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Which bees do I have?

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jimbeekeeper 

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With all this talk of native an imports, is it a simple visual identification for the different species of honey bee?

or is it a more in-depth DNA type investigation.

I started out with one hive 3 years ago I bought from our local association for the grand price of ?50 including hive!

I could ask what that queen might have been, but given she is no longer with us (the original queen that is) and several AS's down the line a couple of swarms lost and a couple gained.

What do I have now????
 

Crg 

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With all this talk of native an imports, is it a simple visual identification for the different species of honey bee?

or is it a more in-depth DNA type investigation.
Two different issues, it's not native verses imports :)

Importing bees is an issue because they can bring in disease.
Local UK bred bees aren't necessarily native (and probably aren't) - they could be bred from any stock.

You can get a rough idea visually of how much native genes might be in your stock by morphometry. Dave Cushman has a page on it which might be of interest.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/morphometry.html
 

admin 

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If you wanted to really find out you can use a morphometry programe that is available on the internet to download.

I dont have the link to hand but could dig it out for anyone who wants to try it.
 

Bcrazy 

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Hi Jim

There is another way to try and distinguish what race of bee you have.

The tomenta on some bees are wide and on others they are narrow.
I think the so called Dark Bees have over-hairs on the abdomen that are 0.5mm long as compared to all other races which is 0.3mm.With drones there is quite a difference in colouration of the hair. Caucasians are dark brown to black and the Carniolan are grey to grayish brown and finally hairs on the Italians is yellow.

If you are considering to try morphology of the venation pattern of the forewing, then we must also remember that behavioural and biological characteristics must be considered. I think there is a list of venation patterns, angles, lengths and width of wing for all races. Can't remember where I have seen this.

Good luck Jim.:confused:

Regards;
 

gavin 

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Dave Cushman's site cited above summarises various traits in various races.

A free program for wing morphometry is this one. You need good quality scans of wings for it to work well.

http://www.drawwing.org/

G.
 

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Thanks Gavin,thats the one.
 

Polyanwood 

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Doh! I am not getting this! As far as know there is not positive correlation between wing shape (mophometry) and characteristics we want like:

nosema and chalkbrood resistance
varroa sensitive hygiene
good productivity
fast Spring build up
low amount of brooding in Winter
good temperarment

or whatever we might put on our wish list.

So apart from patriotism and asthetics why would you want to seek a bee that closely physically resembles the British bee (through looking at bee wings and other bits) if it is unlikely to have the other characteristics that make it ideally suited to the British climate???
 

Crg 

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Doh! I am not getting this! As far as know there is not positive correlation between wing shape (mophometry) and characteristics we want like:

nosema and chalkbrood resistance
varroa sensitive hygiene
good productivity
fast Spring build up
low amount of brooding in Winter
good temperarment

or whatever we might put on our wish list.

So apart from patriotism and asthetics why would you want to seek a bee that closely physically resembles the British bee (through looking at bee wings and other bits) if it is unlikely to have the other characteristics that make it ideally suited to the British climate???
To me there seems to be two separate issues with the "native bee" which people, especially "native bee" beekeepers, like to mix up.

If the native bee does exists still, then there definitely should be some conservation efforts to keep it around. Just like there are efforts to help the red squirrel, bumblebees, and many other native animals and plants.

However, if you start keeping the native bee and breeding for certain traits that a beekeeper wants (as a lot of "native bee" breeders seem to do), then it's a breed developed from the native bee, not 100% the wild native bee that we should be concentrating on saving.

The true native bee I would expect to have a lot of traits that ensure its survival that beekeepers don't often want - for example aggression or swarming.

Some people also like to claim that the native bee is better suited to the UK because it's native, which while it's a nice idea, it's pretty obvious that isn't true.
How many invasive non-native animal and plants species are in the UK now?

The other thing is mophometry is a great tool for quickly trying to get a rough idea of the genetic background of the bee, but it's far from perfect. Once you start selecting bees based on that, it seems to me that's become more backbreeding than preserving the native bee?
 

Busy Bee 

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A quick response!

"To me there seems to be two separate issues with the "native bee" which people, especially "native bee" beekeepers, like to mix up."

If the native bee does exists still, then there definitely should be some conservation efforts to keep it around. Just like there are efforts to help the red squirrel, bumblebees, and many other native animals and plants
"


A random survey of native Irish bee carried out some years ago using DNA has proved that there exists in Ireland dirrerent strains of Dark European Bee, which may not be closely related to each other. We hope to be able to identify these strains and also to assess the degree of hybridisation with other foreign races that is present in our native bee populations. We may also use DNA techniques to further confirm the results at a later stage." Galtee Bee Breeding Group, Cahir Co Tipperary.


Just thought you'ed like to know pure bees do exist.

Busy Bee
 

admin 

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Busy bee I do not believe that the native bee exists any longer,we may have a few bees with a bit of DNA that was in the original british bee but nothing like the bee from a hundred years ago.

Its very easy to publish a statement that contains something you really want to believe.

Maybe the british bee is around us still the same way that god still is?
 

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