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Boston Bees 

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Please provide proof of the above assertion.

My local bees would prove you totally wrong. But maybe I just imagined the following and the stings :cool: :cool:

But of course if you know my local bees better than me, I bow to your superior knowledge.
Sigh.

Did you miss the "IMHO" in my original post, or are you just being argumentative? The "O" stands for "opinion", not assertion. The "H" stands for "humble". It's a belief based on long experience of observing a almost complete lack of difference (on average) between bees I have collected as swarms (mostly from tree colonies), and bees I have bought, or split from existing colonies.

Certainly I have noticed no difference in aggression.

You had some bees follow you. Fine. Is that "proof" that "wild" bees are more aggressive than managed colonies?

None of us has "proof". This is beekeeping, not maths. We have experience.

But an addition to my personal experience my logic is that, based on the extensive interchange of bees (and genes, via open mating) between managed and non-managed locations, it seems implausible that there is a significant difference, on average, between the characteristics of these two populations nationwide. It would be like discovering a significant genetic difference between people living in Manchester and Liverpool, despite the fact that people move between those two cities all the time and have done for hundreds of years. If I alleged that there was no significant difference between these two groups of people, would you demand I proved it scientifically? Or would the burden of proof be the other way round?
 
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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Why should requeening with Buckfast give you and your neighbours angry F2 crosses for a year or two??
And why the obsession with requeening with Buckfasts anyway? you can requeen with any variety, even with queens bred from that colony.
The point of sustainable beekeeping is to not have your colonies die out every few years
 

Apple 

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I can see the problem in Oxonbees area is possibly that there are a lot of beekeepers keeping swarmy ( and possibly encouraging) bees and apparently a lot of feral sites, probably also beekeepers following the BBKA mantra of requeening every two years and thus importing even more genetic material into an area already suffering from mismanagement stress is making the problem worse.

These problems can be managed, firstly start working towards a bee improvement program... selecting from the best and culling the worst.
Get rid of all the feral bee nest sites, destroy and foam up the entrances... escaped Buckfast and Carniolian bees will produce drones and cause problems to any bee improvement you are attempting.

Two other points... wing morphometry alone only gives an indication of race... only DNA analyses can give a definitive answer for any one queen ( colony)

There are no WILD bees in mainland UK, there are FERAL bees living in unmanaged sites, these are escapees from managed colonies.

As with JBM I rely on superceedure of queens in strong well managed colonies... why replace a healthy queen and spend £40+ on replacing her + all the faff to do it?
I also run a bee improvement program and rear my own queens for increase and to replace any that do start to fail.
My bees are Cornish Amm... although I do keep a localised stock of Aml in another area far away from my main queen rearing locations!

I know there are beefarmers who claim to requeen all there colonies with imports biannually.. and probably have very good forage of 1000s hectares of OSR, field bean, borage and lavender... produce honey by the ton... They also have the staff and the vehicles to do it too..... They are Factory Farmers few and far between in the UK and not the norm!

Chons da
 

Apple 

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And why the obsession with requeening with Buckfasts anyway? you can requeen with any variety, even with queens bred from that colony.
The point of sustainable beekeeping is to not have your colonies die out every few years
Double LIKE !!!(y)(y):):)
 
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Also, a colony under stress will succumb to disease which will be spread to other colonies through robbing. Slow dwindling is not good husbandry.
I have experience of a colony under stress. Last year a previously strong hive was mercilessly targeted by wasps, resulting in the queen stopping laying (l had originally thought she was dead), much dwv in evidence and an increasingly dwindling colony. By various means l won't go into here, l managed to defeat the wasps.

Had l gone with the received wisdom l should have destroyed the colony as uniting an albeit small diseased colony with a healthy one was not an option.

However, having treated and fed, eventually the queen started laying again, or they may have superseded, they came through winter successfully and became a strong colony again this year.

There was no transfer of disease to the other two colonies.

Dwindling, although admittedly with a queen, was not the death sentence l feared. (Mind you, an awful lot of tlc was required to bring them through.)
 

mbc 

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Please provide proof of the above assertion.

