swarmed, superseded and mated with the black german drones, i don't think the AHB could be much meaner. When i worked them you couldn't walk within 200 ft. of there hives for three or four days without getting attacked. I now know why my dad and uncles waited till it was cold and miserable before cutting and robbing bee trees along the river. Next year i'm going to set out some swarm traps along the river and see what i come up with. :confused: Jack
 

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you know Jack my original mentor in West Virginia raised German black bees. They were just as you described... vengeful little beast and would require days to settle back down after any kind of manipulation. That early lesson (I think I was 12) directed me towards the Italians.

I do think trapping of feral populations could provide some interesting genetic material in the intermediate run. I have though some program of beelining/bee trapping might be an interesting topic to get the bee club folks interested in...
 

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Iddee said:
I think they did wipe out the feral hives, and if not for beekeeper's hives swarming, I don't think there would be any ferals. I do agree that the bees are becoming more resistant with each generation, but treating was the only thing that kept them alive long enough to build that resistance.
Very accurate and well put IMHO. The feral bee hives I have run across (rarely) are very different looking than our Italians. They are smaller, darker in color and, if I had to bet a Yoo-Hoo on it, are more hygienic. I plan on using them as a way to increase the genetic diversity in my apiary and will hopefully take a treatment free plunge next year with a survival of the fittest test. I will incorporate splits however if this is considered a "treatment"
Howard
Hampstead, NC
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
challenger this is exactly what i have done I bought bees picked up swarms did cutouts and didnt treat. I had heavy losses on the bees that I have bought but bees from swarms and cutouts are booming and my numbers are comming up doing splits.
 
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