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Author Topic: "Killer" Bees  (Read 1293 times)

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Offline Magicman

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"Killer" Bees
« on: October 14, 2018, 10:40:42 PM »
Yesterday a good friend of mine got involved with a swarm of Killer Honey Bees.  He was carried to the hospital where they removed over 100 stingers from his exposed skin.  Some even in his eyes.  He is in his mid 80's and he is fortunate that they did not kill him.

It distresses me to hear that they have migrated into our area.
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Offline Southside

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 10:44:35 PM »
Lynn - 

Were these the African ones or did he happen into an onery hive?  We have about a dozen hives on our farm that another guy manages and if I have time I will tag along from time to time to observe and learn, I have seen hives that are docile as can be and others that are some awful hot, both being good old fashioned honey bees.  I was told the temperament of the queen can have a lot to do with the attitude of the hive.   
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Offline Magicman

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2018, 10:49:35 PM »
He was out riding on his property in his UTV.  The speculation was that they were the African bees because they were so vicious.  Whichever they were they tried to kill him.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2018, 07:13:50 AM »
Southside,

   As I remember replacing the queen was the normal procedure for calming a particularly aggressive hive. Placing a hive in deep shade and other factors can result in making a hive more angry than they would otherwise be.

   Moot point here since this did not appear to be a domestic hive anyway.
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Offline doctorb

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2018, 09:34:18 PM »
I took a course in beekeeping a few years back, and the issue of African bees was widely discussed.  I can not verify my remembrances from the course, so give me some wiggle room here....

There are no native honey bees in North America.  All of our bees came originally from Europe.  I recall that Africanized bees are genetically very similar to our regular honey bees.  Their behavior may be more attached to their seasonal environment.  "Africanized" bees do not overwinter.  That is, they do not go through the usual cycle of storing food (honey) for consumption over the months where honey making is not productive.  In Africa, they have no winter and the hives are active year round.  With global warming, these traits have moved from Central America through Mexico and now into our southern states.

I was never taught that a hives '"personality" can be altered by moving the hive.  Interesting thought, but I never heard that.

Remember, I could be all wet here.....
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Offline LaneC

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 06:12:15 PM »
   I raise Italian honeybees. That is what most people have around here. I have raised them in the shade and in full sun. I have not noticed a difference in the temperament of a hive in the shade or 1 in full sun. My bees are very easy on me as far as being aggressive. I have a friend down the road a few miles, and his bees will eat you up. They are very aggressive. Sorry to hear about your friend, I hope he gets better. I just had some yellow jackets get me the other day. They are also very dangerous. Some folks are trying the Russian bees for their resistance to the Varoa Mites. These Mites are also from Africa, and wipe out thousands of hives a year, along with the Small Hive Beetle, which is also from Africa.
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 07:17:58 PM »
My dad use to keep bees a long time ago, I remember him telling me about walking around the barn in sight of the bee hive wearing a black jacket and the bees started attacking the jacket, he soon retreated. After he got thinking about it he thought that the bees may have thought he was a bear and were defending the hive. 

Offline LaneC

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 09:43:47 PM »
  Yep, they supposedly associate dark colors as a threat. I always assumed this is why the bee suits are white. They will eat you up on occasions however. I have found that if it is windy, overcast or about to rain, they get really ticked off.
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Offline timbatrader

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2018, 09:05:25 PM »
Southside,

   As I remember replacing the queen was the normal procedure for calming a particularly aggressive hive. Placing a hive in deep shade and other factors can result in making a hive more angry than they would otherwise be.

   Moot point here since this did not appear to be a domestic hive anyway.
Some Queen bee breeders select or docile bees if you change the Queen you change the DNA of all bees in the hive within about 6 weeks. Note generally the more aggressive bees are more productive so not all bee keepers want docile bees. The worst aggressive bees seem to be when you get a hybrid between Italian Bee and African which can happen if the virgin Queen mates with an African and then you get Africanised  Bees they are mean 

Offline Branch Managr

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2019, 01:10:36 AM »
Hybrid vigor normally refers to the first mating, thereafter the traits of one grandparent becomes dominant. (but too many unwanted DNA traits linger ?)
iow.If you want an African 'killer' bee for vigor & production:
a) it is better NOT to interbreed it at all ,
b) keep them busy by robbing them of their honey every 2 weeks ,
c) supply their needs by constantly moving them to greener pastures ,
d) introduce a new queen (without killing the previous queen) sothat the strongest most virile one supersedes the weaker one.

That way the bees thrive, you make your money/honey & crop production increases due to more flowers been pollinated.

Offline Branch Managr

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2019, 02:06:12 AM »
. . . My Dad told me about walking around the barn in sight of the bee hive wearing a BLACK jacket and the bees started attacking the jacket, he soon retreated. . . He thought that the bees thought he was a BEAR and were defending the hive.
60 seconds to disaster:
Not only if you look like a BEAR, but as you pointed out the DIRECTION you move in relation to the hive.
Also if you SMELL like a bear (beekeeping is a sweaty strenuous job) & having 3x layers of overalls you are bound to CRUSH several bees in the process. {somehow they don't like the smell Red Lifebuoy soap & certain staysofts}
The TIME of day is also important (most human involvement should take place during the cooler parts, preferably at night) & if you make a lot of NOISE, you'd also attract the same type of adverse reaction from the bees.
it goes without saying. The MODE of the bees is key. Are they in Happy to be working mode,  Evacuation mode (induced by liberal bursts of smoke), or ? beware if they go into Defence mode.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: "Killer" Bees
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2019, 04:15:42 PM »

The TIME of day is also important (most human involvement should take place during the cooler parts, preferably at night) &
  I learned the opposite. The only time I would ever work a beehive at night would be if I were moving it. We'd smoke the bees on the porch lightly so they would go inside, we'd slip a pre-cut screen in the entrance to keep them from escaping then pick up and move the hive

  For normal tasks we tried to work the bees when the sun was out, not too much wind and a warm day so the maximum number of bees would be out gathering pollen and nectar. We tried to time it so the field bees would mostly be out and not have returned yet so we had the smallest number of bees present in the hive to deal with or disturb. Yes, dark colors are a no-no which is why most bee-suits are white (plus they are cooler)

   Also we always approached the hive from the rear as the bees habitually come and go from the front. I loved to walk up and watch the field bees crash land on the porch overloaded with pollen and nectar, catch their breath, right themselves and scurry inside. I also watched to see how many drones came out as that was an indicator if it might be time to change some of the brood frames - the bees often tend to repair damaged cells into larger drone cells.

  I probably have enough honey downstairs to last us a lifetime so I likely will not get any more bees. Also I now normally do my sawmill work in front of where I used to keep my bees.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"


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