My local bees would prove you totally wrong. But maybe I just imagined the following and the stings :cool: :cool:

But of course if you know my local bees better than me, I bow to your superior knowledge.
There's no doubt in my mind that every location in the UK has suitable genes flying in the air all through the summer and it's just a case of letting that gene pool stabilise through a cessation of mass additions and a rational series of steps to select as best we can the genes most suitable for productive beekeeping and the unsustainable circle of continuing to need imports for enjoyable, productive beekeeping can be broken for the good of all, and a future of reliable open mating for good bees can be achieved.
It may be pie in the sky while individuals keep opting for the short term fix of continuing to buy in queens for convenience but that's down to the choices of beekeepers rather than any deficiency in the honey bee genes available to each and every area currently inhabited by honey bees.
 
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Now that's a pretty poor outcome whatever way you try to dress it (or deflect attention with some rather weak 'whataboutery' regarding requeening).
I have colonies here that have lasted over ten years without me once putting a new queen in.
What you are actually saying is that your colonies die after two to four years. If they were in good fettle they would requeen themselves after two to four years and carry on going, not just die out.
I agree JBM. I have colonies that quietly get on with it year after year. I am always a little surprised when I find an unmarked queen, usually in the Spring when thy have superseded the previous year with no fuss. These are the colonies I like!
 

madasafish 

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. They are Factory Farmers few and far between in the UK and not the norm!

Chons da

I have read blogs. I have seen bees, hives and equipment for extraction ... but no signs of factory Farming.... which is defined as:



"a system of rearing livestock using highly intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions."

So how do these Factory Farmers keep bees indoors?
:eek:
 

madasafish 

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Sigh.

Did you miss the "IMHO" in my original post, or are you just being argumentative? The "O" stands for "opinion", not assertion. The "H" stands for "humble". It's a belief based on long experience of observing a almost complete lack of difference (on average) between bees I have collected as swarms (mostly from tree colonies), and bees I have bought, or split from existing colonies.

Certainly I have noticed no difference in aggression.

You had some bees follow you. Fine. Is that "proof" that "wild" bees are more aggressive than managed colonies?

None of us has "proof". This is beekeeping, not maths. We have experience.

But an addition to my personal experience my logic is that, based on the extensive interchange of bees (and genes, via open mating) between managed and non-managed locations, it seems implausible that there is a significant difference, on average, between the characteristics of these two populations nationwide. It would be like discovering a significant genetic difference between people living in Manchester and Liverpool, despite the fact that people move between those two cities all the time and have done for hundreds of years. If I alleged that there was no significant difference between these two groups of people, would you demand I proved it scientifically? Or would the burden of proof be the other way round?

Thanks for the reply.

"I do not know" would have been enough.
 

beeno 

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That's a very absolute statement. The dwindlers act very chilled out and are next to other hives - I am pretty sure most of them defect to queen-right neighbours. One interesting observation (new to me but many will know this) was how long they live, months, because they are not working so hard. They like to sun themselves on the landing bard; there's no deformed wings. What disease? Why are you accusing me of having diseased bees? What disease? Any specific one in particular? This is not high intensity beekeeping. Why would they be diseased? Do you have disease in your apiary? I have been inspected 2 times, they never found any. How about you?

Back in 2014 one such colony which I assumed was dying, rebooted. The bee inspector told me they'd actually been superseding a failing queen. It did fine thereafter. Of course I could have requeened with, say, Buckfast and had angry F2 crosses for a year or two, as would my neighbouring beekeepers. What would you have done?
Bees and wasps know that a colony is queenless therefore they get robbed out. The bees will forage less, get lethargic, and will not defend. Bee disease facts: most bee diseases in the UK are endemic and come out when the bees are under stress, being -Q is right up there. After being broodless for about 3 weeks, laying workers will become prevalent and you get a bunch of undersized drones. Foodstores will thus be depleted one way or another. All comb will be ruined and you will be left to clean up the mess come spring when the colony has dwindled to death. I have had my colonies inspected once and was complimented on how strong and disease free my bees were at the time? I despatched two colonies last season on a/c of having CBPV, which is increasing exponentially in this country and others, as I did not want it to spread to my other colonies. As regards your 2014 episode, I would have known they were superseding.
 

