Are Buckfast F2+ bees more aggressive?

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ugcheleuce 

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Hello everyone

I've heard the "wisdom" that Buckfast bees should be requeened regularly with F1 queens, because F2 and daughter-of-F2 Buckfast queens produce very aggressive bees. However, I can't find any authoritative resources on the web that say so.

Have you heard this "fact" yourself? Do you have extensive experience with Buckfast and can you confirm it from your experience? Do you know of any study and/or well-known beekeeping resource that says so?

The story I've heard is that F2, F4, F8 etc queens from Carnica and Ligustica don't produce bees that are any more aggressive or lose much of the favourable qualities of the original F1 queen, but that with Buckfast it is different.

Thanks
Samuel
 
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MuswellMetro 

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My F3 buckfasts are ok but I hAve had bad matings of lugustic F3 and horrific lugistica f4 so it depends on your local gene pool of drone. Here is London what your queen mates with is just a lottery. No chance of getting a stable drone pool




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Little John 

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The story I've heard is that F2, F4, F8 etc queens from Carnica and Ligustica don't produce bees that are any more aggressive or lose much of the favourable qualities of the original F1 queen, but that with Buckfast it is different.
Can't comment on Buckfast specifically - but bear in mind that the Buckfast is already an AMM cross (!) - but I'd very much agree with the following comments:
Apis mellifera mellifera:
"Neither dark or Italian bees are considered to be aggressive however the hybrids of the two are often aggressive by nature causing beekeepers to spend much time and effort in developing and maintaining non-aggressive gene pools."

Apis mellifera carnica:
"Daughter queens resulting from cross-breeding with local strains can be particularly aggressive."

http://barnsleybeekeepers.org.uk/species.html
I've emphasised the second comment, as I've first-hand experience of this. Such crosses can make for very productive colonies and hardy survivors, but they need to be handled wearing full armour.

LJ
 

ugcheleuce 

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I'd very much agree with the following comments:
"Daughter queens [of Apis mellifera carnica] resulting from cross-breeding with local strains can be particularly aggressive."
http://barnsleybeekeepers.org.uk/species.html
Something just occurred to me -- it says "local strains". I assume that means local feral bees and not simply "bees from other apiaries".

Here in the Netherlands it is said that we have practically no original, wild, black bees left, and that 99% of "wild" bees found in this country are historically non-local (e.g. Carnica or Ligustica). As a beekeeper you can assume that there are no feral colonies in the Netherlands, and that for all practical purposes any swarm you see can be assumed to have flown from a beekeeper's hive.

I gather that the situation is much different in Germany (where some of the comments about aggressiveness in cross breeds come from). A lot of the comments about this also come from the UK (and from older books from the US). So, what is the situation in the UK? When a site such as Barnsley's say "local strains", does it mean feral "British" bees or does it simply mean "any F2 bee in the area"?

I'm painfully aware that what is fact in one country may be fiction in another, due to climate differences and other differences. Could it therefore be that these "facts" do not apply to the Netherlands, because we don't have "local strains" like the Germans do?

Samuel
 

Little John 

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As a beekeeper you can assume that there are no feral colonies in the Netherlands, and that for all practical purposes any swarm you see can be assumed to have flown from a beekeeper's hive.
Hi Samuel

I think that beekeeping has being going on for such a long time now, that the idea of a truly 'feral' colony must be one of fiction - and that all colonies which might now be described as being 'feral' have, at least at some point - originated from someone's hive - and that the term 'feral' has come to mean "established colonies of bees that are not under anyone's control."

what is the situation in the UK? When a site such as Barnsley's say "local strains", does it mean feral "British" bees or does it simply mean "any F2 bee in the area"?
I read that as meaning "mongrel bees of unknown parentage from an unknown location" i.e. whatever drones happen to be in the air on the day of mating.

Could it therefore be that these "facts" do not apply to the Netherlands, because we don't have "local strains" like the Germans do?
My understanding (rightly or wrongly) is that at one time the Germans tried to stop imports, and settled on the Carnica as being 'their' bee - but the good old AMM (which is actually native to Germany) wouldn't lie down and accept that it was either extinct, or unwanted. Bad choice, in retrospect.

In Britain, it's been 'open house' for importations of whatever bees you happen to fancy for ages ... hence we're in the mess we are now.
I think we can blame Brother Adam for starting this trend - people seem to have overlooked that Buckfast Abbey is run as a profit-making enterprise, and it was in their commerical interest to declare AMM as being extinct - which it certainly wasn't. Totally decimated, sure, but not extinct.

