Thursday, June 10, 2010

Relocating Feral Bees

I really enjoyed a video on the BBC news website of a beekeeper relocating a large colony of feral bees which had established in somebodies home in California. I wish I could embed the video here but there seems to be no way to do it, so if you want to see it yourself, follow this link.

I was interested to see the use of the bee vacuum, and the way the beekeeper cut sections of comb with honey and brood from the wild hive and inserted them (with elastic bands) into standard frames. Of course you can't just move the bees - you have to move all their stores and brood too. I didn't see anything about him ensuring he had the queen, that would have been interesting. But since the bees seem to be partially Africanised, and therefore rather aggressive, he will surely have wanted to re-queen them anyway. I would also have liked to see him examine some brood for mite infestation.

By definition, feral bees are resistant to pests such as varroa. If they weren't, they'd be dead. So hybridising feral colonies with managed strains could help develop resistant varieties of bees which is so desperately important in these days of colony collapse disorder (which is just a posh name for "Oh shit! All the bees are dying and we don't know why!")

2 comments:

femsc said...

Thanks for posting that - it was very interesting.

Fran

Layla said...

Interesting!

I've heard sometimes bad things can happen if you mix different bees together, there's quite an effort to get good hybridisation, so-??
I wonder if 'mixed' bees would still be varroa resistant?
I'd think he'd want to keep African queen bee to keep making African resistant bees? Do African and ordinary bees even mate? (I'd suppose non-African males might be better?) Don't know much about this though, lol.

&Elastic bands? Wouldn't wires be enough? just curious..

Do you have bees too? :)

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