Apple 

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I have read blogs. I have seen bees, hives and equipment for extraction ... but no signs of factory Farming.... which is defined as:



"a system of rearing livestock using highly intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions."

So how do these Factory Farmers keep bees indoors?
:eek:
Don't be silly....
 

beeno 

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I have experience of a colony under stress. Last year a previously strong hive was mercilessly targeted by wasps, resulting in the queen stopping laying (l had originally thought she was dead), much dwv in evidence and an increasingly dwindling colony. By various means l won't go into here, l managed to defeat the wasps.

Had l gone with the received wisdom l should have destroyed the colony as uniting an albeit small diseased colony with a healthy one was not an option.

However, having treated and fed, eventually the queen started laying again, or they may have superseded, they came through winter successfully and became a strong colony again this year.

There was no transfer of disease to the other two colonies.

Dwindling, although admittedly with a queen, was not the death sentence l feared. (Mind you, an awful lot of tlc was required to bring them through.)
Well done!
 
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I must be the odd one out as one of the "divining beeks with rods in their hands"
I have over time located a number of feral colony sites, using the method of divining, some of those sites having been in occupancy by black bees for at least 200 years... according to referance of a single farming family written records in Cornwall!

Just because one dose not have the intellect to understand, or can not pare the facts down to a reductionist ideal.... pray do not poo poo those who have the intellect to think hollistically.

Chons da
Who brought intellect into it?
Anyway...
why do you need the divining rods if the sites have been locally recorded for 200 years.
 
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Ian seems to be fighting a one man battle here. The majority of the rest of us believe we have seen many wild nests doing nicely.

Let's inject some data into these opinions.

Our group collects 20-30 swarms each year, mainly from untreated colones (ours and wild nests). About the only place we won't take swarms from is Kidlington, which has really vicious bees. In an entirely unrelated bit of news, our local BKA circulated a note from a beekeeper there asking if anyone would like to buy some unmanageable colonies there which "followed" a lot. Descended from Carniolan and Buckfast queens.

It's quite obvious there is a widespread wild population here which deals with varroa somehow. Breeders concentrate on one measurable super-trait which rapidly gets diluted; wild bees shift the sliders on a bunch of already present behaviours to express each slightly more and this seems stable.

Our colonies typically last 2 - 4 years. Over 200 colonies, I've only heard of a couple that died from varroa, but if you collect random swarms you're going to get some headed by commercial bees from time to time. The main failure mode is queen failure, occasionally winter starvation. Overall winter losses are the same (arguably better but sample size is only about 100 colonies / year) than the BBKAs published figures. How long do commercial colonies last? No one knows, because the queens are replaced every 1-2 years. As I see it, then, they last 1-2 years.
 
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I call the phenomenon of what beekeepers do affecting wild coloneys THE PEBBLE IN THE POND AFFECT. So just a quick story. So a few wild colonies around a beekeeper started to get aggressive. Then after talking to the beekeeper in the center of the affect I found he had introduced imported queens. The he started to find his colonies where getting aggressive as the now aggressive wild colonies drones ecoed back. But after a few years they all calmed down again. I and no new important queens.
 
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Apple 

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Who brought intellect into it?
Anyway...
why do you need the divining rods if the sites have been locally recorded for 200 years.
The case in point is that we were not aware of the age of feral sites in an ancient Cornish farm building wall until some time after discovering them by dowsing, we were pointed in the direction to look for the bees by the granddaughter of the farm's owner, who told us that there were bees living in the wall... we eventually dowsed three sites, one occupied and subsequently the other two occupied within the season.
Some time later I spoke to the grandfather, who said that there were writ down records of the bees in the house wall from the farm records going back 200 years plus going back to 1760!

We also dowsed out another site located in a wall of the old farm manor house, but this had been blocked up during the 1960s as bees had got into the roof.

Mytten da
 

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