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Very black bees

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MJBee 

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I have a colony that has been struggling all summer. It overwintered as a 5 frame nuc and was moved into a full Commercial last May. Since then despite trying all the manipulations I can think of I cannot get them to expand onto more than 7 frames and the queen will only lay up 3 frames. Because they would not expand they have not had a super on and have yielded nothing.

The queen and most of the bees are the blackest bees I have ever seen their abdomens look as if the have been polished with black shoe polish with no banding at all.

I plan to requeen but was wondering if anyone would like a sample. I have no idea how this strain came about as all my queens a Buckfast X.
 

the naked beekeeper 

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I will happily take a sample.
I am currently sending some bees off for free DNA analysis to Leeds University...only from Cornwall though.
 

Poly Hive 

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Not being funny but why Cornwall of all places?


Ross-Shire or Caithness seem more "cost efficient"

PH
 

oliver90owner 

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MJBee,

From here they appear to be a very likely candidate for extinction, requeening or not!

Possibly need a much smaller brood box than a commercial, and never quite got to grips with the extra spare space, but equally they may be suffering some malady, even if it is not clearly apparent?

Have they stored enough for over-wintering themselves? If not they could well be the end of that particular evolutionary line if left to their own ways of working!

Regards, RAB
 

the naked beekeeper 

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It's who you know Mr. Ph!!

The guy I work with is a local bee inspector (see pm) and also chair of a breeding group I am involved in to get 100+ native or near native queens p/a. We also run morphometry workshops and this lady contacted Jo to see if he would like to get tested any of his bees for AMM for a phd she's doing. Since it is concurrent with our aims we jumped at the chance. I guess she chose here because she knows we have several established mating apiaries where we have tried to flood the area with drones of AMM for the past 2 years, so was a good bet to start.....
 

MJBee 

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Thanks Gavin - I will examine more closely but I have not noticed any paralysed bees. The Queen is jet black too.

The Naked Beekeeper - could you PM your address? so I can send a sample. In view of Gavin's post If it is a virus I'm not sure I should send them. wont be offended if you don't want them.

Cheers Mike
 

Finman 

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Elgon bees have that kind of queens.

has someone seen russian bees what they look like?
 

aseeryl 

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I have a carnolian queen and a carni cross - both are big black mommas. The buckfast is a pleasing lighter brown shade.
Still the workers vary in colouring being all shades. Genetic mix I suppose.
 

MJBee 

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Sorry for the delay, the weather has taken a turn for the worse, however today has been better.

I have been slow feeding them during the second tray of Apiguard, they have been gulping it down and most is stored and being sealed. I do not think they will have any problem overwintering. The queen is active and there are big slabs of sealed worker brood. In short they appear fit and well to me.

There do not seem to be as many black bees this time, I think they may be the old workers that have worn all their hair off and are now popping their clogs. Her majesty popped up while I was taking the pictures and with a second view she is not as black as I first thought.

Some pics for you to look at, sorry about the focus on one - got too close even for the macro setting:biggrinjester:
 

Finman 

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Your carniolans seem very normal and the queen too.

Robber bees may loose their hairs.

If the glossy bee is shivering it is a virus disease.
 
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