It's difficult to generalise about 'local bees' in Britain, as the recent Co-op/BIBBA survey has shown: the concentration of AMM genetics varying very widely across the country.

LJ
 

madasafish 

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In Britain, it's been 'open house' for importations of whatever bees you happen to fancy for ages ... hence we're in the mess we are now.
............
LJ

Mess?

I don't recognise that.. A mix of breeds ? Yes.
 

Little John 

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Mess?

I don't recognise that.. A mix of breeds ? Yes.
Mess ? I think so.

Hence the posts on aggression (or over-defensiveness) ...
Hence the search for rare isolated mating areas, or resorting to AI.

Those who wish to breed for specific traits are at the mercy of any neighbour who fancies keeping a different strain of bee - as there's no law against it. Well - except on Colonsay.

With the current situation a beekeeper could spend a whole life-time fostering a gentle gene-pool only for it to be ruined in one season by someone close by with an imported queen. I'd say that was a mess.

There is a reason why evolution has created bee types with specific characteristics within certain areas of the world. The Black Bee is native to Germany, Britain, Ireland etc. precisely because it's style of behaviour gives it an advantage over Mediterranean bees with our uncertain and at times very unpleasant weather. Importing bees from all over the world, as B. Adam did, in order to produce a bee with characteristics which suit the criteria of human beings has negated the results of millions of years of evolution.

LJ
 

clv101 

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Anecdotally, my parents had a buckfast a few years ago and the 2nd generation were exceptionally aggressive. What had been a couple of garden hives for a decade - had to be moved offsite.
 

Apple 

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Mess ? I think so.

Hence the posts on aggression (or over-defensiveness) ...
Hence the search for rare isolated mating areas, or resorting to AI.

Those who wish to breed for specific traits are at the mercy of any neighbour who fancies keeping a different strain of bee - as there's no law against it. Well - except on Colonsay.

With the current situation a beekeeper could spend a whole life-time fostering a gentle gene-pool only for it to be ruined in one season by someone close by with an imported queen. I'd say that was a mess.

There is a reason why evolution has created bee types with specific characteristics within certain areas of the world. The Black Bee is native to Germany, Britain, Ireland etc. precisely because it's style of behaviour gives it an advantage over Mediterranean bees with our uncertain and at times very unpleasant weather. Importing bees from all over the world, as B. Adam did, in order to produce a bee with characteristics which suit the criteria of human beings has negated the results of millions of years of evolution.

LJ
:iagree:

Also having studied the Abbey Hybridisation programme of the last century quite closely, I have come to the conclusion that the hybrid , as it was, per - se, can no longer exist, except by some as a fond memory, somewhat like the long hot summers!

Hybrids of the L or C with M types of honeybee do seem ( possibly anecdotally) to give an aggressive outcome.

James
 

Stiffy 

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A lot depends on were you get your queens from, I am on 4th and 5th generation Buckies and have very few problems but I do cull out any that start to show any excessive aggressiveness. Indeed I have had other strains and had a lot more problems with defensiveness and lack of vigour than I get now.
S
 

Queens59 

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YES - Pure and simple - have a lot to do with Buckfast and we have found that hives are more aggressive at this breed level
 

Stiffy 

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YES - Pure and simple - have a lot to do with Buckfast and we have found that hives are more aggressive at this breed level
Even more pure and simple -have had a lot to do with AMM and Carnies and found so called AMM are the most aggressive at any level.
Carnies have been nice and gentle but not productive enough as they tried to swarm at the drop of a hat.
Now like a growing number of other beekeepers I keep good quality buckfast and now have some on 5th gen with few problems. I will be buying in some new breeder queens as my 5th gens bees are starting to pick up some undesirable traits from the local hooligans, not too bad yet but needs breeding out.
There are good and bad queen breeders out there and some so called Buckfast are little more than local bees with all the usual problems. A good Buckfast breeder will follow the methods of BA and be able to tell you the history of their stock.
Its very easy to start blaiming something new instead of looking at what is actually happening and correct it.
Will now sit back and wait for the AMM Al-Qaeda to come riding over the hill on their high horse
S



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mbc 

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I have some amm bees 5 generations under my eye, over 20 years! I imagine 5 generations of buckies would occur over a much shorter time span, that tells its own story.
 

Teemore 

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Another beekeeper and I have the genesis of a queen rearing group in Armagh. I started grafting last night from a queen sourced from a member of the Galtee Bee Breeders Group - an AMM queen from a strain/queen line I have found to be productive and easy to work with over the past few years.

We had 7 members of the group in the apiary and they saw and helped me check through some hives - including the one being used for queen rearing which is/was on double brood with a couple of supers (another one will soon be needed...). A Cloake Board is in place to facilitate cell starting.
The "guests" were a little worried when someone noticed that one of my nitrile gloves had split across the palm and were pleasantly surprised that I was unconcerned about this and that I picked up no stings. All commented about how placid the bees were.

In contrast, several of the group members have bees that currently require them to wear full bee suits (with jumpers underneath) and heavy gloves when they go to check on them. In their words, their colonies have a real mix of yellow and orange bees but their real problem lies with neighbouring "let alone" beekeepers who make no attempt to improve their stocks or to breed/buy well tempered bees. They know only bad tempered bees and think they should all be like that. There will be a concerted effort to interact with those neighbours in positive fashion and help them develop colonies with improved temperament.

My experience of AMM is positive. My experience of AMM out crosses is also positive. I tend to get obvious out crosses if I leave queens to get mated in one particular out apiary but the simple fact that I select for good temperament as do the other beekeepers close to that apiary, seems to ensure that even AMM out crossings retain a good temperament. Much in beekeeping depends on your neighbouring beekeepers.
 
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Stiffy 

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Another beekeeper and I have the genesis of a queen rearing group in Armagh. I started grafting last night from a queen sourced from a member of the Galtee Bee Breeders Group - an AMM queen from a strain/queen line I have found to be productive and easy to work with over the past few years.

We had 7 members of the group in the apiary and they saw and helped me check through some hives - including the one being used for queen rearing which is/was on double brood with a couple of supers (another one will soon be needed...). A Cloake Board is in place to facilitate cell starting.
The "guests" were a little worried when someone noticed that one of my nitrile gloves had split across the palm and were pleasantly surprised that I was unconcerned about this and that I picked up no stings. All commented about how placid the bees were.

In contrast, several of the group members have bees that currently require them to wear full bee suits (with jumpers underneath) and heavy gloves when they go to check on them. In their words, their colonies have a real mix of yellow and orange bees but their real problem lies with neighbouring "let alone" beekeepers who make no attempt to improve their stocks or to breed/buy well tempered bees. They know only bad tempered bees and think they should all be like that. There will be a concerted effort to interact with those neighbours in positive fashion and help them develop colonies with improved temperament.

My experience of AMM is positive. My experience of AMM out crosses is also positive. I tend to get obvious out crosses if I leave queens to get mated in one particular out apiary but the simple fact that I select for good temperament as do the other beekeepers close to that apiary, seems to ensure that even AMM out crossings retain a good temperament. Much in beekeeping depends on your neighbouring beekeepers.
The AMM I had came from Galtee stock and were initially okay but when crossed with the local Cornish AMM in my area turned into a nightmare and you couldn't get within 100m of the hives before being attacked...... and I mean REALLY ATTACKED!!

I think you have hit the nail on the head, everyone should be selecting for temperament as a priority and culling any that show signs of aggression.
S
 

Elaine 

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I started out with a Buckfast queen, and her daughters have mated with whatever is around the local area. I am now into my 4th season, and have never (touch wood!) had an agressive colony, and never had to do any form of selection.
 

Apple 

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I think you have hit the nail on the head, everyone should be selecting for temperament as a priority and culling any that show signs of aggression.

Quite so.

Our localised bees are dark and have a negative discoidal shift on the wing morphometry, I have only had cases of aggression when a chap near to me imported some yellow bees. He has the misfortune to suffer EFB in his few colonies, and lost the lot in 2003, never thankfully to restart ( as many in this area of Devon have done) and is now breeding pygmy goats!

Nobody should put up with aggressive bees, whatever make they are.

James
 

melias 

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Aggressive Buckfast progeny

I started with purchased Buckfast queens some years ago. They were a pleasure to work with. I'm now on my 3rd generation of queens and some of the colonies are so aggressive that they actually seem to hunt down members of my family at distances up to 100 feet from the hive. I'm in the process of re-queening with the gentlest Buckfast's I could find. Can't wait for the aggressive bees to die out.
 

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